What Is Veganuary? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

If you have a friend who is vegan – or even if you don’t – it’s likely you’ve heard of Veganuary. In case the name didn’t give it away, it’s where you commit to going vegan for the month of January.

Like Dry July or Sober October, except this time you’re giving up animal products and byproducts. Started in 2014, more than one million people worldwide have taken part. In fact, already 260,000 people have signed up to do it in January 2021.

“The Veganuary challenge has become an increasingly popular trend to kick-start the new year with healthier and more conscious dietary choices,” says nutritionist Jennifer Murrant from Healthy Luxe.

Outside of Veganuary, new research shows that 12.1% of the Australian population have taken up a vegetarian diet. And 500,000 Aussies have fully embraced veganism.

If you’re wondering how you can take part in Veganuary, The Latch has a few tips for you – nutritionist-approved:

Why you should try Veganuary

Murrant emphasised just how good plant-based foods are for your body: “[They] contain a wide range of nutrients, including essential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.”

And if you’re asking exactly what that means for your body? “[These nutrients] have an important role in nourishing the mind and body as well as reducing inflammation, one of the major factors in disease processes.”

Oh, and one more perk of Veganuary – your gut will thank you for it. “Plant-based foods are also usually rich in dietary fibre which promotes gut health,” said Murrant.

The science behind Veganuary

Not only is veganism nutritionist-approved – it’s science approved.

A 2019 study found that foods associated with improved health – including wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil – also tended to have among the lowest impact on the environment.

In fact, the study found that these foods are associated with significantly reduced mortality. Additional, they can reduce the risk for certain diseases, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Easy Veganuary wins

Now that we’ve covered why you should Veganuary a shot, here’s how to do it:

Start with simple swaps. If you have a smoothie for breakfast each day, replace dairy milk with oat or almond milk. Same goes for your morning (…and afternoon) coffee.

Check out the fresh food section in your local supermarket. Summer fruits are some of the best fruit – load up on mangoes, pineapples, cherries, bananas, lychees, watermelon and more.

Make some big summer salads. And don’t forget to include avocadoes, tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, cucumber, celery and other seasonal produce. Make that salad bowl as colourful as possible.

Make lentils your go-to meat substitute. Cook them with some spices (we’re talking chilli flakes, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and of course, garlic) and you won’t even miss meat!

Vegan Australia has some great tips as well for going vegan (whether permanently or for the month of January), including nutrition tips and delicious recipes.

And if you’re worried committing to Veganuary means a long-month of meal prepping, MyProtein has a list of Australia vegan hotspots – from health-food shops to vegan cafes and restaurants.

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