Das Titelbild zur Veganuary Challenge 2023 im WingGuard Magazin zeigt eine Scheibe auf die mit Kreidefarbe die Worte 100% vegan geschrieben wurden.

Veganuary - Your challenge at the start of the year

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At the end of last year we briefly introduced you to the Veganuary Challenge in our article “ 5 Ideas for Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions ”. Time to take a closer look at what is behind it and what you can achieve through a vegan lifestyle.

a group of young people sitting together and talking. You only see their bodies and gestures.

Veganuary - What's that again?

The Veganuary is made up of the English words “vegan” and “January”, i.e. vegan January. Behind this is a worldwide campaign that aims to motivate people to try a purely plant-based diet for a month. The whole thing is initiated by the non-profit organization of the same name, which has its roots in Great Britain. Since 2020 there has also been an official, annual Veganuary campaign in Germany.

The idea for the Veganuary came about in 2014 when married couple Jane and Matthew Glover decided to start a vegan New Year's Pledge and do something good: save animal life while taking the pressure off the planet. At that time, several thousand English people took part in the challenge. In the meantime, the number of participants has increased to several hundred thousand people worldwide. Even large and small companies as well as well-known celebrities are now joining the movement, which is taking place for the tenth time this year.

Blonde woman in blue dress stroking the head of a cow looking through a wooden fence.

One month vegan - does that have any effect at all?

The answer is very clear: Yes! Your good New Year's resolution brings several good things with it. A vegan diet can not only have a beneficial effect on your health, but also reduces the suffering of many animals and makes a positive contribution to climate and environmental protection.

For example, about half of all participants in the Veganuary Challenge 2022 reported having more energy and a generally better mood after a vegan month. Up to 40% even reported positive changes in body weight and complexion.

But it gets even more impressive when you see what the Veganuary has done for animals and the environment so far. As a rule, animal products cause almost twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as plant-based foods. However, since the Challenge began, almost two million people have taken part in the Veganuary, saving a CO₂ equivalent equivalent to more than one million flights between Munich and Paris. In addition, 6.7 million fewer animals suffered for our food and an estimated 12.4 million liters of water were saved in total.

Young people sitting at the table with a colorful vegan meal in front of them.

You should pay attention to this during the challenge

As with any diet change, it's important to make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs. Therefore, make sure that you take enough vitamins (especially vitamin D and B12) and that your need for proteins, iron and other important nutrients such as calcium, iodine and zinc is covered. If you are unsure about this, you can of course find out more on the internet, but you can also contact your family doctor confidentially.

But beware: veganism is not suitable for everyone. People with certain diseases, allergies or intolerances can find it difficult to eat healthy with purely plant-based foods. If you still want to participate in the Veganuary Challenge, there is a way you can do so anyway. Instead of a vegan diet, opt for a vegan lifestyle and when buying body care products or clothing, make sure that they do not contain any animal ingredients or materials.

Young people sit together at a large wooden table with various dishes and hand each other a cheese platter.

Challenges of a vegan lifestyle

The most important thing at the end: Nobody is perfect!

In the 2022 Veganuary survey, about a quarter of respondents reported that their biggest challenges were eating out and interacting with friends and family. It may have happened to you and you found out afterwards that the product you bought wasn't vegan at all. Or you used milk chocolate out of habit, or maybe you deliberately chose a non-vegan dish because you didn’t feel like discussing it that day. This has certainly happened to everyone and does not disqualify you from the challenge. So no reason to put yourself under pressure or to judge yourself.

Ultimately, it is not a few perfect vegans that make the difference, but many people who strive for a lifestyle that is as vegan as possible.