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Veganuary: What’s All The Fuss About? Three Big Reasons To Go Vegan

Amidst the chorus of New Year resolutions, one challenge has stood the test of time: Veganuary. The non-profit organisation founded the global movement ten years ago to make veganism the norm rather than the exception.

Millions of people from 228 countries have made the month-long pledge to try a plant-based diet this January. While many people have rallied behind the movement, there may be some of you asking: what’s all the fuss about?

Unsurprisingly, many of us at Filling Good are on board with veganism. After chatting with our members, volunteers and customers, we’ve determined three reasons for being vegan - animal welfare, improving health and protecting the planet.

1 - Animal Welfare: The Cruelty-Free Choice

Loving animals certainly makes it less tempting to eat them. That’s why many vegans opt out of consuming animal products entirely (yes, including eggs and cheese).

Many fast-food giants like McDonald’s paint an ideal picture of where their meat comes from. Their ads show happy cows roaming wide open fields. In reality, around 85% of the UK’s farmed land animals live in factory farms. Animals live in cramped, overcrowded conditions with a lack of environmental enrichment, poor hygiene standards and low animal welfare.

In the case of chickens, hundreds of thousands of birds live in one barn with a space smaller than an A4 sheet of paper to themselves. Due to poor ventilation, these crowded barns are hot - especially in summer. In the UK heatwave of summer 2022, millions of chickens died as temperatures in sheds reached 45C. Horrific practices like debeaking and tail docking are also common.

But, what about free-range farms?

Unfortunately, free-range is a misleading term. Free-range chickens are also housed in crowded barns with around nine birds per square metre. As The Guardian put it: “That’s like 14 adults living in a one-room flat.” And, while these birds technically have access to the outdoors, it’s often through one door at the end of the barn, which some of them may never reach due to the overcrowding.

It’s a similar tale with pigs. Outdoor-reared pigs will still spend half of their lives indoors, with the outdoor space being little more than a concrete courtyard. An industry loophole means outdoor pigs need only be born outside for them to be sold as such. They are often brought inside within the first four weeks of being born.

From a vegan perspective, the reason for adopting this lifestyle is simple. We should stop regarding animals as disposable commodities.

2 - Health: Nourishing Your Body

It’s no secret eating more vegetables is good for your health. That’s why a vegan diet is cited as healthier since cutting out meat and dairy will naturally lead people to pile their plates with veg.

Many report having more energy and an overall improved sense of well-being after going vegan. And, according to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are at a reduced risk of certain health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

A plant-based diet low in saturated fats and rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds (all of which you can find package-free at Filling Good), is better for your cholesterol and glucose control. These help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Important note: vegans must get enough vitamin B-12 through supplements or fortified foods!

What about protein? Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the most hotly debated topic in veganism.

Getting enough protein on a vegan diet is not the mystery many claim it to be. Tofu, beans, lentils, soya, nutritional yeast, quinoa and nuts are just some of the many sources of protein available to vegans. Check out Peta’s comprehensive list of their top ten vegan proteins for more inspiration.

Like any diet, for veganism to be healthy, it must be balanced.

As veganism has grown in popularity, so has the number of alternatives. We’ve got milk alternatives galore, fake meats, dairy-free cheeses and even egg replacements. It’s never been easier to swap your usual food shop items for vegan alternatives.

Eating these alternatives comes with a word of warning. They are often highly processed. Just because something is labelled vegan doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy. Always check the ingredients and nutritional content.

3 - The Planet: Reducing Environmental Impact

As environmentalists, we are well-versed in the impact our food has on the planet. We know that eating seasonally, locally grown, organic food is the best option for supporting biodiversity and minimising the effects of climate change.

We also know that eating this way isn’t always accessible for everyone.

The good news is a recent study found that eating a vegan diet massively reduces the damage to the environment caused by food production. In other words, what you eat is more important than where your food comes from. You could buy all your products from the other side of the world covered in plastic packaging so long as they were vegan (although, we wouldn’t encourage you to do so). The lowest-impact meat (organic pork) is responsible for eight times more climate damage than the highest-impact plant (oilseed).

These statistics are fantastic motivation for aspiring vegans to not only take on the Veganuary challenge (it’s not too late to start) but to continue beyond the end of the month. The animal agricultural industry cannot continue on its current trajectory. But by wielding the power at the end of our forks, we can help reduce the demand for meat and watch the industry shrink.

No matter why you decide to go vegan, for the animals, your health or the planet, the positive impact of this simple behavioural change is huge. Even swapping one meal a day for a 100% plant-based alternative can help.

If you’re still curious and have more questions, why not pop in-store and ask our friendly team of volunteers for their vegan tips and tricks? They can also show you all of our lovely vegan, plastic-free products.



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