No meat for a month?

Looking at some reasons why people cut out meat during January and how you can try it too.

Vegan food on a plate

Veganuary started as concept in 2014, as a way to promote the idea of consuming no animal-based products throughout the month of January. Since then the movement has grown rapidly and 580,000 people pledged to try vegan through the 2021 campaign. It has been so successful, ‘Veganuary’ has not only become a term that many of us are familiar with, but it has also now become a non-profit organisation, encouraging and supporting people and businesses to move to plant-based diets.

There are many reasons why people want to reduce their meat consumption as explained by the Vegan Society; health reasons, compassion for animals or concerns about the environmental impact. According to Ecowatch, a staggering 57% of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture and their Veganuary article explains that the potential impact of the 2022 Veganuary campaign could save the equivalent of 62,304 tons of CO2 emissions.

The Climate Change Committee has recommended a 20% shift away from all meat and dairy by 2030 (rising to 35% by 2050) in order for the UK to meet net zero carbon targets.

You might think that veganism is difficult to adopt or perhaps that it is too expensive, this BBC video clip explains vegan food shopping from a student’s perspective. Once you have become more aware of what you are buying, it becomes much easier to know what to look out for, what to avoid and how to shop on budget.

Going vegan might seem a little too hardcore for you, that’s ok – trying a vegetarian diet for a month is a great step too. The Vegetarian Society provides lots of recipes, hints and tips to help you.

And for those who aren’t quite ready to commit to completely abstaining from eating meat; you can still feel good about adopting a flexitarian diet. A flexitarian diet is primarily plant-based but with small amounts of meat & dairy. It is a casual approach to vegetarianism and allows animal products to be consumed in moderation; even aiming for 2-3 meat free days a week can be a great place to start. The Proveg UK website provides free online programmes and recipes tailored to your preferences.

If you’re ready to give it a try - there’s loads of online resources to help you along the way, such as this handy restaurant finder from Happycow, and of course our Union venues have vegetarian options listed on their menus.

SOS-UK have produced this Response to Students Calling For More Sustainable Food Sold And Served On UK Campuses, your Union venues are striving to deliver on the recommendations where possible, such as stocking Fairtrade Tea and coffee, sourcing from local suppliers where possible and providing a wide range of vegan and vegetarian options.

If you’re looking for help and support closer to home, why not check out our very own Vegan & Vegetarian Society?

Are you ready to try the Veganuary challenge?


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