If the world went vegan, food related emissions would drop by 70% by 2050.
Whilst it’s unrealistic to think that we will live in a fully vegan society any time soon, there are small changes that everyone can make to positively impact the environment. There are plenty of gradual changes which everyone can make, which don’t mean giving up the foods that you love. Could veganuary be the perfect time for you to try something new?
Reducing meat intake
Being mindful of your meat intake doesn’t mean missing out on protein. Not only can you get the same amount of protein from things like legumes, tofu and meat substitutes, but they’re also lower in cholesterol and saturated fat. This makes the veg option better for your health as well as for the planet. However, this doesn’t mean missing out on your favourite meals, as they can always be recreated and adapted in a creative and new way to not need meat. Some great examples of this are Cauliflower steaks, jackfruit tacos, chickpea tuna and mushroom bolognese.
However, if this sounds too much of a drastic change, the quality and availability of meat substitutes has increased significantly over the last few years. It’s getting more and more difficult to tell meat substitutes from actual meat, and they can easily be switched into meals you already love. Some our recommendations are beyond burgers, Tesco’s wicked kitchen, Sainsbury’s plant pioneers and this isn’t products. Companies like ‘this isn’t are also trying to positively impact the environment beyond their substitutes, with their packaging using less than 90% plastic. By supporting eco-conscious food suppliers you are subsequently also supporting eco conscious practices.
Giving dairy alternatives a go
Plant milks have been increasing in popularity with both meat eaters and vegans. According to research from Mintel, a quarter of Brits have made the switch to plant based alternatives. There is a wide range to choose from now including Soya, almond, coconut and the most popular, oat.
This is a tiny change which will have a huge impact, as a study by Oxford University in 2018 said that it produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions to produce a glass of cows milk than it does plant milk and uses nine times the amount of land. With many omnivores favouring the taste of oat milk in their coffee to cow’s milk, surely its worth giving it a go this veganuary.
Supporting sustainable business’
If cooking vegan food at home feels intimidating, why not give it a go when eating out this January? Many restaurants that you already know and love have brilliant vegan options, with Wagamama’s boasting a menu which is 50% plant based and Frankie & Benny’s having 30 vegan options on their menu.
One step better than this is trying something new and visiting plant-based restaurants. This means that you are supporting the continuation and expansion of eco friendly practices. Your town probably has tons of independent options making unique dishes, but some places with multiple locations include Vurger who do brilliant burgers and milkshakes, Purezza who create authentic Italian vegan pizza and What the Pitta for loaded vegan doner.
Finding what works for you
If turning completely vegan for the month feels like a drastic lifestyle change, try using veganuary as an opportunity to experiment with the ideas mentioned in this article. Give new products and new restaurants a go, see whether going a few days meat free or ditching cow’s milk in your coffee is a realistic and sustainable change for you. It’s all about finding eco-friendly practices which work in your life, because it’s better to make small but permanent changes than to be vegan for a week and give up. If you’ve ever thought to yourself ‘I could be vegan, but I like eggs too much’ then be vegan and carry on eating eggs. There’s no rulebook when it comes to living sustainably and there’s no shame in trying your best and treating yourself to that one thing you can’t give up. Treat Veganuary as an opportunity to experiment, get creative with food and try new things which will have a positive impact.