Time to say no to that steakhouse dinner – It’s Veganuary. As one might be able to tell, Veganuary is a word made up of two separate words: ‘vegan’ and ‘January’.
It’s a global movement that encourages people all over the world to exclude any forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, entertainment, or any other purpose for the entire month of January.
Yes, that means even products like fish, honey, milk, and buying leather goods are out of bounds for about 30 days.
Some people live a vegan lifestyle, and Veganuary is just right for those who want to try being vegan, or fancy themselves a challenge.
Why would anyone want to live with this much restriction for their entire lives, let alone 30 days? Well, there are a number of reasons why someone might choose to follow a vegan lifestyle.
Some people adopt veganism for health reasons, as plant-based diets have been shown to have numerous health benefits. Others may choose veganism for ethical reasons to reduce animal suffering.
Some people may also be motivated by environmental concerns, as animal agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.
Ultimately, the goal of veganism is to live in a way that causes the least harm possible to animals and the planet.
In the spirit of Veganuary, let’s take a closer look at eight interesting facts about all things vegan:
Veganism isn’t a new concept
Contrary to popular belief, veganism is not a modern-day manifestation of liberal 'wokeness'. Can you believe it?
Veganism is often perceived as a trend or a new fad. But the concept of veganism has actually been around for decades, maybe even longer.
In fact, the term ‘vegan’ was coined in 1944 by one Donald Watson, who is also the co-founder of the Vegan Society in the United Kingdom.
While the popularity of veganism has certainly risen in recent years, it is important to recognize that it is not a new concept, but rather a long-standing philosophy and way of life for many individuals.
The United Kingdom has the most number of vegans
Throw a stone in the street and you might just hit a vegan.
The country has a bustling vegan population – which explains the thriving businesses of plant-based restaurants and grocery stores.
In 2014, the Vegan Society estimated that as many as 150,000 people in the UK were vegans. Fast forward to 2019, the numbers have multiplied, and now, there are over 600,000 vegans in the country.
Not every vegan is a health nut
While it is true that many people choose to follow a vegan lifestyle for health reasons, others may be motivated by environmental or ethical concerns.
Some vegans may not prioritize their health and may still consume unhealthy foods and drinks, just as non-vegans do. Oreos are a notoriously popular snack in the vegan community for non-health junkies.
It’s all about balance.
Vegans usually need a B12 supplement
We say ‘usually’ because it depends on how they’re approaching their vegan diet.
Vitamin B12 can be found in fortified foods like nutritional yeast, plant milks, and even cereal, but it is found primarily in animal products like meat and dairy.
Since vegans do not consume animal-derived foods, they are at risk of developing a B12 deficiency if they do not get the nutrient from consuming enough B12-fortified foods or a supplement.
A supplement is generally recommended for those with a vegan diet as B12 is an essential nutrient that is important for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as the production of red blood cells.
It’s the diet with the least carbon footprint
A vegan diet has the potential to have the lowest carbon footprint compared to all other dietary patterns.
The explanation for this is that animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture requires heaps of water, land, and animal feed. In fact, half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture and raising livestock.
In comparison, plant-based foods have a much lower environmental impact and – it’s a whopping 73% reduction. A vegan diet takes up fewer natural resources to produce and is generally less damaging to the environment, which is a win in the battle against climate change.
Protein deficiency? Doesn’t happen
Vegans probably get mocked for being protein deficient all the time. But did you know that protein is actually much easier to obtain than one might think?
The main sources of protein are through foods like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu. There’s also increasingly more types of plant-based milks with protein in them such as soy, pea, or hemp.
With careful planning and a varied diet, it is highly possible for vegans to get all the nutrients they need, including protein, to maintain good health.
Need eggs for baking? Here’s aquafaba
It seems that almost all baking recipes on this planet list ‘egg’ as an ingredient. Does this mean vegans can’t have any baked goods? This is where the amazing ingredient of aquafaba comes in.
All you have to get is a can of chickpeas – more specifically, the liquid that comes with the chickpeas. Then, get to whipping until it becomes white with a thick consistency.
Aquafaba is a popular vegan alternative to eggs in baking recipes. Aquafaba has a consistency similar to egg whites and can be used as a replacement for eggs in a variety of recipes, including meringues, cakes, and even mayonnaise.
It might not give the exact texture or effect as eggs in all recipes, but it is a great option for those following a vegan diet (or even those with an egg allergy).
Now that you’ve learned more about being vegan…
Will you be joining in on the movement this January?
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