What do Joaquin Phoenix, Paul McCartney and Natalie Portman have in common aside from being creative and successful in their respective fields? All of them are non-meat eaters and animal rights activists. Now that the holidays are over and you're ready to start 2022 with a healthier mind and body, there's no better way to do so than by joining them in their quest for veganism for the whole month of January. If you have a competitive nature and believe you have what it takes to improve yourself by replacing meat consumption with green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit for better health and environmental reasons, Veganuary 2022 is for you. Scroll down to learn more about this fascinating worldwide challenge, why you should participate, and what you can expect to gain from it.
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary is an international campaign created in 2014 by Jane Land and Matthew Glover in the United Kingdom. This yearly event's purpose is to encourage people all over the world to eat a plant-based diet for the entire month of January. Veganuary has attracted over 60,000 participants since its inception, and the number continues to rise year after year. Although it takes place during the first month of the year, participation in the vegan challenge is open all year round – meaning, you can sign up anytime.
Why go vegan in January?
The vegan lifestyle has been gaining ground all over the world as people make use of their New Year's resolutions to do something new and exciting with their lives. People who are interested in veganism but don't know how or where to start find Veganuary the perfect opportunity. It provides simple ways to gradually switch out their old dietary habits for healthier alternatives from plant sources. Also around this time, approximately 70% of participants notice increased energy levels and more than half feel they have improved concentration by following a vegan diet.
Additionally, the Veganuary community offers a wide array of vegan sources and support. There is a vegan starter kit for those looking for recipes for plant-based proteins, informational videos and vegan guides. The vegan diet also helps people save money; meatless meals are often cheaper because animal products tend to be more expensive than plant-based foods.
Another good reason to go vegan in January is that you can make your voice heard. By changing what you eat, you send the message that there's no need for animals to suffer and die so we can satisfy our palates. As countless consumers become vegan, demand for vegetarian foods will skyrocket and companies will stop violating animal rights and marketing the consumption of animal products. This will mean less suffering for all sentient beings involved, including yourself.
Benefits of going vegan
It's no secret that going vegan has a lot of health benefits. Anthony William, a best-selling author and holistic healer, even asserts that natural therapies like a vegan diet can cure cancer. "The more whole foods you eat, the better your kidneys will function," he explained. Vegan diets are also recommended for patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, according to him.
Other benefits that come with a plant-based diet include:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases
- Decreased risk of cancer
- Healthier bowels
- Healthy weight
- Positive environmental impact
- Prevents cognitive dissonance
It has been reported that vegans tend to consume more fruit and vegetables than those with omnivorous diets, which has led them to have a lower BMI (body mass index) than the general population. Also, vegan diets tend to be higher in fibre and nutrients.
How to start a vegan diet
If you have not tried being vegan before it can seem daunting, especially if you've never considered yourself particularly health-conscious or switched your brand of butter before. Many vegans consume the same meals as meat eaters, but without using any animal products. It all comes down to knowing what you're searching for and carefully reading food labels.
An easy way to start a vegan diet is to get rid of junk food and gradually replace animal-based foods in your meals with vegan alternatives, such as using soya or almond milk in your tea or coffee instead of animal-sourced dairy products. That way, your body receives the recommended grams of protein without the unnecessary saturated fat and cholesterol. Plus, you still get to enjoy the comforting taste of a hot drink.
If you're having trouble sticking to a vegan diet, consider joining a local group of like-minded people who exchange recipes and suggestions for a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients like calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and other B vitamins, as well as vitamins A, C, D and E. You'll be surprised at how many plant-based sources of protein there are!
You won't be castigated for not going strictly vegan in Veganuary. However, looking into some helpful resources for vegan foods beforehand is a great way to put together a balanced diet and reap its health benefits. Another source of inspiration is reading articles about vegan success stories. Learn how eating a variety of fruits, leafy greens and brown rice aided in improving their heart health, blood sugar levels, or how it reduced their cancer risk.
This Veganuary, if you need assistance choosing a handpicked selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, contact a nutritionist in your local area through the Natural Therapy Pages' comprehensive practitioner listing pages.