Veganuary 2019: Looking Back On This Year's Campaign
Veganuary 2019 has come and gone. Now that the (soya) dust has settled on this years campaign let’s look back and answer the big questions. What was it, why was everyone doing it and how did this year's event stack up against previous years?
What was Veganuary 2019?
If you’re active on social media or into all-things-ethical, then you will have probably come across the Veganuary 2019 campaign.
If you haven’t, we’re talking about a campaign asking participants to pledge to veganism for the entire month of January.
While last year was a huge success for Veganuary, which grew by 183% with over 168,542 people signing up, this year was even better, as over a quarter of a million people in the UK only took part. Not bad considering that the campaign only launched five years ago!
Being “vegan” is a lifestyle choice that excludes all animal products or by-products, opting for a plant-based diet.
Anyone who is open to learning and feels a strong drive towards sustainable living can go vegan. While Veganuary only lasts a month, many participants aim for it to be the start of a long term commitment.
Whilst eliminating animal-derived food from your diet is the core of veganism, there is so much more to it. Not just what we eat but also what we wear might contain animal-derived materials (leather, wool and fur, just to mention a few) which are not acceptable to vegans.
So why did people take part?
There are many reasons to choose a vegan lifestyle. Many choose to go vegan in support of animal welfare, and a belief that animals do not need to sacrifice their lives for our food consumption. Another reason behind veganism includes: health reasons —the British Dietetic Association last year revealed that ‘well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages’. A growing number of people are choosing to go vegan for environmental reasons. Check out what would happen to our planet if everyone went vegan, according to the BBC.
The main benefits of going vegan
Whilst animal welfare is often considered as the largest motivator to someone becoming vegan this alone may not convince everyone. If you’re not sold on that alone then perhaps the following health and environmental benefits will sway you.
Your body will thank you for going vegan, and among the other benefits of Veganuary 2019, as revealed on the Veganuary campaign’s official website, we can find: healthy weight loss, reduction of the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
As Lucy Jones (consultant dietician and spokeswoman for the BDA) revealed to the BBC earlier this month. When going vegan for one month “the [positive] impact on blood sugars is fairly immediate, cholesterol takes a few weeks and blood pressure takes longer and comes with the weight loss”.
Additional benefits of veganism
Then there are the sustainability benefits. It may surprise you but the livestock industry is responsible for the brunt of greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production. A report by the BBC even suggesting as much as 70%. On top of this, the industry is reportedly the driver of up to 80% of yearly deforestation worldwide as natural habitats have been destroyed to make way for grazing pastures and animal feed production. That’s not taking into account the potential risks associated with the widespread overuse of antibiotics. These, in fact, contribute to our ever-diminishing ability to fight drug-resistant infections.
Taking all this into account it’s hard to deny the benefits of that removing mass-produced meat from our diets. Think about the huge positive impact on the health of humans, animals and ultimately the planet as a whole.
Every individual is different and for this reason, going vegan might have different effects for different people. Veganuary 2019 was a chance to try this diet and feel the positive benefits that would come from committing long term.
How did this year compare to previous?
This year’s Veganuary was a great success, registering numbers that broke every record. The most surprising thing was that, besides the 250,000 people participating nationally, an extra 250,000 participated outside the UK.
The half a million people who participated to Veganuary this year might have made a huge difference. From Marks & Spencer to Greggs, in fact, many companies have announced the launch of vegan and plant-based products. Greggs nearly broke the internet with the news that is was releasing a Vegan Sausage roll. The new item certainly divided opinions but goes to show the growing popularity of the vegan movement.
The incredible numbers registered by Veganuary 2019 make us think that people are finally moving towards a more ethical direction. According to The Vegan Calculator, in fact, every single person taking part in Veganuary in 2019 has saved 124,917 litres of water, 543 kg of grain, 84 square metres of forest, 273 kg of CO2 and 30 animal lives. Imagine the amount of water, animal lives and forests we could save if everyone would participate to Veganuary every year…
How hard is it to go Vegan for good?
This is the tricky question that every vegan gets asked every once in a while: how hard was it to go vegan?
This question, however, doesn’t exactly have a textbook answer as different people experience things in individual ways.
Being vegan is right for many reasons but you shouldn’t do it just because you feel pressured by others. Choose to be vegan for the right reasons, but do it mainly because you enjoy it!
If you had a chance to try Veganuary 2019, you will have probably already made your mind up by now. If you’re still unsure, carry on your “trial month” for a little while longer and see how you like it.
Online you will find plenty of resources to help you find ways of replacing meat, and don't forget to read our post for a few Easy Tips for Reducing Food Waste! Make sure you don’t miss out on any of these fantastic recipes from Veganuary 2019 and check out the London-based Vegan restaurants below:
Farmacy Kitchen in Notting Hill.
By CHLOE in Covent Garden.
Mildreds in Soho, Camden, King’s Cross, Dalston.
Wulf & Lamb in Sloane Square.