01 January 2019
For us, January is all about starting afresh, setting new resolutions, eating healthily, giving up alcohol, committing to do more exercise and getting fit. January also sees those following a vegan diet, highlighting its benefits and encouraging us to try Veganuary.
Care for the environment?
Putting it simply, as the name suggests Veganuary is all about giving up animal products – but for a change, this isn’t so much about you, but about hugely benefitting the environment. During your vegan journey, you will probably get to try some new foods and recipes which may also make you feel better and have health benefits, but predominately it’s about the positive impacts on the environment.
Did you know, by reducing your animal product consumption you can help save the planet? This is because eating a plant-based diet can cut our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution and water usage, prevent deforestation and save wild animals from extinction.
14.5% of all greenhouse emissions result from farmed animals – i.e. those bred to feed humans – which is more than the emissions from every car, plane, truck and train! Furthermore, farmed animals produce nitrous oxide which is 300 times more toxic than CO2 and it has a warming effect on the planet.
A lot of land is required to produce the food for farmed animals to eat, which means as the population expands, more forests (which absorb CO2) are being destroyed, leaving less land for endangered species.
We all know how important fresh water is to life, and if the animal story hasn’t convinced you to try vegan yet, perhaps this will.
Going vegan will increase supplies of fresh water too. Does this seem a little obscure? Producing meat, eggs and dairy is thirsty work! The crops need water, the animals need water and then water is needed for production. If we just grow crops, the water requirements reduce hugely, leaving us and the environment with plenty of fresh water.
Still finding it hard to put your finger on how much of a difference you could make by giving Veganuary a go? Here’s 3 examples:
500 grams of beef requires 9000 litres of water;
500 grams of potato requires 60 litres of water;
500 grams of rice requires 229 litres of water.
Pretty shocking, isn’t it?
Graphic from Veganuary.com
For more benefits and reasons to try Veganuary, visit their website.
But how hard is it to become vegan?
To answer this question, we thought we’d take the opportunity to try some vegan recipes…
When we think about giving up meat, one of the first very popular meals that come to mind is a delicious burger, so we thought we would try an alternative and picked this Vegan Burger recipe by Jamie OIiver. Our verdict – It was easy to make and only took about 10 minutes. We cooked it on our table top grill and used the Judge Mini Chopper to blitz the ingredients. If we made it again, we would be more generous with the spices. It made 4 tasty burgers.
Soup is another UK favourite, used as an entrée for a gathering of friends and family or as a lunchtime snack. There are numerous vegan soup recipes, we plumped for a Pea and Mint Soup with Flatbreads rather than bread rolls. We think this would make a lovely starter for a dinner party. We tested this recipe from Healthy Nibbles and we used the Stellar Stick Blender to blitz.
We created our own recipe for the Flat Breads, which was a 50:50 mix of flour and yogurt. Here it is:
Makes 12 flat breads
350g of self-raising flour
350g of vegan yogurt
A teaspoon of baking powder
Simply mix together and knead. Divide the mixture into 12 and roll on a flowered surface to about 3-4 mm thick. Then using a hot griddle (we used the square Stellar 6000), grill for 1-2 mins on each side. It was lovely to watch them rise and bubble on the griddle!
To add a little flavour, we also made a garlic and herb oil which we brushed on to the cooked flatbreads and quickly seared in the flavour for a further 30 seconds on the hot grill.
Our verdict on Veganuary – It seems mad not to give it a go. Maybe total vegan is too much for some, but why not try a couple of days a week and see how it goes, and then add another. Every small change for us is a huge improvement for the environment.