Since 2014, people have been taking part in Veganuary and the trend in veganism has skyrocketed. The number of people claiming to follow a vegan diet in the UK has quadrupled since it began and more than 1,200 new vegan products and menus were launched for Veganuary 2020, which is impressive, to say the least.
Why do people take part?
According to the Veganuary statistics, 38% of people take part for health purposes, 37% take part to spare the animals and 18% take part to save the planet.
So let's break down these reasons...
Health - If it's your first time doing Veganuary and you’re going cold turkey then you’re definitely in for a treat! Following a plant-based diet can increase your level of energy, lower the risks of heart disease and studies show that people who follow a plant-based diet tend to have a lower BMI (body mass index). If you're into exercising then you’ll be happy to know that a vegan diet can improve your overall athletic performance. Some of the top athletes in the world follow a healthy vegan diet as it is proven to promote better blood flow and help with exercise recovery. Try it out this month and I’m sure you’ll feel the benefits! If you're already feeling unmotivated don't worry, there are plenty of documentaries out there to fire you up, here are a few that sealed the deal for me…
Animals - Following a plant-based diet is the first thing you can do to help stop animal cruelty. If we stop spending money on animal products then we will reduce the demand for them, ensuring that fewer animals are bred to suffer on farms. By doing this we can save over 100 animals a year. In a consumerist world, it's hard to forget that the cows, pigs and chickens on your plate are just as intelligent as your dog/cat sitting under your dining table. I recommend watching Earthlings to gain a better understanding of the impact on animals in the food industry.
Environment - Livestock production is among the most destructive forces driving the climate crisis. It degrades our air quality, pollutes waterways and is the single largest use of land. Animal agriculture is responsible for 37% of the total methane generated by human activity. Industrialized livestock contributes to roughly 75% of deforestation allowing space for animals to graze and grow feedstock. Our waterways are also polluted by animal waste, antibiotics and hormones entering cycles alongside chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray crops. By simply cutting these products out of our diet we can reduce the stress put on the planet, this is probably one of the easiest ways we can individually tackle the climate crisis, so if you’re fed up of feeling helpless then your plate is definitely a good place to start! Cowspiracy is a great documentary which highlights the impact that animal agriculture has on the environment.