Written by: Tammy-Lynn McNabb, Registered Holistic Nutrition Coach
Since 2014, Veganuary has inspired and supported more than half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan for January – and beyond.
During the 2019 campaign, more than a quarter of a million people took the pledge to try a vegan diet, while more than 500 brands, restaurants and supermarkets promoted the campaign.
Throughout the year, Veganuary encourages and supports people and businesses alike to move to a plant-based diet as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering and improving the health of millions of people.
What does it mean to be vegan? The eating routine of a vegan omits all animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey. The focus of a vegan diet turns to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy like tofu, edamame and tempeh. Vegan eating could lead to weight loss and overall improved health. Most vegans turn to a vegan lifestyle because of their concerns about animal welfare and the environment.
Diving right into a vegan diet without proper preparation has its risks, so be sure to research and prepare for this change, which should include meeting with your doctor. It’s a very rigid diet that can be healthy, but an unprepared participant could be at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
One of the main concerns of a vegan diet is the risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies. Participants also need to be aware of their calcium and protein intake. A true vegan takes a lot of time preparing and planning for their vegan lifestyle.
Another option in Veganuary is to consciously focus on incorporating more plant-based alternatives into your diet. You can start with meatless Mondays; try vegan a couple of days a week, or cut our red meat and focus on more seafood.
Consider adding healthy plant-based fats into your diet like flaxseed oil and hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids. They are also an excellent protein source and contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc. It’s as easy as sprinkling hemp seeds on some of your meals or using a high temp flaxseed oil for cooking your foods.
Whatever you choose, January is a great time to incorporate new and healthy options into your daily menu.