Veganuary is back for its 4th year, and it's bigger than ever.
For many, January marks an anniversary of their vegan diet as a result of taking part in Veganuary, an increasingly popular month-long conversion to the plant-based lifestyle. The UK-based global charity started in January 2014 and has grown ever-stronger in the years since. 2015 had record numbers of partakers. So did 2016. And now so does 2017.
Everyone has their reasons and according to Veganuary marketing manager “the number one reason that people give for taking part in Veganuary is to protect animals”, but perhaps for others it is for the environment, for their health, or to challenge themselves with a New Year’s Resolution that could have a positive impact on so many levels. And what’s more, there’s plenty of support, as you’re about to see.
Veganuary Celebrity Cookbook
First off, plenty of celebs have been endorsing the challenge. Long-term vegans Brad Pitt, Ellie Goulding and Gwyneth Paltrow have all shared their support. Kat Von D actually caused the website to crash in 2016 by encouraging people to sign up. Others have tried it for themselves, including Vivenne Westwood, Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Pascoe and Pete Egan (who have remained vegan since).
This year, there is a free e-cookbook available to anyone who partakes in which celebrities have kindly donated their favourite vegan recipes. These include Egan’s Parmigiana di Melanzane, Carl Donnelly’s Turkish Delight Cupcakes (yum!), Jasmine Harman’s Shepherd’s Pie with a Mediterranean Twist, Joanna Lumley’s Random Green Soup, Russell Martin’s Black Bean Taquitos with an Enchilada, which could all be followed up by Pete Tatchell’s Decadent Chocolate Cake. You get the idea. There is bound to be something for everyone.
Veganuary Restaurant Offers
There are plenty of restaurants getting involved and serving up some delicious plant-based dishes for you to indulge in during the post-Christmas blues.
Las Iguanas and Zizzi have a 2 for 1 deal on vegan mains from Sunday to Thursday, with vegan options available all year round.
The Handmade Burger Co are giving 50% off all vegan burgers and sides for the second year running.
All Bar One has created a new menu specifically for Veganuary with the likes of crushed avocado and tomato bruschetta for starters, miso rice bowl with pak choi, broccoli, peppers and sugar snaps for mains, and coconut and vanilla rice pudding for dessert. If you want to find out what else is on the menu I’m afraid you’ll have to go and try it.
Or maybe you’ll instead pay a visit to one of our many 2016 heroes, Pret, who have new products available for January including soups, herbal infusions and coconut milk porridge.
Yo! Sushi has launched a Yo! Festival from 3rd to 27th January with 10 of the 48 dishes being entirely vegan.
LEON has added new vegan options to the menu (including a raspberry and rose petal fonut, aka a baked donut). Be sure to get your hands on the vouchers you need for some of these deals from veganuary.com.
Stay tuned for local deals and offers
There are also independent venues providing for the herbivorous masses, such as GRUB, Manchester’s pop up food fair, which is hosting a special Veganuary even on the 28th January called ExtraVEGANza. It is definitely worth checking in your local town to see if anything is going on. If you spot anything, let us know!
How Veganuary works
Now perhaps the most important point of all is that Veganuary works. Of all who partake, half reportedly remain vegan. The Veganuary website also states that “more than 75 percent of people who have tried going vegan for a month report an improvement in their health”, having “said they slept better and lost an average of 6lbs as a result of their changed diet”. Awesome!
In 2015, 12,800 people officially signed up to Veganuary (with 4,000 from the states). 71% felt an improvement in their health, 65% learnt something new about animal agriculture and 51% decided to stick it out. It was calculated that 1,596,180 animals were saved by the campaign in that year alone. Yet in 2016 it only got better, with 23,000 participants registering and a whopping 81% deciding to maintain the change. In fact, there was a 600% increase in the number of participants in just 2 years, with an estimated 3.8 million animals spared a life of misery from the 2016 campaign (check the data breakdown here).
2017 set to be the biggest Veganuary yet
This year? So far 50,000 participants have reportedly joined, with a further 10,000 expected to take the plunge by the end of the month. Perhaps this is in part thanks to the Veganuary advertising campaign in London with 2,500 adverts in underground carriages and on every door, poster and turnstile at Clapham Common station. The posters read I’m ME, not MEAT featuring the adorable Rocky the calf, Ernie the piglet and little Eric the chick.
Likely this is all a reflection of the gain in popularity of veganism, with a 360% increase in the last decade. Either way it is unquestionably something to celebrate. Follow Veganuary on YouTube or Facebook for the latest, or sign up via their website.
It is also worth mentioning that there are loads of Facebook groups out there for local towns where people share advice, tips and support, so if you are taking the Veganuary pledge or simply on the hunt for the nearest Vego bar then why not join? Good luck if you take part, and enjoy the journey!