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What Is Veganuary, and Why Are So Many People Doing It?

One nonprofit organization is encouraging people worldwide to go vegan during the month of January.

It's officially 2019, and that means New Year's resolutions are in full swing. American resolutions oftentimes pertain to diet, whether it be, "I want to lose 10 pounds by March," or something more long-term such as, "I want to eat better so I can live longer." Maybe you even considered overhauling completely and going vegan in 2019? Or, even less daunting, just for the month of January? Veganuary is the nonprofit organization spearheading such lifestyle change. This charity is encouraging people worldwide to, yes, go vegan during the first month of the year. The organization's end goal, of course, is to help people make the switch to an all-vegan diet permanently.

Have we piqued your interest? Well, read on to see what Veganuary is all about.

What is Veganuary?

The team at Veganuary is educating people about how adopting a vegan lifestyle can improve personal health as well as help to sustain our environment. Changing your diet is not an easy task, which is why the organization's team of experts provide those who want to make this change with plenty of help to make the transition as painless as possible. Such tools include meal plans and recipe guides, as well as nutrition tips and other recommendations. The organization even has a book out called, "How to Go Vegan: the Why, the How, and Everything You Need to Make Going Vegan Easy," which is an even more in-depth resource. 

What are some of the reasons people are doing it?

Research says people are motivated to adopt a vegan diet—or at least try it out—for primarily three reasons.

"Going vegan is important for many different reasons, but according to our research, the top three reasons participants take the Veganuary pledge are for personal health, animal welfare, and the environment," says Veganuary CEO Simon Winch. "Eating vegan is a great way to improve energy and vitality, halve your dietary greenhouse gas emissions, and address animal agriculture—which is one of the biggest contributors to climate change."

Winch says that Veganuary is expecting over 300,000 people from around the world to participate in this year's challenge. Other survey results showed that 62 percent of respondents said they intended to continue following a vegan lifestyle after January, too. Another 82 percent said going vegan was not as difficult as they anticipated.

What exactly does going vegan entail?

In case you need a refresher, there is a difference between vegan and vegetarian. According to the Vegan Society, "Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose." A vegetarian, on the other hand, avoids eating animals, but may still opt for their by-products such as eggs, milk, and cheese.

What are the health benefits of going vegan?

Sharon Palmer, RDN and founder of the food blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian advises that there is research on how switching to a vegan diet is linked to a decreased risk of chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, to name a few. Palmer says this is because, "a vegan diet is rich in all of the 'good' stuff like vitamins, minerals, fibers, healthy fats, and antioxidants, and low in all of the things we must watch out for, such as saturated fat, cholesterol, and toxins related to the processing of meats." 

OK, so how can I start?

You can take the pledge on the Veganuary site so you can kick-off this new journey. Who knows: you might decide to keep it up long past this month!

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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