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How to make a success of Veganuary

Will this be the biggest Veganuary ever? That is certainly what the organisers of the  31-day vegan challenge are hoping for. As many more people have experimented with plant-based diets during the pandemic, to improve their health, Veganuary is predicting that 500,000 people will take the pledge this year.

A vegan diet will not only boost your health but also help to lighten your carbon footprint. New analysis from Uswitch found that if meat-eating Brits did Veganuary this year they could collectively save nearly 5 billion kgs of CO2. That’s the equivalent of 846,530 homes’ yearly electricity supply – or 1,079 wind turbines’ yearly energy production. In comparison, meat-eating causes just shy of twice the CO2 emissions of a vegan diet (2,049 kgs vs. 1,052 kgs per year).

Uswitch has conducted a UK survey and created a unique Veganuary off-setting calculator so people can now find out just how long they would need to go vegan to offset their weekly carbon footprint.

The ongoing pandemic is clearly demonstrating the relationship between planet, animal welfare and human health. By eating less meat, fish, dairy and eggs, you can not only improve your health and live more sustainably but also have a more compassionate lifestyle towards farmed animals.

As we happily wave goodbye to 2020, why not start 2021 on a positive note? With many of us stuck at home in Tiers 3  or 4  for the month of January, here are a few simple tips on how to embrace the Veganuary Challenge.

SIGN UP

It feels like stating the obvious but first things first! Commit to trying vegan by signing up to Veganuary here. It’s free, and you will receive daily emails containing delicious recipes, meal plans and helpful tips from the Veganuary team. You can unsubscribe at any time if you decide that it is not for you.

The Veganuary website also offers some helpful nutrition tips as well as information on how to get started on your 31-day plant-based journey.

STOCK UP

Like many things in life, a little planning can make a big difference.  Check out my Veganuary Pantry list. It includes a list of essentials such as beans, pulses, grains, seeds, nuts, dairy-free milk and other essential plant-based substitutes that you may want to stock up on.

It only takes a walk down the aisles of a shop to realise how easy it is to find vegan products these days. From pizzas and burgers to cheeses, cakes etc… there is so much to choose from. The Vegan Society has published this helpful list of vegan products available in UK supermarkets. Many carry the Vegan Society Trademark seal of approval so you can shop in complete confidence that they do not contain any animal product or by-product.

With the pandemic, many of us have embraced online shopping. Specialised online retailers include My Vegan Supermarket, Vegan Store or Planet Organic. I also like Buy Wholefoods Online as they have a great and extensive range of nuts, seeds, lentils, pulses, flours etc… and offer free delivery for orders of £20 or more.

If you live in London, check out Good Hemp’s Sustainable Food Delivery Guide which is a great resource for finding small businesses, local initiatives, homegrown independents and sustainable food brands that offer home delivery in London.

We are lucky enough to get our weekly supply of fruit and vegetables from Sutton Community Farm, our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) initiative. There are many similar schemes around the country which can enable you to support your local economy while eating local and seasonal food.

COOK & EAT UP

Before I became flexitarian, vegan cooking was a complete mystery to me. I also assumed that it was plain and unexciting. How wrong I was! I have discovered a world of deliciousness while cutting down dairy and animal proteins has greatly improved my digestion, energy levels and reduced my inflammation issues.

While tasty ready-to-eat vegan food is now available all around, make sure you have some fun and do some cooking yourself! Invest in a few vegan cookbooks. I have listed some of my favourites in my Amazon Store here.

You can also browse my vegan recipe collection for some inspiration.

DON’T GIVE UP

The idea behind Veganuary is to encourage people to embrace a plant-based diet and enjoy the experience while becoming aware of the impact of the food we eat on our health, the environment and animal welfare.

If this is your first Veganuary, it is likely that you will slip up at some point. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Get back on track as quickly as you can and carry on.

Initially, I had little patience for soya, oat or almond milk in my morning coffee but that all changed when barista dairy-free milk became available at the supermarkets. Also, while I am now generally happy skipping cheese, I always crave it at this time of the year.

Over the years, Veganuary has been an enjoyable (and sometimes challenging) experience that has enabled me to redefine my relationship with food and become more compassionate towards farmed animals. My view is that short-term slip-ups are less important than long-term sustainable choices. And, who knows, you might enjoy plant-based food so much, you could decide to go vegan for good!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2021.

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