Why Try Veganuary 2020?

Next week, EC schools are hosting a vegan brunch to raise funds for those suffering the devastating effects of the recent Australian bush fires. Thankfully, we can report that all of our students learning English in Australia and our staff at EC Sydney, EC Melbourne, EC Gold Coast and EC Brisbane are safe and well. The theme of the brunch manages to raise an interesting topic of discussion, that of being vegan.

More than ever, veganism is hot on everyone’s lips. Gone are the days of people rolling their eyes at the mere mention of vegans. Brush-offs such as, “How do you know what a vegan looks like? Don’t worry they’ll tell you”, also seem to be a thing of the past. Freedom of choice, right? It begs the question,”why do people become vegan?” and “why is Veganuary such a big deal?”

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Why? The climate impact.

The most recent cause for the mass changeover to veganism is in an effort to combat climate change. We’ve all seen the growing frequency of natural disasters, from drought to flooding to fires, happening in greater frequency and increasing force across the world. There are several contributing factors to this but there is a belief, with lots of supporting scientific evidence, that a drastic reduction in meat production is one of the quickest and most effective solutions to this.

One of the key supporting arguments is that it takes 1,799 gallons/6,809 litres of water to produce 1lb/453g of beef, while it takes 302 gallons/1,143 litres water to produce 1lb/453g of tofu. Water being our most precious resource, and an exhaustible one, we need to do what we can to preserve it!

 

How? Easy does it…

As with any drastic diet shift, it’s important to do so gradually and mindfully. In general, it’s not recommended to just become vegan overnight, dropping all instances of meat, dairy, egg and other animal products from your diet. Primarily, because that’s not really realistic or sustainable. Secondly, because you’re more likely to fail and go back to your old eating habits. Instead try to cut your animal product intake to 3 days a week, then maybe only at weekends. Find the frequency that suits you and listen to your body.

Start by reducing how much meat you eat, then follow it with other products or however it feels right to you. Relax and take it step by step, perhaps looking at some online blogs such as Deliciously Ella and The Happy Pear for meal inspiration. Remember that you don’t need to be vegan 24/7 to make a difference. Living a vegan-inspired, or plant-based lifestyle already makes a huge difference.

Let’s talk about health, baby.

There has been significant research into the other benefits of a vegan or plant-based lifestyle. How it can be rich in nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and vitamin C and may even reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes as well as preventing further medical issues developing in those already suffering with it. It can also support better heart health by being naturally lower in cholesterol. A major point to consider here is that a vegan diet often needs to be supplemented with vitamin B12, an essential vitamin for blood and nerve health, and is one of the building blocks in DNA. B12 can only be found in animal food products or specially fortified grains so it is crucial to ensure the intake of this regardless of your diet preferences. Remember, you’ll be relying on that B12 bouncing around your body to keep you alert and focused in your English lessons too!

Basically, it’s conscious eating.

The most important takeaway here is to be aware and make conscious decisions. Maybe going entirely meat-free is too daunting, so instead try cutting back on meat, fish and poultry. Take it a day at a time. Reduce your intake of all animal products and start making your diet more plant-based. For many people, this is a more feasible and more accessible way to get on board the plant-based movement. After that, do your best to eat food that is locally sourced and unprocessed.

Conscious eating leads to responsible eating after all. So, maybe you continue eating meat but you no longer eat dairy. Maybe you eat dairy and honey but no longer eat eggs and meat. The idea is to think about where your food comes from, think about what is involved in making it and take it from there. Make informed decisions as all these factors are major considerations in the fight against climate change.

With all of this information at your disposal, perhaps consider organising a vegan brunch or dinner among your classmates. Having a theme can help bring people together with a common topic to discuss, while recipe research and sharing will open up much more vocabulary to you. So, wherever you’re studying English abroad, see what you can do and happy Veganuary!

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