It's the annual Veganuary challenge - where hundreds of thousands of people across the world pledge to adopt a vegan diet for the whole of January. Studies show that veganism comes with numerous benefits, so should we look to extend that pledge across an entire year or just the second serving of meat at dinner?


Nowadays being vegan in London isn't too daunting  (well...theoretically of course). London is home to over 150 vegan restaurants and was named the 'most vegan-friendly city by HappyCow, the self-proclaimed largest vegan and vegetarian guide in the world, for 2 years in a row before the pandemic. Not to mention, London is home to 22% of the UK's vegans which means that any people suffering spontaneous ill-thought-out New Years' Resolutions are likely to find a friend of a colleague to help them try and keep it up longer than a few weeks. 

However, was a different story in 2014 when the non-profit Veganuary was founded in the UK. Back then, veganism (although gaining more recognition) was little-known, and widely considered the diet of hippies or health freaks. Over time, the campaign became mainstream, and in 2021, over half a million people took part; and that's only those who officially pledged onto the company's website! The campaign has 'participants from over 200 countries and territories' and has been very effective in bringing veganism further into the public eye. 

Statistics have shown that the 7 years of Veganuary has saved at least 6.2 million litres of water, 3.4 million animals and 103, 000 tonnes of CO2.  The large positive impact of the campaign has encouraged other people to continue onwards with it - and many have reported that their health, such as their skin and digestion, improved after the challenge. 

This may surprise the naysayers of plant-based diets, but the false claims of the unhealthiness of vegan diets have long been dismissed by both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Plant-based diets, even vegan diets, can be rich in nutrients and vitamins.

Additionally, it is widely known that plant-based diets can have a positive impact on the environment and help reduce the effects of climate change. On average, vegan diets produce less carbon and water footprints than eating animals and animal products.

Of course, it can be intimidating to go completely vegan. The prospect of awkward family dinners or surprise birthday cakes in your workplace is daunting. Fortunately, veganism isn't the only option, and many people are starting to opt for 'flexitarian diets' where people reduce meat and animal products where possible and convenient for them. One example is 'Meatless Mondays', which is quite self-explanatory in its aim.

Maybe it's time for all of us to give a little more thought to our food choices this year and choose the more sustainable option where possible.