Is it even a new year if Veganuary isn’t trending on Twitter? Times are changing for the better when just a few days into 2023 and not only is Veganuary trending, but so is go vegan, plant-based, and climate justice. Other social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are showcasing fun and popular food options for Veganuary and the latest yummy vegan finds in restaurants and grocery stores. Veganuary launched in 2014 and each year this UK charity gains more traction. During Veganuary 2022 over 620,000 people took the pledge for plant-based food and over 1,540 new vegan products and menu items were introduced in Veganuary’s key campaign countries.
But Veganuary is more than a pledge; it’s a new way of life.
“Throughout the year, Veganuary encourages and supports people and businesses alike to move to a plant-based diet as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering, and improving the health of millions of people.” – Veganuary
Following a plant-based diet means during the Veganuary challenge (and hopefully beyond!), participants abstain from consuming all animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and products containing animal ingredients. But keep in mind it’s progress, not perfection, and if mistakes happen, just keep going, it’s not a reason to give up!
People choosing to live a vegan lifestyle beyond a plant-based diet do their best not to wear fur or leather, use products tested on animals, or contribute to their suffering, abuse, or exploitation. This includes not going to the circus where elephants are forced to perform or attending marine parks where dolphins are kept in tanks.
This Veganuary article focuses on the plant-based part of veganism, but for more information on living a vegan lifestyle and becoming an animal activist, check out the many articles published on the Save Movement website.
If you are a new vegan starting a plant-based diet this month, keep reading for tips, vegan essentials, healthy plant-based food ideas, and find out how Veganuary is raising awareness and growing a global movement that saves animals, the environment and improves the health of participants around the world.
Raising Vegan Awareness
Veganuary started at a kitchen table in the UK by a passionate wife and husband team, Jane Land and Matthew Glover. The two started Veganuary in 2014 and now have an entire international team dedicated to raising awareness about going plant-based. They also have an impressive list of partners, including Farm Sanctuary, Animals Australia, The Vegan Society, and The Humane League to help raise awareness about the benefits of eating plants and not animals. Veganuary’s inspiring list of famous ambassadors include Joaquin Phoenix, Paul McCartney, Alicia Silverstone, Mayim Bialik, and Jay and Katja Wilde, former cattle farmers. They were the inspiring subjects of the film 73 Cows and the Wilde family became the first farmers in the UK to transition from cow farming to organic plant-based farming. Breeding animals for slaughter was replaced with growing vegetables and Wilde and his wife switched to a vegan lifestyle. The bonus? The remaining cows found loving forever homes at Hillside Animal Sanctuary in the UK. 73 Cows won the 2019 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film and you can watch it online here. Consider raising awareness about animal agriculture and how wonderful plant-based food is by inviting friends over for dinner and streaming the film.
Vegan Food Essentials
But what do you make for your hungry dinner guests? When you first sign up for Veganuary you immediately receive an email with a free downloadable vegan cookbook packed with ideas. This is followed by plenty of helpful plant-based food information to get you started on your journey. The Daily Dozen checklist by nutrition expert Dr. Michael Greger is easy to use - simply check off the foods you have eaten to ensure you stay on track. The list mentions plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, & tofu; berries; veggies; nuts & seeds; and vitamin B12. B12 is important for vegans and the Veganuary website has a page with helpful information. It’s important to eat foods that are fortified with B12 such as plant milks, some breakfast cereals or bread and nutritional yeast. It’s also advised to take a daily B12 supplement, especially if you are not going to get enough B12 from foods. To learn more about B12 watch this informative video by Dr. Neal Barnard from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Before you head out to the grocery store learn about the simple switches you can make here. You will be surprised how many staple foods you already buy are vegan.
Nutrition Tips For New Vegans
The Veganuary website is packed with nutrition tips and helpful resources for new vegans or those who just want more information about calcium, iron, omegas, and of course, protein. After all, it’s the first question your family and friends are sure to ask you when you tell them you are going vegan. After reading through Veganuary’s page dedicated entirely to vegan protein sources you will be a pro in no time. They list some of the best plant-based protein foods such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, legumes, grains, and nuts. If you want to delve deeper into The Great Protein Fiasco, as Dr. Michael Greger calls it, you can learn all about it from his informative video. The Veganuary Instagram account is also packed with useful information, such as tips for new vegans, plant-based milks, new product launches, vegan shopping lists for beginners, and mouth-watering recipes!
Switching to a plant-based diet is the best thing you can do for your health – you can read more about the health benefits here. By not eating animals and not supporting the animal agriculture industry, you will also be saving thousands of animal lives, helping prevent more ocean dead zones, deforestation, water shortages, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and helping to stop the climate crisis from getting worse.
Alongside choosing a plant-based diet, the most impactful action you can take to preserve the planet is to campaign and lobby for institutional changes and plant-based policies in your community. Get started by signing the Plant Based Treaty and starting a city campaign to influence plant-based food policies at schools, universities, hospitals, care facilities and city hall.
It’s not too late to sign up for Veganuary and join the thousands of other people around the world ditching animal products and eating healthy plants this month.
How you can help:
- Download your free vegan action starter kit to get started with a plant-based diet.
- Sign the Plant Based Treaty. Your signature will help put pressure on national governments to negotiate an international Plant Based Treaty as a companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement. The treaty calls for system changes such as an end to the expansion of animal agriculture, the redirection of subsidies and public information campaigns, and restoration and reforestation on land and sea.
- Join Paul Wesley in signing the Stop Octopus Farming petition to stop Nueva Pescanova from building the first commercial octopus farm in the Canary Islands.