Thinking about going vegan? Why not try Veganuary? The charitable initiative is designed to help those thinking about becoming vegan give the lifestyle a try.

Founded in 2014, the thinking is that since so many people are making resolutions anyway, January is a great time to go vegan.

However, by committing to just a month at first, Veganuary is designed to be slightly easier than a normal New Year’s Resolution.

In 2016, 22,951 people took part in Veganuary. The charity also sent surveys to each of these people to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how veganism in the 21st Century looks. Some of the insights from this survey are quite surprising:

  • Veganism is primarily a youthful movement – only 22 percent of those who signed up for Veganuary were older than 45 and 59 percent were under 34.
  • Similarly, vegan lifestyles are predominantly adopted by women – 87 percent of those who signed up for Veganuary were women.
  • Animal rights are the main motivation for vegans – 54 percent of those who took part in Veganuary said animal welfare was their motivation. 33 percent were interested in the health benefits. Finally, a measly 13 percent were becoming vegan for the environmental benefit.
  • Veganuary really works – only 4 percent of those who took part outright said they wouldn’t continue with a vegan lifestyle.
  • Cheese is what people struggle with most – quite a fun takeaway here. According to the analysts who examined the Veganuary data, the one thing people missed and struggled to avoid being tempted by was cheese.

Safe to say, that’s a lot of interesting insight about veganism in the 21st Century. But how will 2018 shape up for vegans?

Is 2018 going to be the year of the vegan?

According to new data from GlobalData, 2018 really could be the best year yet for vegans.

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Of course, one of the biggest challenges for vegans is lack of understanding from non-vegans. However, this new data shows that more people than ever are becoming vegan. In the USA, around 1 percent of people said they were vegan as of 2014. In 2017, that figure was 5.5 percent. The UK also saw its number of vegans increase from 0.4 percent to around 3 percent.

Yes, this still means that vegans make up a tiny minority. However, veganism has a lot of momentum so you’re more likely to find fellow vegans than ever. Plus, cynical omnivores are gaining more exposure to veganism than ever before. Hopefully this may result in less criticism of the lifestyle.

In addition, growing numbers of vegans forces businesses to take note. More popularity ensures that there’s more healthy competition between brands, which may push prices down for vegans. Even if not, more demand means more businesses rising to meet it.

Happy Cow, a database of vegan shops, restaurants, and other eating establishments lists 62,851 locations worldwide where vegans can enjoy a nice meal. And those are just the ones people have listed. In London alone there are 767 places in a ten mile radius of the city centre.

Plus, there’s even ways the tech-revolutionary is helping vegans, according to GlobalData analyst, Ronan Stafford:

“The ability to check menus online makes it easy to find vegan-friendly restaurants. Online grocery shopping means vegans can find the right products without having to spend hours lost in supermarkets checking every label. And ingredient box delivery services such as Hello Fresh and Gousto are making it easier to cook impressive vegan meals at home by delivering ingredients to subscribers’ doors.”

Things to consider

While going vegan is a great choice for many, it isn’t for everyone. It’s important to note that veganism isn’t always inherently healthier than an omnivorous diet. Of course, a vegan diet certainly can be a healthier choice but adherents need to be sensible in their eating choices. Vegan junk food is still rife.

In addition, a study commissioned by the Humane Research Council in 2014 showed vegans who gave up the diet normally did so due to concerns about nutrition.

Plus, there are mental health concerns too. A study from the University of Bristol in the UK found vegans are vegetarians and vegans are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression. This is due to a vegan diet lacking vitamin B12.

This vitamin is only found in meats. This vitamin is important in the production of certain brain chemicals. As such, many consider there to be a link between mental illness and low vitamin B levels. The vitamin is available as a supplement. For those considering veganism, it is vital to get vitamin B12 for good mental health.

Finally, it’s important to remain respectful of others who continue to eat meat. Especially if you want to convince them to try veganism in future. One study found that 26 percent of people are put off adopting a vegan lifestyle by “the attitude of certain vegetarians/vegans”.

Veganism is a fundamentally a lifestyle choice like any other. As such, it’s best to thoroughly research it before getting involved. A trial period like Veganuary might be just the thing…