If you’ve never heard of Veganuary, you might want to check your living space to make sure it is not under a rock. Just kidding, we don’t judge! Veganuary may not be as popular as, say, Movember, but it is gaining momentum as is the plant-based movement. From 3,300 sign ups in 2014, to over 400,300 sign ups in 2020, Veganuary has seen over 1,000,000 participants in the movement.
The idea is simple - go vegan for January (and for the rest of the year if you’d like!). With Bruized being a vegan business, we love inspiring others and sharing all the great reasons there are to go vegan, or simply to go more plant-based. Although there are many more benefits to incorporating more plants into your diet, we’ve outlined 5 reasons to try Veganuary this year.
Experiment with New Recipes
Fight the winter blahs and blues by challenging yourself to try new recipes and new ways of cooking! It’s so easy to get into a routine or a slump of making and eating the same things every week, but by going vegan for the month, you will be forced to learn a thing or two about a new way of cooking, and you’ll discover new ways to make your fave foods (i.e. veganized omelettes, anyone?).
Image via The Edgey Veg
Who hasn’t vowed to eat healthier in the new year at some point in their life? Although eating vegan does not necessarily mean eating healthier (ahem vegan junk food is alive and well), in my experience, I have found it much easier to eat more whole foods while following a vegan diet. One, because in general there is just less processed food available that is vegan than not vegan, and two, because when swapping meat or dairy products for vegan foods, you are as a consequence eating food made of plants (although the less processed the plant food is, generally, the better it is for you). All this being said, we are so lucky to live in a time where we can get a TON of processed vegan food in most grocery stores, if that floats your boat.
Lessen Your Impact
The sad truth is, there are many negative environmental consequences of animal agriculture. Water usage is one example, where the average water footprint for calorie of beef is 20 times greater compared to cereals and starchy vegetables¹. If you’re looking at protein from milk, eggs or chicken meat, the water footprint is 1.5 times greater compared to pulses1. Heavy metals such as copper and zinc are fed to chickens and pigs as supplements to promote growth and prevent disease, however once excreted into the soil and used as fertilizer, these minerals can contaminate water supplies². Other nutrients such as too-high concentrations of phosphorus from chicken waste³, as well as nitrogen from run-off of animal waste, acidify waterways, causing “dead zones” where aquatic creatures cannot survive.
Livestock, particularly cattle, release various greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, including methane and carbon dioxide, which both contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. The FAO reported 14.5% of anthropogenic (human-related) GHG emissions come from global livestock⁴. There are many more livestock-related contributions to global warming that I won’t get into in this blog as it would be much too long, but I strongly encourage you to do some of your own research if you would like to learn more about the topic!
Save some Moula
This will depend on your vegan eating preferences, as the more “specialty” vegan items you buy, the more expensive your grocery list is likely to be. However, if you are sticking with basic, minimally processed whole foods, you might find your grocery spending to be lessened on a vegan diet! Replace meats with dried or canned, beans, lentils and chickpeas, all generally less than $2 a can. Save extra time by buying these items dried, cooking a bunch in one go and then freezing them in smaller portions. Sticking with basic tofu, then adding spices and sauces to flavour it up while cooking is another cheap alternative to buying processed fake “meats”.
When I was in university, vegan activist James Aspey, came to my school to do a presentation on his vegan journey, his experiences as an activist and how he did a vow of silence for one year to “raise awareness for animals and promote peace over violence”. One part of his talk that stood out to me was that you don’t have to be an animal lover to be vegan. I think this is an important point to stress in talking about veganism because of the dissonance involved in eating meat. Most people who eat meat will agree that factory farming is terrible, but will still eat meat knowing (or not knowing) where it came from. Besides knowing the negative implications of eating animal products such as the environment or health, I’ve heard people state with a certain aloofness that they “just aren’t really into animals”. You don’t need to like animals to be vegan. Not a requirement whatsoever! If you do choose to try out veganuary however, take note of how you feel towards animals at the start and end (if you chose to only do it for a month) of your journey. You might have some interesting thoughts that arise about ethics!
Regardless of whether you like animals or not, there are plenty of other reasons to try Veganuary this year. Even if you slip up once or a couple times, I encourage you to keep going for the whole month! Even long-time vegans accidentally eat non-vegan food, but that usually doesn’t prompt them to go back to eating animal products.
For more information you can check out the Veganuary website, and if you are doing Veganuary this year feel free to tag us @bruizedco in any creations you make!
1. Mekonnen, M. M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2012). A Global Assessment of the Water Footprint of Farm Animal Products. Ecosystems, 15(3), 401-415. doi:10.1007/s10021-011-9517-8. Retrieved from https://www.waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Mekonnen-Hoekstra-2012-WaterFootprintFarmAnimalProducts.pdf
2. Jacela JY, DeRouchey JM, Tokach MD, et al. Feed additives for swine: Fact sheets – high dietary levels of copper and zinc for young pigs, and phytase.J Swine Health Prod. 2010;18(2):87–91. Retrieved from https://www.aasv.org/shap/issues/v18n2/v18n2p88.html
3. How Industrial Agriculture Causes Water Pollution. (2019, September 18). Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://foodprint.org/issues/how-industrial-agriculture-affects-our-water/
4. Key facts and findings. (n.d.). Retrieved December 31, 2020, from http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/