Hello, happy New Year and welcome to the first post of 2020!
January is here and that means that its time for #veganuary. For those of you that don't know, Veganuary, is a U.K based initiative that has spread globally to encourage people to go vegan for the month of January (we even have a South African Veganuary website!). The challenge was first started in 2014 and has since inspired and supported millions of people in over 178 countries worldwide to go vegan for the month - and beyond.
As this is the trending topic at the moment, I thought why not share a bit of information on veganism, my take on it and a couple tips and information to get you going. Enjoy!
What is Veganism?
Veganism is more than just about the food you eat. Yes, it is a large part of it, but there a lot more things that come with it. A lot of people mistaken veganism to be a diet, when in actual fact it is more of a lifestyle. Veganism is a way of life that looks to cause no harm, pain or suffering to animals and the planet. This means not eating meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey and other animal products, and rather eating a plant-based diet that consists of eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, legumes, nuts and seeds - all these foods contain the nutrients we need to fuel our bodies and achieve optimal health. Animal products such as leather and fur are also avoided, as well as animal tested cosmetics and household products.
The food we eat has major consequences on our environment. Meat and animals products are the cause of a lot of cruelty and suffering. Animals are beings, too, and they can feel pain and fear just as much as we do. Animal agriculture isn't just cruel to the animals being farmed, but to the planet as well. The industrial farming of animals causes massive amounts of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere, contributing to the warming of the planet and climate change. Animal agriculture is responsible for most of the deforestation of the Amazon as farmers need land to graze their cattle or grow the crops to feed their livestock. In fact an approximate 30% of Earth's landmass is used to raise animals for food. Ultimately animal agriculture is a massive cause of animal abuse and a huge contributor to climate change, which is why many people decide to vegan so that they can reduce their impact on the planet.
A vegan lifestyle is also linked to many health benefits, including heart health, reduced risk of heart disease and even certain cancers. And yes it is 100% possible to meet all your nutritional needs (and thrive) on a plant based diet!
For me, my transition to a vegan lifestyle was due to making an ethical choice and not wanting to be a part of the cause of pain, suffering and destruction to the animals and planet. But it really all started when I decided to reduce my consumption of plastic - you can read more about that here - and became more mindful of my choices and there impacts on the planet. For me being vegan doesn't just mean following a plant based diet or avoiding other animals products like leather and fur, because honestly you could be doing all that but still be causing a harsh impact on the planet. I like to look at the greater picture, and once you start looking you see that everything is connected and so even if you're buying beans and lentils instead of meat or eggs, if those beans come in a plastic packet they're still causing a negative impact to the planet. What about the way in which they were grown - pesticides, chemical fertiliser, monoculture and GMO all cause damage to the Earth. And how about where it was grown and who grew it? Most of our food is imported from all over the world so that we can have the luxury of eating whatever we want, whenever we want. Farm workers are often paid little, work long hours and wear little to no protection when exposed to the harsh chemicals of pesticides and fertilisers. By connecting the dots and not excluding or singling out areas or aspects of life we can live in a way that flows, works in harmony with the planet and supports life on Earth.
Make it Work for You
At the end of the day each and every one of us is different and unique. What might work for one person may not work for another, and the best thing you can do is make it work for you as that will be the most sustainable in the long run. You don't need to be perfect and you don't need to do everything. I know it can all sound a little daunting but take it at your pace and do what you can. Whether that's going all in or simply starting small, every action counts and the more you do it the more you'll begin to become aware of the other aspects. Its not about being vegan or being zero waste, its about living mindfully and being aware of your actions and their impacts so that you can make better choices that will benefit, instead of harm, the planet, the animals and the people.
I hope you found some value in this post and some insight. Please do try out the #veganuary challenge or even just start eating less animal products, more plants and just become more mindful of your choices.
Wishing you all a beautiful, joyous and abundant 2020 and a fabulous weekend ahead!
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