Written by Grace Evans
With the “FEAST-ive” season behind us and the dawn of a new decade, it’s time to take on challenges with an exuberance for positive change, looking after ourselves and the world that we live in.
Although it may initially be difficult to break through those holiday habits, taking on a challenge like Veganuary might just be the kickstart to setting the stage for those happy 2020 health decisions in a realistic and inspiring way.
Since 2014, Veganuary has inspired and supported more than half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan for the month of January. They have worked with businesses to drive up vegan food provision in shops and restaurants, and have made eating plant-based more visible and accessible through their work with national and international media.
For me, the idea of taking a more plant-based approach is of course intimidating, as it naturally compels one to reconsider a wide range of daily dietary intake and explore nutrition in a totally different way. Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives that have become widely available for making the adjustment and simple switches just might make a seemingly daunting task actually quite doable.
There are science-backed benefits of opting for a plant-based lifestyle as well. Researchers have found that a healthy plant-based diet increases our intake of nutrients, reduces the risk of kidney failure, helps avoid some cancers, helps reduce symptoms of arthritis, lowers the risk of developing heart disease, has weight-loss benefits, improves physical fitness levels, lowers cholesterol and lowers your chance of getting Type II diabetes by 50-78%.
For someone like myself who eats fish and some dairy from time to time; the idea of labelling something “vegan” to a non-vegan, can feel discouraging and even make me hit the off switch in my mind, sometimes finding it difficult to talk about. When I really think about it, I do believe that taking on a challenge like this is not intended to make me or anyone else feel guilty or like less of a human for not being as dedicated to a plant-based diet, but rather to remember that everyone is on a unique nutritional journey, that is extremely individual. In saying that, I do think that making well-researched and educated choices with awareness is a way for us to encourage one another to make better decisions for our health and our planet.
I’m going to embrace Veganuary one day at a time, avoid overwhelming thoughts of committing to a full lifetime of Veganism, as the idea can be daunting and discouraging. Instead, maintaining a lighter outlook on the challenge by encouraging myself one small decision at a time and eventually, it will become second nature.
There’s no denying that our food system needs a drastic makeover and remaining kind to yourself and others is the key to transformation. Leave the internal conflict in 2019 and simply commit to doing the best for your health, your children and our world. Have fun, it’s going to be a delicious adventure at the least and you may just inspire those around you with how fabulous you will look and feel by simply including more plants in your diet.
Through continued research and guidance, one can embrace this challenge in well-being, compassion and environmental activism without becoming despondent. As creatures of habit, I believe that this is a perfect way to kick-off the New Year in a healthier motion, getting into a mindful and body conscious groove to keep on being your best throughout the year.
For more tips, recipes and restaurants visit the Veganuary website.
About the author:
Ola, I’m Grace! I was born & bred an eco-warrior, and have now become part of the Happy Earth People family. With holistic happiness as my focus, I find myself constantly chasing the stoke – leaving no time for anything short of optimism. Although totally ambitious, I find it difficult to sum myself up in a paragraph. So, here’s a few words that highlight a few codes I live by;
Intentional-love; consciousness; sunshine; stoke; fun and friends, loyalty, compassion, beach; tea-parties, and as much time in nature action as I can get
Through the gentle guidance of my team, I find myself on a daily journey of environmental awareness and conscious consumption.