Veganuary is the term used for staying vegan for the whole month of January. And it is now the focus of a new global campaign. The campaign urges people to make a New Year's resolution to avoid all eggs, dairy products, and meat throughout the month. It's the concept the husband and wife team from Britain, Matthew Glover and Jane Land, and takes its inspiration from a viral campaign called Movember which encourages men to grow hair on their faces to support the awareness of issues regarding men's health.
Veganism precludes eating food with any animal origin such as fish and eggs and even products such as milk and honey. Practitioners do not use other products with animal origins such as silk, leather, and wool as well as cosmetics and toiletries which contain products from animals. People practice the vegan lifestyle for many reasons. A major influence for some, is the organization PETA, which opposes any ill treatment of animals. In fact, a love of animals is an important catalyst for many participants who want to feel better about themselves and the contribution they make to the world around them.
An important benefit of veganism for others is the potential for weight loss. Data shows that people who follow such a plant-based diet often maintain a lower body weight on average. However, expert dietitians point out that this may not be the case if you still incorporate lots of junk food in your diet. Practitioners should aim to eat a minimum of five vegetables and fruit servings everyday, in conjunction with plenty of whole grains and plant-based proteins such as lentils and beans, at every meal.
What many people may not fully appreciate is how veganism contributes to sustainable living, by de-emphasising the importance of meat in one's diet. Emissions from livestock now account for more than 14% of greenhouse gases in the world, which exceeds the 13% which can be attributed to transport. Clearly, as the population of the world approaches 9 billion people, an increase in the desire to eat meat will result in absolutely unsustainable increases in greenhouse gas levels. Veganism is a simple and easy solution to this particular crises, as well as other major problems, such as global hunger and the growing menace of obesity.
The founders of Veganuary emphasize that because they want the campaign to have mass appeal, they are focusing on vegan health benefits as well as the amazingly delicious food potential, instead of emphasizing issues of ethics and the environment. They believe that better health and better taste were far more effective in promoting the reduction of meat in place of animal welfare and environmental sustainability. There is more mileage to be gained in an approach which is relaxed and avoids passing judgement on people.
The founders also say that 3,300 people from all over the world took the pledge last year and half of them have committed to continue the practice after the month of January. 7,000 people have already made the pledge this year and the artfully constructed Veganuary website provides the necessary support as well as practical information on how to go about it.