The Veganuary Challenge is a 31-day event that encourages people to try a plant-based diet during the month of January. It is run by a UK non-profit organisation that promotes and educates people about veganism.
The challenge first took place in 2014 and has doubled each year! This popular New Year’s Resolution should ideally begin on January 1st, but you can join any time with the goal of sticking to it for 31 full days.
And it’s not too late to join. Here are some of the reasons to consider joining this challenge in 2021.
When to Sign up for Veganuary?
It is possible to sign up for Veganuary at any time. However, it most popular to do during the month of January. It can be easier to do when many others are also participating. Not only is there a lot of support but many plant-based companies advertise and offer discounts for their products with the challenge in mind.
Right now, over 400,000 people worldwide are participating in the Veganuary Challenge. According to the organisers, there are participants from every country in the world except North Korea, Vatican City and Eswatini (Swaziland).
Why Participate in the Veganuary Challenge?
There are many reasons for people to consider a vegan diet. The three main reasons are for health, animals and the environment. Of course, some people also like to join out of support for their vegan friends and family.
The challenge is a great way to try something new, expand your food knowledge and learn great recipes. Plus, it can be a way to lose weight and see how certain foods influence your daily thoughts and functions.
Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
A common reason to explore a vegan diet is health benefits. Most of the meat available in supermarkets is mass-produced and full of antibiotics, etc.
This, plus the way that popular meat dishes are prepared in grease and salt can have a negative impact when consumed regularly. There are also various health problems connected to consumption to meat: heart problems, cholesterol, etc. There are similar concerns with both dairy and even eggs.
Unfortunately, it is still possible to be unhealthy while on a plant-based diet. There are many products full of pesticides and chemicals targeting vegan consumers.
However, eating fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains can do wonders to your body.
Even just a few days into clean plant-based eating, people will often experience less bloating, clearer skin, weight loss, a clearer mind and even better sleep. You can read more about the various benefits here.
Environmental Benefits of Veganism
Another big push for a plant-based diet is the environment. A common argument against veganism is that the production of soy and other crops isn’t eco-friendly.
However, a lot more forests are devastated in order to raise and feed cattle. In fact, 788 million acres, or 41.4% of the USA excluding Alaska, are grazed by livestock.
All this land is also full of pesticides to keep harmful plants and insects from harming the cattle which severely impacts the bee population. Unfortunately, without bees, there cannot be life on Earth.
Once again, there are many fruits and vegetables that are not farmed sustainably. However, less land is required when animals are out of the picture.
Also, vertical and indoor farms are becoming more popular and they offer greener solutions for growing crops. In addition to not eating animal products, many people following a vegan lifestyle aim to consume locally sourced foods from nearby farms and greener sources.
How to Join Veganuary
It is not too late to join and see what all the fuss is about. You can join the official Veganuary challenge here. There are also various groups on Facebook and other social media where you can speak to others who are participating.
Joining the official challenge will sign you up for a newspaper and give you resources that can help you stick to the diet. You can also participate without joining officially and simply do your research online.
The Veganuary challenge is a great way to learn about the foods you eat and their impact on your body as well as the environment.
Veganuary is a great challenge whether you want to join in support of others, for the animals, for the planet or for personal health benefits.
Eating less meat and more locally grown organic produce has a significant impact even short-term.
By skipping meat just one day a week, Americans could save an estimated 100 billion gallons of water each year.
Meatless Monday followers could also save approximately 70 million gallons of gas annually.
Eating a plant-based diet during the month of January can open up a whole new world of flavours that can change the way you eat beyond the 31 days.
Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney
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