As New Year resolutions go, how about considering going healthy and vegan? It’s Veganuary — Vegan January — after all.
By definition, veganism is the practice of having a minimal lifestyle which is cruelty free, and negates all forms of animal exploitation. This way of living once used to be very rare, niche and unpopular, but lately, it has gone quite mainstream, which is a good sign because it tends towards the betterment of the planet, despite the diet behind the practice being quite rigorous, complicated and restrictive, especially when suitable vegan alternatives aren’t readily available.
With the growth in popularity of this particular lifestyle and knowing its positive impacts on the environment, there are multiple attempts by various organisations to help people adapt to this particular lifestyle. One of those is Veganuary.
Veganuary was launched in India in 2019. It is a non-profit organisation that provides encouragement to people to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, thus improving the health of millions of people. But their core motive comes from the campaign that takes place in the month of January. This campaign that was started on 9th January 2021 urges people to try to adopt a vegan lifestyle for 31 days, throughout the month of January.
The global pledge to try vegan for 31 days was born in 2014 and is now observed in over 200 countries all across the globe. Through Veganuary, India joined this pledge, in partnership with the Ahimsa trust, and is now a part of the campaign hub along with the UK, USA, Germany, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
Declaring the #Veganuary2022 campaign open, actor and Veganuary Ambassador Soundarya Sharma said, “In these testing times, eating vegan is the best way to take care of yourself and your family. If all Indians adopt a plant-based diet, we will be healthier and reduce national mortality by 23 percent. Shifting to a vegan diet is also the single biggest way to address the climate emergency, as it helps cut your carbon footprint by up to 73 percent.”
Delhi-based culinary authority Chef Suvir Saran also joined Veganuary to raise awareness. He is the culinary director of Cold Love artisanal ice-creams. Apart from this, he has authored three cookbooks — Indian Home Cooking, America Masala and Masala Farm. His expertise, style and experience have helped him earn an Michelin star for an Indian restaurant in the US. Not only this. but his recipes, locations and writings have made their way to popular publications.
“Indian cuisine is full of flavours and our masalas are legendary around the world. We use a wide array of veg, grains, legumes, pulses, fruits, herbs and aromatics in our cooking, which are rich sources of nourishment for the mind, body and soul. I use food as a bridge to bring people and groups together. I am very happy to associate with Veganuary and share some of my favourite plant-based recipes with my fellow participants of Veganuary 2022. I hope they will warm your hearts and win your minds into adopting a fulfilling plant-based lifestyle,” says Chef Suvir.
Apart from Chef Suvir, this campaign was joined by other multiple well-known faces and celebrities as well. Mountaineer and long-time vegan Kuntal Joisher, actor Sneha Ullal, singer Anushka Manchanda, actor Sadaa Sayed, actor and pro 3×3 basketballer Arvind Krishna and pro tennis player Vishwajeet Sangle have all joined the star cast of Veganuary Ambassadors, with heartfelt messages of encouragement for people to try vegan.
Prashanth Vishwanath, Country Manager for Veganuary in India said, “Our health and the climate emergency are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. One way to address both is eating vegan. Indians have shown great interest in plant-based nutrition in recent years. We are thrilled to officially launch Veganuary in India and help people explore this interest. Signing up to Veganuary makes transitioning to vegan much easier as our free pledge is full of helpful tips, advice, and useful material.”
There is also a complimentary cookbook for those signing up for Veganuary. Sneha Ullal, who has donated her favourite recipe — Tofu Makhani — to the cookbook, says, “I don’t need animals harmed to live my life. Veganism is that simple.”
The voices given to this campaign scream of the kind of success that it turned out to be. To prove so, a recent survey states that 82 percent of the participants of the Veganuary 31-day challenge who were initially never vegan played a dramatically high role in reducing the overall consumption of animal-based products, six months after completing the challenge. 30 percent of the participants also converted to a fully vegan diet. 49 percent of those participants reported developing an increase in energy levels whereas 46 percent reported of an improved mood and 38 percent reported of a betterment in their skin quality.
Despite veganism being frequently practised on an individual level, Veganuary is one of those rare organisations who have contributed to the reduction of animal cruelty in India on a much bigger platform. It has voiced out the concerns on a much larger level and has attracted a large audience, all for a good cause. “We are the culture that gave the world Ahimsa. The planet, with all its beings, needs us to practice it now more than ever. Together, we have the power to bring positive change. Try vegan today,” concludes Anushka Manchanda.
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