Have you been wanting to try a vegan diet, but been afraid to commit to the all-encompassing lifestyle that comes with it? We might be a third of the way into January, but here’s what the popular initiative known as “Veganuary” is all about…
What is Veganuary?
January never fails to share with us a fair share of ‘new year, new me’ inspiration and for some, this extends to their food philosophies too. If you’re not yet in the know, Veganuary is a UK-based non-profit organisation that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January – and hopefully beyond – as a way to promote and educate a vegan lifestyle.
The vision and purpose
The Veganuary initiative began in 2014, and participation has more than doubled each year. During the 2019 campaign, more than a quarter of a million people worldwide took the pledge to try a vegan diet.
The team at Veganuary focuses on more than just one month of veganism. They want to encourage people, restaurants and businesses to move toward a plant-based diet as a broader statement. The aim of this statement is to convey opinions on protecting the environment, to decrease the amount of animal suffering and hopefully improve the overall health of those who take part.
It is this pervasive influence that is causing more and more brands, restaurants and supermarkets to promote the campaign by launching new vegan products and menus.
Veganuary in South Africa
The last couple of years have seen an immense interest and increase in veganism in South Africa.
The vegan scene is gaining lots of momentum and Johannesburg recently came in at number 10 in the World’s top 50 most vegan-friendly cities (after New York, Athens, Orlando, Florence, Venice, London, Amsterdam, Phuket and Dublin which took the number one spot).
Some of our favourite plant-based spots in South Africa include:
The country’s first Vegan & Plant Powered Show looks set to bring in the crowds when it opens at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 30 & 32 May 2020.
Capsicum Culinary Studios, SA’s largest culinary school is also incorporating vegan dishes into its teaching programme as part of their healthy-eating syllabus.
Although a vegan diet has a lot of benefits, it can be limited due to the fact that it cuts out entire food groups. But a vegan diet can be 100% healthy if managed correctly. Paying special attention to getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins the body needs is vitally important.
Ideally, a vegan diet should consist mostly of plant-based whole foods. This includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Healthy vegan diets are saturated with vitamins B1, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron. Because of this, they can also be low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
But, if not followed properly, a vegan diet can also result in a high-fat diet full of kilojoule-dense foods. This could cause many health problems. Indeed, vegan junk food and treats are on the rise and are a massive draw card for people who worry about veganism having ‘no variety’.
It’s important to be mindful when following a vegan diet.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet or exercise plan, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
Compiled by Features Writer, Andrea Cresswell