I’ve read multiple articles recently referring to Veganuary* as ‘the latest trend’, ‘a celebrity fad’, ‘great for a New Year detox’ etc. This irritates me for obvious reasons, and in honour of my fourth year of Veganuary, I felt compelled to delve into this further.
I think Veganuary is a fantastic campaign, and a fantastic charity. We’re all aware that we should be reducing our meat consumption, therefore focusing on more plant-based foods. We know that eating vegan is a great way to address animal welfare and environmental issues (climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and saving water to name a few).
What I do have an issue with is extremist propaganda (ahemmm the What the Health documentary) and the claims that following a plant-based diet will automatically lead to weight loss and a variety of perceived health benefits. I could write a whole post about What the Health**, but I’ll save that for another time!
So, why am I partaking in Veganuary?
I’m not a vegan, but over the past four years I have considerably reduced my animal product consumption; I don’t eat dairy, and in general I eat meat once or twice per week. I say in general because over the Christmas period, I definitely did not adhere to this!
The reasons behind reducing my animal product consumption are predominantly all those that I mentioned above, plus the fact that cutting out dairy has significantly improved my eczema. Also, 95% of my favourite foods are vegan which definitely helps!
I am NOT taking part in Veganuary as a form of ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxing’ my body, and I don’t approve of Veganuary being labelled a fad regime. Detoxing, of course, is a scam…and it’s a scam which should not be linked to veganism.
To clarify, I’m not claiming that the health benefits of eating vegan are redundant, in fact quite the opposite – the fact that cutting out (some) animal products has improved a skin condition that I have suffered from since birth definitely highlights this! My point is that a vegan meal is not necessarily a healthier option. There are healthy and unhealthy approaches to a vegan diet, just like every. single. other. diet.
There are PLENTY of compelling reasons not to eat animal products but using Veganuary as a ‘detox’ is absolutely not one of them.
*Veganuary is a non-profit organisation encouraging people to follow a vegan diet throughout the month of January.
**What the Health is a Netflix documentary promoting a vegan diet. I’ve watched some compelling documentaries on veganism and vegetarianism, but this documentary is full of inaccuracies, questionable claims and pseudo-science.