January is, without a doubt, the month where people make lofty attempts to better themselves. For much of the country, this means quitting drinking. But for many others, it means going to the gym, packing in smoking or making concerted efforts to be a cooler/nicer/more patient person who is less prone to flying off the handle in public spaces.
But this is 2018 and there’s a new self-improvement kick on the block: veganism. This year, people are taking part in Veganuary (it’s actually an established charity, FYI), which challenges meat-eaters to go vegan for 31 days.
We are now halfway through January, so if you’ve ditched meat for the month you may be experiencing pangs of temptation. But do not fear! We’re here to help you make this the best Veganuary ever by giving you tips on remaining meat-less until February 1. Here are a few things to remember.
A lot of Your Faves are Vegan Anyway
We’ve got Ummah in our name. A lot of our readers are Muslim. Much of the cuisine associated with our faith hails from the Middle East or what history books call the Levant. We’re talking hummus, falafel, couscous, tabbouleh, dates (obviously dates) – all that good stuff that is all vegan.
Vegan food is halal by default, so we reckon a lot of you guys are pretty familiar with it. Ditching meat in January isn’t hard when the alternative isn’t something you’d avoid any other month of the year. Put on your game face, struggling January vegan: you’re not doing anything that out of the ordinary.
It’s Good for You
What’s that you say? Ditching XL kofta kebabs and 2pc chicken and chips meals in favour of leafy greens, pulses and fruit is good for you? We’re shocked, too. But don’t take our word for it, let’s refer to the experts at the British Dietetic Association. According to the BDA, ‘well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages.’
If you’re currently feeling like something deep-fried and decidedly meaty, just remember the good you’re doing to your body by avoiding it for a month.
You’re Helping the Environment
We get it. It’s almost three weeks into January. Your new year veganism is starting to drag and the mere mention of the word ‘Nando’s’ makes you salivate. What could possibly stop you from giving into temptation now? How about saving the planet.
In the last few years, the environmental impact of going vegan has become a big talking point, largely thanks to a few very emosh documentaries on Netflix.
However, there is concrete science to make up the claim that no meat = happy earth. According to George C. Wang, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center: ‘Emissions from the production of beef and lamb are 250 times higher than those from legumes, per gram of protein, and pork and poultry are 40 times higher than legumes.’
On top of this: ‘A large amount of methane and nitrous oxide, gases that are more than 20 times and 250 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, are generated through livestock-raising activities.’
By eating less meat, you help to minimise your contribution to these emissions. Remember that when you’re next jonesing for a halal buttermilk chicken burger.
It Might Improve Your Cooking Skills
Unless you’re happy to eat hummus and chips for the month, going vegan will probably encourage you to experiment in the kitchen. Why not make hummus out of black beans? Why not carve up a pumpkin and make a curry (as a bonus, pumpkins were one of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) favourite foods)? Why not deep fry kale (yeah, why not)!?
So go crazy in the kitchen. At the very least, making ambitious vegan food will probably keep you distracted until February.