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Veganuary: How to Go Vegan This January

Veganuary
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Ragabz

Veganuary: A 31-day challenge that encourages non-vegans to go vegan for the month of January. Learn more about it and how to make it work for you.

If you’ve been considering the idea of going vegan, or you just want to give it a try, January is the month to do it. Veganuary is an annual event run by a UK non-profit organization that challenges non-vegans to go vegan for the entire month of January. Is that something that resonates with you? If so, read on to find out how to set yourself up for success during your Veganuary challenge, how to ease the transition, and more. 

What is Veganuary and Why Should You Try It?

You can get inspiration from vegan food bloggers and recreate the recipes at home.
You can get inspiration from vegan food bloggers and recreate the recipes at home.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Engin_Akyurt)

Veganuary is a 31-day challenge where non-vegans are encouraged to follow a vegan diet for the entire month of January. Both the term Veganuary and the event itself come from a UK non-profit organization of the same name. Launched in 2014, the goal of Veganuary is to reach as many people as possible and encourage them to only consume plant foods throughout the first month of the year and hope that many of them will stay vegan after that. According to Veganuary’s own website, more than half a million people from around the world joined the event in January 2021. Only during that month, they saved over 2 million animals from suffering and therefore also reduced the emissions of planet-warming gases immensely.

There are many reasons why following a vegan diet is a good idea, both for you and for the environment. But why should you try it? Here are a few reasons that may encourage you to be part of this upcoming Veganuary:

  • Your health: diets containing red and processed meat and dairy are associated with cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. On top of that, eating a plant-based diet seems to be the key to lowering the chances of getting many of these diseases.
  • The environment: By following a vegan diet, you will reduce the emissions of planet-warming gases and the amount of water needed for animal food production. For example, cattle have a huge environmental impact due to their release of methane, which is eight times the emissions of pork, chicken, or egg production.
  • The animals: Animals are treated miserably and raised in poor living conditions with the end goal of ending up in our plate. By eating vegan, you will be reducing animal cruelty and the number of animals killed in slaughter houses every day.

Read on: 8 Benefits of Being Vegan and Potential Drawbacks

How to Make Veganuary Work for You

Being vegan doesn't mean giving up on your favorite foods.
Being vegan doesn't mean giving up on your favorite foods.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / drawsandcooks)

The Veganuary challenge is going to look different for everyone, depending on how often you currently eat meat, if you are doing it alone or with your family, etc. If you are up to the challenge, here are a few recommendations from us to help you set yourself up for success during your Veganuary journey:

  1. Sign Up for the Veganuary Challenge. By doing so, you will receive an e-book with vegan recipes, easy meal plans and nutrition guides, and daily support emails throughout the month of January. This is especially helpful if you are not very familiar with veganism; you will benefit from recipe ideas and will get some extra help with meal planning. On top of that, you will get the resources you need to make sure you are following a balanced vegan diet and therefore getting all nutrients, proteins, and vitamins you need.
  2. Stay Connected and Engaged: A way to stay encouraged during your vegan challenge is to connect with other people who are part of it. When signing up for the Veganuary event, you will have the option to connect with others who have decided to join the challenge. In addition, you can check Veganuary’s social media platforms to check on how your fellow participants are doing. Keep an eye on the official hashtag for this upcoming Veganuary campaign, #Veganuary2022, for special features!
  3. Remember Why You Started: Did you start because of your health, the animals, or the environmental impact? Then remind yourself why you are giving veganism a try when you need that extra motivation. One month can pass by very quickly if you are busy following and creating new recipes that are new to you. If you make it until the end of the month, you will be able to notice how you feel about the experience overall, yourself, and your health, and then decide if you want to stick to veganism or not. Keep in mind that it’s ok if you end up deciding that you don’t want to be fully vegan; perhaps being vegetarian or simply reducing the amount of meat you were eating before is a plan that works best for you.

 

Tips and Tricks for Easing the Transition

Meal planning will help you save money, have a balanced diet, and stress less about your Veganuary journey.
Meal planning will help you save money, have a balanced diet, and stress less about your Veganuary journey.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Veganliftz)

Switching to a vegan diet usually doesn’t happen overnight. Even though some people decide to go vegan from one day to another, for most people, it is a slower process. People who join Veganuary are in different stages of their meat-free journey. Perhaps you are not very familiar with the vegan diet, or you simply want more plant-based meal ideas to make your Veganuary experience easier. For this reason, we want to give you a few tips and tricks that will help you ease your transition:

  1. Find a Buddy for your Veganuary Experience: Whether it’s your partner, a relative, or even a friend or coworker, having a buddy will make getting through Veganuary easier. Besides the support you will get from the Veganuary event itself and the online community behind it, it will be fun to join this challenge with someone close to you. You can give each other moral support if it’s needed, and come up with meal ideas together.
  2. Get Some Inspiration in Advance: There are a lot of vegan food bloggers out there who share vegan recipes on their social media platforms on daily basis (check on Instagram and YouTube). Take some time to find some profiles that inspire you and recreate their meals, or check below for a list of Utopia’s favorite vegan dishes!
  1. Vegan Meat Alternatives: If you are currently a meat-eater, it’s very possible that you will crave meat at some point during your challenge. The good thing? There are lots of vegan meat alternatives that can help you satisfy those cravings without breaking your vegan streak, such as burgers, ground beef, nuggets, sausages, etc.  On top of that, as the Veganuary movement keeps growing every year, retailers have been “joining” the event by releasing new vegan alternatives during the month of January. Next time you go grocery shopping, try locating where your local shop has all these vegan options – you might be surprised!
  2. Plan Ahead: Do your best to plan one week’s worth of meals before January 1st. Take some time during the holidays to get some vegan meal ideas and plan your first week of January. By doing so, you can:
    • save money on groceries and reduce food waste, since you will only buy what you are going to eat.
    • make sure that you get a balanced vegan diet— if you simply improvise every vegan meal, you may not be getting the nutrients your body needs.

Veganuary is Over: Now What?

By being vegan, vegetarian, or even just reducing your meat consumption, you will be having a positive impact in the environment.
By being vegan, vegetarian, or even just reducing your meat consumption, you will be having a positive impact in the environment.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / sweetlouise)

Finishing the Veganuary challenge is a great achievement that you can be proud of. When you are done, you get the chance to reflect on how the month went for you overall. How do your body and mind feel? Have your mental and physical wellbeing improved? How has your experience with cooking and eating vegan been? How do you feel about knowing you have made a positive impact on the environment? Take some time to look back and reflect on your overall experience. A way to do this is by checking in with the Veganuary online community you’ve been in contact with, or talking to your Veganuary buddy if you have one.

Whether you decide to stay vegan, go vegetarian, or simply reduce your meat consumption, participating in Veganuary is a great way to learn about yourself and figure out exactly where your limits are.

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