Veganuary and what being vegan means


What is Veganuary?

Veganuary was inspired by the success and awareness campaign Movember and was established to create a movement that would appeal to non-vegans. Since the event began back in 2014, Veganuary has seen it's participants almost double each year. This year it is expected that more than 500,000 people will participate.

The aim?  Well, there are both health and economical benefits of choosing a vegan lifestyle, but making a change overnight is not easy. With the support offered by Veganuary, people can gain the necessary knowledge to prepare healthy, balanced and nutritionally dense meals. Over the course of four weeks it aims to help people form new shopping, cooking and eating habits, making it far more likely they will succeed long term.

How many people are vegan?

The Vegan Society claim that the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, or 1.16% of the population; 276,000 (0.46%) in 2016; and 150,000 (0.25%) in 2014. But that is set to increase dramatically over the next 12 months.

Around 2,000 adults were quizzed for the research by finder.com. They say, that according to the data, around one percent of Brits are currently vegan - around 700,000 people. The poll results suggest that over the next year, 2.2. million people will adopt veganism, increasing the vegan population to around 2.9 million.

This makes events like Veganuary even more important. Eating a whole food plant-based diet and adopting a vegan lifestyle requires a mind set change. The slow educational style of the program helps people adapt daily and provides them with the the nutritional information they need to maintain optimum health.

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is a diet which contains foods derived from plant sources. This can include fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and meat substitutes such as soy products.

There are a growing number of plant-based meat alternatives available and major supermarkets now offer a wide range of brands for consumers to choose from. In fact, there isn't a single meal that cannot be veganised in some form or another.

What is Vegan?

A vegan lifestyle is an extension of having a plant-based diet. Not only do vegans not eat meat, dairy, eggs, or honey, but they don't wear animal products or use products tested on animals.

Being vegan is no longer as difficult as is was 5 or 10 years ago. There are ethical and vegan companies providing high performance, quality clothing, shoes and accessories for every style and budget. Many vegan brands are also environmentally conscious, using organic and natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp and linen as well as innovative and recycled materials too.

The vegan lifestyle recognises the harsh and brutal treatments of animals used for food and fashion. The growing demand means that both textile development and brands are evolving quickly. Many brands have already banned the sale of fur with more being added to the list every week. The production of foie gras is so cruel and horrifying that it has been banned in 16 countries. Brand Save The Duck creates cutting-edge coats and jackets by replacing goose down with state-of-the-art technology, PLUMTECH®, which is warmer, more breathable and lighter than using animal feathers.

Save The Duck Clothing | Watson & Wolfe
Save The Duck's jackets are breathable, waterproof, warm and 100% animal free.

Leather is under the spotlight too. The leather industry will require 420m cows by 2025 to meet growing demand, but the process to make leather is one of the most polluting on the planet. (1)

Fashion brands are changing their approach to design and materials, as consumers become more aware of ethics and sustainability. Many companies are not only producing vegan options, but the items are also produced in better working conditions and with low impact materials such as the eco vegan leather we use in our collection of wallets and accessories.

Eco Vegan Leather Wallets | Watson & Wolfe
Wallets handmade with corn based, eco vegan leather.

 Is being vegan good for the environment?

Environmental impact is perhaps one of the reason why Veganuary has become so popular over the last 2-3 years.

The human population eats about 230m tonnes of animals a year, twice as much as we did 30 years ago. The four main species we breed for meat are cows, chickens, pigs and sheep. All of which require vast amounts of food and water. They also emit methane and other greenhouse gases and produce mountains of waste.

According to researchers from Oxford, meat, dairy, egg and fish farming use 83% of the world's farmland, yet provide only 18% of the world's calories. The reason livestock require so much land is because animals are actually just the “middlemen”, consuming on average six times more protein than they even produce. (2)

The average British meat-eater consumes more than 11,000 animals in their lifetime. The difference we can make by adopting the vegan lifestyle is considerable for our health, the animals and the demand on our planet.

It is never too late to sign up to the Veganuary challenge, so what are you waiting for?

(1) https://www.watsonwolfe.com/environmental-impact-of-cow-leather/
(2) https://gamechangersmovie.com/the-bigger-picture/
Main photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

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