We are fast approaching the last week of January, and those of us who pledged to lead a healthier life this month, are almost at the end of what I’m sure has been a treacherous journey.
Although gym memberships and Dry January have become commonplace among those of us trying to recreate ourselves in January- a new trend has reared its head this year, and some people are attempting to go vegan for an entire month.
Whether this a New Year’s resolution or just an attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle- over 120,000 people, according to the Veganuary campaign, have signed up to stay meat and dairy free this month.
Vegan blogger, Hannah Chapman, has a huge online presence posting what she eats on a daily basis. As well as tips on becoming a vegan and staying healthy as one.
The 19-year-old student at the University of Birmingham has been vegan for two years and was vegetarian prior to this.
“I used to think that veganism was extreme and weird, but once I’d had my eyes opened to the cruelty in the milk and egg industry I soon decided I didn’t want to be part of that either.
“Even a couple of years ago it was much less common to be vegan and it was more difficult in my opinion, so it has been great seeing the growth of it recently.”
Hannah believes that going vegan even for one month can have a huge effect on the environment as well as your individual health.
Hannah would encourage anyone else to attempt to go vegan- even just for a short time.
“I think Veganuary is great. Any people choosing non-animal products, even just once or for a period of time, brings benefits to both the planet and to the animals. It also spreads the message about veganism and normalises the word ‘vegan’.
“It makes people more open-minded and more open to considering it as they see it as more ‘normal’! Lastly, it increases the demand for vegan products and means that lots of restaurants and stores release more vegan options, which is not only a benefit for vegans but also again to the environment and to the animals.”
Cutting out animal products for a month can have many potential health benefits, including positive effects on blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as potential weight loss after a few weeks, according to nutritionist Lily Soutter.
However, being a vegan is still not commonplace and starting to cut out animal products can be a major lifestyle change for beginners.
Hannah believes that although it’s difficult to adjust when you first begin, over time it becomes easier to maintain a vegan lifestyle.
“Once you know what you’re looking for in labels, you know where to go for food, you know the vegan options in restaurants/shops etc., it’s so easy. But this is a lot to take in at first!
“As I said though, it’s only getting easier and easier to go vegan in general as it becomes more common and mainstream.
“Although there is some way to come, in terms of vegan food being readily available in all walks of life, there have been huge increases in vegan cafés and restaurants in recent years.
“I do think there are enough options in general, but I obviously wouldn’t say no to more! On the whole though, in the UK we are very lucky and there is generally plenty o f opportunities for vegan food.’”
Follow Hannah on Instagram on @vegan.han and www.vegan.han.wordpress.com