The food we eat seems to be all the talk in the media. From William Sitwell’s comments on veganism to the establishment of World Vegan Day, the word ‘vegan’ has infiltrated every media outlet in some way, shape or form.
As we wave goodbye to 2018, many of us reflect on the year and set resolutions as to how we are going to be a better person and member of society in 2019. ‘I will be a kinder person’ or ‘I will lose this Christmas weight’ or ‘I will dip no lower than £20 into my overdraft next year’ – these are common resolutions I have seen crumble time and time again. However, I believe there is a way in which you could achieve all of these and more. The answer? Veganuary. This initiative encourages people to try veganism in January, hopefully inspiring them to keep up parts or all of the diet.
So, without further ado, here are ten reasons why you should try Veganuary this year…
1. Save the Planet
If you haven’t seen countless articles reporting how bad the meat and dairy industry is for the planet, where have you been? From dwindling fisheries to greenhouse gas emissions, there are a plethora of negative impacts the meat, fish and dairy industries have on our common home. A study from Oxford this year reported that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’. You may have boycotted plastic straws or shared the banned Iceland Christmas advert, but the greatest thing you can do to save the planet is cut down on your meat and dairy consumption. With Linda McCartney and a huge range of nut and oat milks, this substitution has never been easier.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people following plant-based diets are less likely to develop cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease than omnivores. Coronary heart disease is the UK’s leading cause of premature death. However, a journal article published earlier this year (Parsons et al. 2018) reported that a plant-based diet has been the only diet to not only help prevent but reverse the effects of coronary atherosclerosis. Aside from long-term health benefits, having myself been fully vegan for three months, I can safely say a vegan diet has made me feel much more energetic, as well as helping me lose my end-of-summer weight much more effectively.
3. Save money
My vegan diet does not revolve around avocado on toast and expensive ‘free from’ products. It is so easy to be vegan on a budget. For example, with groceries bought from Tesco, to make ‘pork Milanese with spaghetti’ would cost you £6.65 per serving, whereas ‘Linguini with olives, sundried tomato and capers’ would only set you back £1.59 per serving. Plants are also more filling as they contain more fibre than meat, so you can eat less, but stay fuller longer.
4. For charity
Why not use Veganuary to raise some money for a charity? Get your friends and family to sponsor you for giving up animal products. Could you be a better person?!
5. Stop supporting animal cruelty
All you have to do is watch some of PETA’s videos to realise there is no ‘humane’ way to kill animals. Countless studies have shown that animals including fish feel pain, calves and mothers weep when they are separated, and if the blending of millions of male chicks every year doesn’t put you off KFC, I don’t know what will.
6. Save water
Want to save 2400 litres of water? You could:
- Not flush your toilet for 6 months
- Not take a shower for 2 months
- Not eat a burger
Want to save 1020 litres of water? You could:
- Not do 14 loads of laundry
- Not do 34 runs of the dishwasher
- Not drink 1 litre of cow’s milk
(figures from gotdrought.info)
7. Better athletic performance
But you won’t get any protein? You’ll be weak! Think about the term ‘strong as a bull’. How many bulls have you seen eat a steak? Protein and other minerals are abundant in plants, hence it is where herbivorous animals, such as cows, get their nutrients from. Some athletes thriving on plant-based diets include Hector Bellerin, Fiona Oakes, David Haye, Jermain Defoe and Venus Williams.
8. Eating your greens is good for you!!
We all know this. Following a plant-based diet forces you to explore a larger variety of fruit and vegetables which are (obviously) packed full of everything that keeps you healthy. Instead of antibiotic-and-hormone-packed flesh, you will find yourself eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables, hitting that 5-a-day goal every day!
9. It’s easier thank you think (especially in Oxford)
Not only is the internet filled with vegan recipes and nutritional information, but Oxford’s food scene more than caters for vegans. Countless restaurants have separate vegan menus, and those that don’t nearly always have a vegan option (would recommend the Californian burger at GBK).
10. You can tell people you’re a vegan
Lucky you! Whenever you have to mention you’re a vegan, your mates will sarcastically exclaim ‘Oh, I didn’t know you are vegan?!’ and ‘Oh, are you vegan?’. As vegans, this is our favourite type of humour as it never gets old!! And remember, veganism is a substitute for personality.