Veganuary | The BIGGEST Year Yet | Are You Taking Part?

Katie Paterson

January 6, 2021

Veganuary has soared in popularity in recent years, the aim is simple – become a vegan for the 31 days of January.

What is Veganuary?

Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that encourages people to go vegan for January and beyond. In 2020, more than 400,000 people signed up to be vegan for the month, and more than 600 brands, restaurants and supermarkets promoted the campaign. This year, Veganuary have had over 500,000 people sign up in less than a week!

Since 2014, more than 1 million people have participated in Veganuary.

Veganuary have increased the visibility of veganism, engaging with some of the world’s biggest companies to offer more plant-based options.

Veganuary’s goals

Protect the environment

Prevent animal suffering

Improving the health of millions of people

Popularity of veganism in recent years

According to the BBC, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2006 and 2018. There is no doubt that the vegan diet is becoming an important aspect of today’s food culture.

Vegans now make up 1.14% of the population in the UK, this is a record-breaking percentage, and there is no evidence of this number slowing down in the future.

Waterstones have over 10,000 book titles with the word 'vegan' in them available for sale (as of November 2020) compared to 944 in August 2018. Veganism is accelerating and increasing in popularity, the increase in book sales reflects the interest in veganism as a whole.

What health benefits does a vegan diet offer

The vegan lifestyle has many health benefits, for example a lower cholesterol, decreased risk of having a heart attack, and decreased chance of developing some cancers.

The BBC state that “We’ve found that the vegan diet could be one of the healthiest diets, outperforming pescatarian and vegetarian, because the vegan diet is higher in fruit, vegetables and legumes and the health benefits from this compensate anything else.”

Veganism and climate change

Becoming vegan positively impacts the environment in so many ways. Eating meat causes the overproduction of soya beans which means unnecessary deforestation of the world’s last biodiverse ecosystems. The production of meat is one of the biggest carbon polluters in the world.

Soya bean is one of the many building blocks that makes up the modern-day supply chain for meat products. The issue with soya farming is that we are quickly running out of space to grow enough to meet the high levels of demand for animal feed in the UK.

Soya in animal production is used as a life stock feed for chickens, pigs and other animals. However, chicken feed requires the most soya.

Soya is the cheapest source of protein available to farmers since the ban on meat and bonemeal after BSE (a disease in cattle caused by eating processed protein). Feeding chickens soya allows them to grow faster and be priced cheaper.

This is an immediate consequence of the increase in demand for chicken and other meats, in recent decades, many popular brands and retailers have, and continue to, source their chicken feed from distributors who import their soya from deforested land.

The soya we import in the UK to feed our livestock is directly linked to the deforestation in countries like Argentina, Brazil and the US. They provide most of the soya used by UK farmers.

We are quickly running out of land to grow soya on, in Brazil its estimated that half of the Cerrado has been burnt or cut down to make room for soya crops. The Cerrado covers 2 million sq km of land and is home to jaguars, capuchin monkeys and armadillos. The wildlife and natural eco system in the Cerrado has been torched by western powers, 100,00 tons of soybeans arrive in the UK each year, all imported from the Cerrado.

The transportation, food waste, and pollution from factory farms are some other examples of how eating meat negatively impacts our fragile environment.

B12 & protein concerns

B12 is a vitamin that is made by the bacteria that lives inside animal products. A common fear of veganism is the lack of vitamin B12 present in a plant-based lifestyle. However, B12 is also found in nutritional yeast, breakfast cereals and plant-based milks that are fortified with it.

B12 supplements are also available to ensure that you are consuming the correct amount of this vitamin.

Protein is also a major cause for concern among the public as there are worries the vegan diet does not offer enough protein. However, it is very easy to reach your recommended daily protein intake as a vegan. There are many high protein vegan options, for example, tofu is made from soya, and is extremely high in protein. And, of course there are vegan protein shakes and bars available to top up protein intake.

Will you be taking on the challenge

When you sign up to Veganuary you are emailed a vegan starter pack including:

- A celebrity Cookbook (featuring 25 recipes created or inspired by your favourite celebs)

- A budget Meal Plan (21 recipes that are very affordable

- A Vegan Starter Kit (all the vegan information you could ever need)

Going vegan for a month is a great way to start the new year and reach any health goes you have. It allows you to redefine your cooking skills and try lots of new and tasty meals.

Our app Dinepilot allows you to funnel a restaurants menu to only see the options that are vegan, this cuts out the noise and allows you to personalise the menu. Link to download is here.

Are there health benefits to going vegan? - BBC Future

Statistics| The Vegan Society