Join the global month-long event for plant-based eating
Karina Inkster, MA, PTS
Veganuary was founded in 2014 by Matthew Glover and Jane Land. Their UK-based nonprofit “encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond” and has welcomed millions of participants since its inception. The online movement aims to show people that adopting a plant-based lifestyle may be easier than they think.
Fitness coach and 13-year vegan Zoe Peled praises Veganuary for the networks and resources it offers. For individuals who don’t know anyone else interested in veganism, “Veganuary is a way those folks may find support.”
Founder of the Vancouver Vegan Resource Centre, Peled is also a marketing and community engagement professional, facilitating events and community relations for numerous vegan businesses.
If you’re interested in trying Veganuary, she suggests having an open mind: “Veganuary is a great opportunity to assess the lifestyle for yourself, and perhaps find some new conclusions to the questions you’ve had.”
Veganuary is usually marketed as a “challenge.” While it’s important to acknowledge that folks have different levels of access and privilege, using this terminology may be “unfairly amplifying the naysayers who state that veganism is hard, inaccessible, and/or expensive,” says Peled.
“Veganism overall is not challenging. Perhaps there is a transition period, but it can be full of fun, exploration, new foods, and lots of support.”
Ready to jump in?
Consider your upcoming month of plant-based eating a culinary adventure! Instead of focusing on the foods you’ll be avoiding, think about foods with which you can replace animal products, some of which you might not have tried before. (Seitan, farro, amaranth, or wakame, anyone?)
Adopting a mindset of abundance, rather than a mindset of avoidance or deprivation, will ensure you benefit from a wide range of nutrients on a plant-exclusive diet, while enjoying the process.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of nutrition professionals, explains that well-planned vegan diets are not only healthy but may help in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancer.
“These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes,” states the organization.
With the help of a well-planned diet, fortified foods, and supplements, you can get the needed nutrients—including calcium, B12, zinc, iron, and protein—from a 100 percent plant-based diet.
Sign up online at veganuary.com, and you’ll get a starter kit and daily emails for support. You can also participate “unofficially” with a friend, family member, or colleague.
Make sure your kitchen is stocked with whole food staples: fresh and frozen fruit and veggies; plant-based milk; whole grains such as rolled oats and rice; beans and lentils; nut and seed butters; and perhaps a few treat items, such as dark chocolate.
You don’t have to be a professional chef to make delicious, nutrient-dense vegan meals. But it will certainly help to have a few resources handy, such as some simple plant-based recipes (check out the recipe feature following this article!).
If you’ll be eating restaurant meals, use the HappyCow website (happycow.net) or app to find options near you. These days, most dining establishments have vegan menu items. If not, don’t be afraid to ask your server for any off-menu vegan options that might be available.
If you decide to remain fully vegan after your first month, that’s fantastic!
In 2022, 629,000 people across 228 countries and territories took part in Veganuary. At the conclusion of the challenge, 83 percent of participants said they would permanently change their diets by either staying vegan, or at least halving their consumption of animal products.
If you’re considering a plant-based diet, you might require some of the following supplements:
Praised as a support for healthy hair, skin, and joints, supplemental collagen has experienced a boom in popularity in recent years. However, there is no natural vegan form of collagen—so how can those following a plant-based diet support their body’s collagen?