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What is Veganuary and How Can You Take Part?

Taking the Veganuary Challenge Doesn't Have to Be Overwhelming

This blog will help you start Veganuary on the front foot with eyes wide open

Veganuary is a 31-day challenge where you adapt to a vegan lifestyle. This is so much more than just giving up meat for a month. This is also about things like the beauty products you use, looking at your household cleaning products and reading the ingredients on all labels.

In an ideal world, after the 31 days are over, you would continue "Veganuary" through the rest of your life. But switching out habits, especially when it comes to your diet, can be tricky. 

If you want to commit and make it official, you can sign up with Veganuary and they’ll send you recipe ideas, tips and easy meal plans to help get you started. But there is nothing stop you from giving it a go without signing up to anything. 

Home grown Leeks

What are the benefits of taking part in Veganuary? 

There are so many benefits to a vegan diet and lifestyle: 

  • Fruit & vegetables are rich in the nutrients your body actually needs
  • Research suggests that a vegan diet reduces the chance of suffering from some cancers by up 50%
  • Sticking to a vegan diet can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body mass index
  • A vegan lifestyle can help prevent type 2 diabetes & reduce the pain of arthritis

From an environmental point of view there are also lots of benefits to being vegan, too:

  • Over half of the world's crops are fed to livestock
  • 60% of deforestation is a result of the land being needed for agricultural purposes, predominantly livestock
  • A vegan diet needs less natural resources i.e. less water, land & fossil fuels

How to get started in the kitchen

The easiest way to start is by having a look in your cupboards, fridge and freezer, then establishing the products that contain animal products. There are so many vegan alternatives out there now, it’s just about taking the time to learn what they are.

Most supermarkets offer meat alternatives if you’re looking for an easy swap. Linda McCartney, Quorn, Naked Glory and Meatless Farm are a few of the bigger brands. Instead of a beef burger, try a plant-based burger by Naked Glory. This makes it easy for people who aren’t massively into cooking and want a quick solution. These meat free alternatives mimic the real thing, especially with texture and taste.

If you enjoy cooking and have a bit more time on your hands you can look at vegetable alternatives. So instead of switching the mince meat in your chilli to Quorn or a plant-based mince, use sweet potato, black beans and lentils. 

There are so many milk alternatives on the market, too. Personally, I prefer soy milk in my tea and oat milk in my coffee, but the choice is yours. You can take it to the next level and make your own oat milk. It's easy. Here is a recipe to make your own oat milk.

There are brilliant cheese alternatives out there too, which are made by small independent companies. One of my favourites is Kinda Co. We actually got our mum their dairy-free cheese hamper this year for Christmas. 

Confectionary is a big one too. Gelatin is made from collagen (found in cow and pig bones), skin and connective tissue. It’s used as a thickening agent or stabiliser and can be found in lots of sweets such as gummy bears, Starburst and so many more. You can get vegan chocolate made with ‘mylk’ alternatives, which are from plant=based milks. We stock Raw Halo and Ocelot which are both really delicious. 

Raw Halo Vegan Chocolate

How to get started in other areas of the home

What makeup brands do you use? Have you ever looked to see if they have been tested on animals? So many of the larger brands test on animals or many of their products contain animal products. 

Things like makeup are extremely personal to people, so it can be hard to move away from certain brands if you’ve developed a need and loyalty towards certain products. Vegan makeup brands such as Zao Makeup and Love the Planet have many products, including foundation, blush, mascara and much more, which come in a wide variety of shades.

It can also be super surprising what isn’t vegan once you start looking into it. Did you know fabric softener contains animal fats? White processed sugar contains bone char, which is essential to making it white in colour. 

What can you do now?

Don't feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to be 100% perfect during Veganuary. It’s more about awareness, and how much more there is to it.

Look at how many health benefits there are to it, how much of a positive impact you can make on the environment and how you can contribute to stopping animal cruelty. 

We are certainly not perfect, but we're always conscious of the things we need to improve and remind ourselves of it on a daily basis There are still animal products in our diets and that's something we're looking to eliminate.

90% of the products we stock in the shop are vegan with the exceptions containing beeswax. 

It’s actually a very similar lifestyle choice to going plastic free. If you start to reduce your use of animal products bit by bit, you'll start to see you never needed it to begin with.

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