The New Year can be the perfect time to look at your lifestyle and see if there are any changes you want to make. From completing Dry January to committing to 30 days of yoga, many people use the beginning of the year to refresh, reset, and embark on healthy habits.
Since 2014, a plant-based revolution has been taking place throughout January: Veganuary. If you’re wondering what the motivation behind going vegan for a month is, read on. Whether you’re taking part in Veganuary 2023 or you’re simply curious to learn more, our guide will help you understand the true meaning behind this meat-free month.
And don’t worry — going vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favourite chocolate treats! At Love Cocoa, we have a whole array of vegan chocolate gifts and nibbles.
What is Veganuary?
Every year, thousands of people decide that, for the month of January, they’ll live a plant-based lifestyle. That means no meat, dairy, or other animal products. But when did Veganuary begin?
Contrary to popular belief, veganism isn’t a new-fangled concept. Vegans have been around for centuries. When it comes to veganism as we know it now, the term “vegan” was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson. By taking the first three and last two letters of “vegetarian”, he created a word that encapsulated the core of the movement.
As a lifestyle choice, veganism has increased in popularity over the past couple of decades. Veganuary was launched in 2014, and it marked a significant turning point in society’s understanding of what veganism entails. Founded by Jane Land and Matthew Glover, the non-profit started as an awareness and promotion campaign that encouraged people to try veganism for a month at the start of the year.
Over the past nine years, more and more people have joined in. 2022 saw 629,000 participants sign up on the Veganuary website and take on the challenge. What started as a small UK campaign is now a worldwide movement that has encouraged businesses to launch new delicious vegan products and helped thousands of people enjoy tasty plant-based food.
Why do people sign up for Veganuary?
You might be wondering: what is the point of Veganuary? Well, people sign up for Veganuary for a whole range of reasons — and all are perfectly valid. It’s a great way to explore veganism in a manageable, incremental way. Some people may decide to continue a vegan lifestyle after January, while others might choose to go back to eating meat and dairy.
Often, the following reasons are at the heart of trying Veganuary.
Those who choose to try Veganuary for ethical reasons are primarily motivated by animal welfare. The movement enables them to show their commitment to ending the unnecessary suffering of animals and decreasing animal cruelty or exploitation.
Some people who try Veganuary might still decide to eat dairy or meat again once the month is up, but they may decide to choose products from local, more ethical farmers.
For others, veganism is seen as a way to reduce their environmental impact, as vegan diets tend to use fewer resources than diets that include animal products. Numerous studies indicate that committing to a vegan diet is one of the best things you can do for the planet. However, it’s vital to recognise that veganism isn’t automatically 100% green — some crops, like soybeans and palm oil, still take up a lot of resources.
So while veganism certainly does have a lower environmental impact than eating meat, dairy, and fish, it’s essential to choose your plant-based products carefully. Look for locally grown produce where possible — you could even try growing your own salad and vegetables.
When buying ready-made vegan items, try to find environmentally-conscious manufacturers. At Love Cocoa, we plant one tree for every product we sell in a bid to not only minimise our negative impact on the planet but to have a positive one. By planting trees, we’re also supporting local cocoa farming communities to use more sustainable production techniques.
Some people might decide to try Veganuary for health reasons. Whether it’s to cut down on meat consumption or combine plant-based meals with an exercise programme to lose weight, a vegan lifestyle certainly brings some clear health benefits.
A balanced vegan diet typically includes a higher number of fruit and veg portions than an omnivorous one. This means it should contain more fibre and micronutrients. The key word here, of course, is “balanced”. It’s easy to become a junk food vegan, too! If you’re tempted to try Veganuary for health reasons, it’s important to avoid the temptation of living off processed meat alternatives.
But if you focus on vibrant plant-based foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, you can give your immune system a boost and help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, many people find their health improves.
If you feel stuck in a food rut, trying Veganuary can be a great way to get out of your usual meal patterns. If you’re worried a meat and dairy-free month will be boring, think again!
Plant-based food can be packed full of flavour, colour, and texture. From juicy jackfruit tacos and scrambled tofu to delicious dark chocolate brimming with nuanced cocoa notes, a vegan diet can open up opportunities to explore new treats.
Shake up your breakfast, lunch, and dinner with exciting vegan recipes, and you might just find you don’t miss animal products at all!
The bottom line
Ultimately, Veganuary is about trying something new and challenging habits to reduce your intake of animal products. Perhaps you’ve always felt a little uncomfortable about eating meat and dairy, but it’s all you've ever known. Maybe you want to increase your vegetable intake but are used to cooking the same weekday meals, or you’re worried about your carbon footprint. Or maybe you simply want to challenge yourself to do something new.
Either way, committing to 31 days of veganism could be a great movement to try. And remember — if you don’t make it all the way through January without a bite of dairy or meat, that’s okay! Try not to punish yourself or feel that you’ve failed. If your end goal is to lower your animal product intake, then any reduction is positive.
Enjoy delicious vegan chocolate treats with Love Cocoa
At Love Cocoa, we believe that vegan chocolate can be just as delicious as its dairy counterpart. Ethics and sustainability are at the centre of our business model — from our Plant a Tree Project to our plastic-free packaging.
We’re proud to offer a range of vegan-friendly gifts and nibbles that will delight the taste buds with as little harm to the planet as possible. So whether you’re embarking on Veganuary 2023 yourself or you want to surprise a loved one with a plant-based gift, take a look at our delectable vegan chocolate range.