So 2019 is here and we’ve already kick started it with a new fitness challenge! Or is it more than just a fitness challenge?
The real question is, how long is #Veganuary actually going to last for the 170,000 people involved in it this year.
WHAT IS VEGANUARY?
#Veganuary is a movement, charity and ‘challenge’ that promotes people to try a vegan lifestyle for the whole of January as one of their New Years Resolution. It’s vision is a world where Veganism is a mainstream lifestyle choice, which is promoted positively by society and government. For some people, myself included, only heard of this challenge this year even though it was launched in 2014. The website Veganuary.com is the largest website dedicated to all things vegan, providing people with recipes, expert advice and information. It is very clear that this movement has amazing success each year in a very short space of time.
WHY CHOOSE VEGANISM??
Its undeniable that Veganism is becoming a more and more popular lifestyle to choose. But why do people choose it? And who chooses it… Are there any external influences that sway people’s minds from meat… to salad and tofu? So there are some obvious reasons why people do choose to go vegan. Some of these include:
The Health Benefits
- It is healthier for your organs. It is argued that certain meats, especially red meats, contain elements that increase your cholesterol and blood pressure. A Vegan diet would therefore help to reduce your cholesterol, blood pressure and also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cancer.
- It can help you lose excess body fat. There have been studies conducted in America where they compare a Vegan diet with a calorie restricted one to see which diet helps you lose the most weight. Participants on the Vegan diet actually lost more weight than the ones on the calorie restricted one – even when there was no restriction on how much the vegan dieters ate. “Vegan diets have a natural tendency to reduce your calorie intake. This makes them effective at promoting weight loss without the need to actively focus on cutting calories.”
- A Vegan diet is richer in certain nutrients. Veganism takes the form of whole foods, replacing meat with vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
- It can reduce the pain of Arthritis. Strangely enough, it has been found that probiotic-rich, raw food vegan diet can help the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lowers Carbon Foot Print. Meat production requires a vast amount of energy in order to cater for the demand. As well as livestock consuming more protein, water and food than they produce.
- Preserve’s Habitats and Species. According to ‘OpenLander’ eating animals is the largest contributing factor to the extinction of animals and species.
- Saves Water. “The production of plant-based foods is a more efficient use of our resources, as it requires less energy from fossil fuels as well as less land and water”.
‘Meat is gross’
- Meat is not environmentally friendly. Meat production is wasteful and causes lots of pollution.
- Meat is dirty. Most meat is actually contaminated with feces, blood and other bodily fluid, making it potentially extremely dangerous.
- Vegan food is delicious. Although most people think vegan food is boring and plain, the common misconception is that a vegan diet consists purely of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. With the rise in Veganism, there has also been an increase in companies producing meat alternatives. You can still have a burger, or bangers and mash, but just without the ‘dirty meat’.
IS IT SUSTAINABLE OR JUST A SOCIAL MEDIA TREND?
Clearly there are a lot of benefits for undertaking this diet & lifestyle, but how sustainable actually is it for the many people getting involved this year? From the statistics shown above (given by ‘Veganuary.com’) it shows that the majority of people doing Veganuary are between 18-34. This may raise the question whether this age group are being more heavily influenced to go vegan due to the impact of social media. On social media, there are so many people promoting this vegan lifestyle, and many of which are either celebrities or influencers. Some go so far to bombarding their audience on their Instagram stories and with twitter rants, giving information about the cruelty on animals and how the lifestyle is so much better than any other.
Although this is a good platform to get more information out there about Veganism and to help reduce stereotypes and prejudice on the lifestyle, there are some obvious negatives with it. With many influencers promoting it and constantly bringing it up on social media, it can lead to their followers becoming vegan as they are swayed by their favourite influencers decision.
Why wouldn’t they?
Their audience get influenced by the way they dress, how they edit a photo, they’re ‘daily morning routine’ and even ‘what I eat in a day’. All of these posts or Youtube video’s these influencers produce help to shape and change the attitudes of their audience to be similar to theirs. The issue is when this bombarding becomes more forceful and makes people feel that being vegan is the only way. Obviously putting information out there for people to read and understand is a positive to our society, but we all know how powerful influencer marketing can be and how many people one person can influence. For example, the recent outrage about Gregg’s coming out with a vegan sausage roll left many people confused and angry, but also so many people were happy and said it tasted better than the original.
Greggs haven’t had to spend a penny on marketing.
— Joe Deverdics (@Cleverdics) January 3, 2019
Nonetheless, a Vegan lifestyle can be sustainable for many people if its what they choose to do for them. The independent in 2018 stated that over 3.5 million people in the UK are living on a plant-based diet.
OVERALL – What I think…
I think that Veganism is a very positive lifestyle that many people should adopt. However, my argument is that it’s all in moderation. I believe that if someone is Vegan, that they shouldn’t force their views on someone else. I also believe that if everyone just did something to help cut down on animal products consumed then it would help insane amounts. For example, if you started to cut out dairy, or if you say you’ll only eat red meat once a week. Little changes like this can help our environment and our sustainability for the future.
“The good news is, if you’re a vegan who follows a fundamentally plant-based diet, you’re probably already eating more sustainably than you think. Adopting a diet based around whole foods such as beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables brings along with it a ton of positive health benefits. This includes everything from speeding up the metabolism to reducing inflammation and fighting heart disease.”
Quote from ‘Blue & Green’
The point is, if you start introducing parts of a plat-based diet, you will reap the benefits.
Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for next week’s blog post! Keep up to date with my socials: