Veganuary has been a bucking trend ever since its conception in 2014. The month-filled, lifestyle changing event is popular with people and businesses all over the world – with Chester a thriving part of that scene.
The many vegan restaurants and cafés as well as businesses selling an array of vegan-friendly products have enjoyed the extra attention that follows the trend. With the third lockdown coming into effect recently however, a lot of plans for Chester citizens have been disrupted in regards to what was once a joyful time of year for like-minded individuals.
Food establishments have also had to change their style of serving delicious delicacies since lockdown measures restrict sit-down restaurants from allowing customers to eat inside. Takeaways therefore have become the go-to for vegan restaurants in order for them to continue their trade in the city with people resorting to deliveries in place of eating in. There is plenty on offer with there being a vast amount of vegan dining options currently out there in Chester.
Although known more as just a ‘trend’ to many across social media, Veganuary is actually a non-profit organisation with the aim to encourage more and more people to try being vegan for one month out of the year (and possibly further into the future!) – with the end goal of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering, and improving people’s health. During last year’s campaign, more than 400,000 people took part according to the organisation whilst more than 600 brands, restaurants, and supermarkets followed suit with their products and services. For example, you may see advertisements from ASDA or Tesco with their range of vegan food or vegan sections conveniently popping up online at restaurants this time of year.
The event also coincides with typical New Year’s resolutions – eat healthily, get out more, reduce carbon footprint etc. Starting the year with Veganuary is a clever way to introduce yourself to these lifestyle changes, and by doing so will test your patience to see if you will actually stand by them come December. It also helps make us feel better psychologically as by knowing we are helping the environment, and also ourselves physically, our wellbeing benefits as a result. That is also the case with helping out local Chester eateries and other businesses during a time of such crisis as the pandemic. Knowing they are struggling financially, ordering a takeaway or buying a vegan product from them and continuing to do so can go a long way to helping them continue making a difference to Chester’s vibrant and distinct city atmosphere.
Veganism also brings about diversity when it comes to food. Many different people from many different backgrounds have been able to come to Chester and create their fantastic dishes for us all to enjoy. Lots of new ideas, strengths and interests that we may never have thought of when it comes to food can and has become reality since the growing popularity of veganism. Indian, Asian and European as well as plenty of other backgrounds get accounted for in Chester, bringing the outside world to our community in the form of glorious grub. Although veganism is centered mainly around food, this same point can also be highlighted for vegan products. Everyday items we may not take into consideration as well as some obvious items can be swapped out for vegan replacements if you are going all in with the lifestyle! Check to see if your shampoo and conditioner contain lecithin taken from animal or dairy sources, or your toothpaste contains glycerin usually taken from animal fats. Of course, make sure you shop for a replacement belt as most are made of leather from cows or a new pillow as some may still contain down feathers from birds.
With Veganuary being almost over, it may feel as if you have not fully experienced the true lifestyle of what it actually means to be vegan, or even a proper Veganuary month like in previous years, due to lockdown. Why not take it further and push yourself to try out the lifestyle when lockdown measures are lifted and eateries or businesses are finally able to re-open to the public? Having a conversation with a vegan business owner over their choices to open said business in the first place can be eye-opening, especially in Chester with its friendly environment and familiar faces. You never know, it may change your outlook on life or open you up to experiencing things you may never have beforehand!
Important reasons to try going vegan
Here are just a few of the compelling arguments put forward by authorities like The Vegan Society and PETA which form the basis for many people choose to become vegan or at the very least eat less meat which really does make more impact than you may think.
*Warning you may find some of the facts presented below in regards to the animals quite disturbing…
It saves money!
– Some believe that vegan food can be more expensive based on some dairy and meat substitutes however the reality is that the staples of vegetables and grains are incredibly affordable and those who eat meat spend a whopping £645 extra a year on food, compared to those on a meat-free diet.
– The Vegan Society help people transition to a vegan diet through their campaign ‘Live Vegan for Less’ by getting into good buying habits to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need on a budget with cost effective way to create delicious and nutritious vegan meals and cost comparison research highlighting powerful plant proteins that are the most affordable sources of protein on the market.
Your health and longevity
– Research demonstrates that vegans and vegetarians eating a balanced diet of of wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils and peas not only have longer life expectancies than meat-eaters, but they grow old with fewer health issues
– Countless studies have shown that vegans tend to weigh less and are less likely to suffer from common chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer due to the fact a balanced vegan diet is linked to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure and body mass index.
– Vegan diets have been linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes and there is much clinical evidence that they can help with the management of this type of diabetes
– An enormous amount of top athletes swear by vegan diets such as Venus Williams who took up a plant based diet after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, Lewis Hamilton in recognition that meat consumption creates an even bigger carbon footprint than racing Formula 1 and Carl Lewis as the winner of a 10 Olympic gold medals fueled purely on a plant based diet.
Environment and sustainability
– A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as it could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%
– Animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland – countries are bulldozing the equivalent of seven football fields of land every minute to make more room for animals and the crops to feed them
– Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon rainforest destruction
– If every family in the UK removed the meat from just one meal a week, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 16 million cars off the road and eating a plant based diet is 4 x more beneficial for the environment than recycling
– The fishing industry is responsible for half of all plastic in our oceans
– Raising animals for food produces billions of pounds of manure that ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water, along with the drugs and bacteria it contains for example a dairy farm with 2,500 cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people
– Scientists believe more than half of all wildlife could be extinct by 2020 due to land being cleared for animals to graze or grow feed for them making it one of the leading causes of modern species extinctions
Eradicating world hunger
– Humans around the world drink 5.2 billion gallons of water and eat 21 billion pounds of food each day whereas cows around the world drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day – nine times as much water and seven times as much food as all humans therefore if we just fed the humans the food directly there would be more than enough to go around
– We currently produce enough calories to feed 10-11 billion people worldwide however the majority of this food goes to feed livestock instead of hungry people
– The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people, more than the entire current human population of the Earth
– 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals who are then eaten by Western countries