Veganuary is the global organisation encouraging people to try vegan in January.
The 31-day plant-based pledge is this year being endorsed by a number of celebrities including actor Joaquin Phoenix, comedian Sara Pascoe and actor Evanna Lynch, who famously played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series of films.
She said: “I’ve loved Veganuary’s work for a long time because I know, having been a vegetarian who was intimidated by veganism, that so many people just won’t start because they think it’s too hard and that they’re going to fail.
“Veganuary presents you an opportunity to do it with other people, with a community, and it’s not saying it’s a lifelong commitment, it’s saying ‘try it for a month and see how you feel’.”
Veganism is when a person does not eat or use animal products so that includes honey, cheese, eggs, meat and wear items such as leather or silk. Bex Bastable, commercial editor for JPIMedia’s Sussex titles, tried Veganuary a couple of years ago.
She said: “I ate a lot of meat and dairy before, so it was quite a radical change.
“But I must admit I found it relatively easy, which was a huge surprised to me. I was lucky in the fact I was working in Brighton, so there’s plenty of places to grab a vegan lunch on the go.”
One of the key things Bex found was reading labels properly and adds that once you have a few good recipes under your belt ‘it’s actually quite fun’.
“That month had a big impact on me,” she said.
“I didn’t stick to veganism, but I haven’t eaten meat since. And I haven’t missed it either.
“I feel so much healthier for it, and despite being a prolific meat love before, I couldn’t imagine eating it now.”
Comedian Sara Pascoe found she felt the same way when she went vegan for 100 days.
She said: “I was going to write it up and see how I felt. But within a week I felt so much better in my body that it became ‘oh I am definitely going to do this forever’ as my digestion immediately improved.”
The Vegan Society state that in 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation, meaning finding substitutes for your usual favourites should be a lot easier.
Things like replacing cows milk with oat, almond or soya milk; sunflower spreads instead of butter and cheese replacements made from cashew nuts or coconut oil.
The Vegan Society also found that the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, or 1.16 per cent of the population; 276,000 (0.46 per cent) in 2016; and 150,000 (0.25 per cent) in 2014.
Following their Veganuary experience, 47 per cent of respondents surveyed said that they are committing to staying vegan.
And 60 per cent of participants surveyed said the Veganuary challenge was easier than they had anticipated, and 51 per cent of those who decided to stay vegan say this decision was influenced by the discovery of great tasting food.
People's eeasons for taking part in 2019 included 46 per cent because of health, 34 per cent because of animals, and 12 per cent wanted to become vegan for the environment
Research, data and insight consultancy Kantar estimates 92 per cent of plant based meals consumed in the UK in 2018 were eaten by non-vegans, with approximately 22 million people now identifying as ‘flexitaria’.
Bex said: “Veganuary is definitely something I would try again, and I did take on a raw vegan food week last year. It’s good to keep challenging yourself.”
For more information on Veganuary and for recipe ideas, visit uk.veganuary.com