What will you have on your plate this Veganuary?
The Christmas holidays can be a time of excess for many who are celebrating in the UK, but is going vegan the new trend in January? Veganuary, an organisation on a mission to get us to ditch the Turkey sandwiches for plant based options.
There are many reasons that people go vegan, the first often being the animal welfare crisis of the over-burdened meat, dairy and egg industries. However, as the threat of climate change increases, people are now choosing meatless diets to save the planet too. In fact the demand for vegan alternatives is increasing yearly with major supermarkets such as Aldi and Sainsburys stocking their shelves with new plant-based products.
A plant-based diet has a considerably lower carbon footprint than that of the average meat eater’s diet mainly due to the amount of energy used to produce animal feed, transportation and operating machinery. An average meat consumer’s diet is estimated to produce 7.2kg of carbon dioxide per day whereas a vegan diet is around 2.9kg. Over the course of a year that is a staggering difference of 1569.5kg. If all of Manchester’s residents chose a vegan diet it would save 831,835 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Yet the environmental impact of producing meat products is much more complex. Deforestation to grow soya to feed animals prevents the uptake of carbon dioxide as well as causing habitat loss for wildlife. Meat production also requires huge amounts of water putting pressure on resources around the world.
When taking action on climate change, we all have choices we can make to reduce our impact. You may feel that becoming vegan is too drastic, but there is no doubt that we need to consider the food we buy as part of our efforts for a sustainable future. There is still time to sign up to Veganuary via their website www.veganuary.com which is full of tips, recipes and facts. If you are not ready to take the plunge then why not start by pledging to go meat free on Mondays this year? This is a great way to try new recipes and keep an eye on your weekly meat purchases. You can learn more and sign up via their website: www.meatfreemondays.com/get-involved. If you still need further encouragement then check out Sir Paul McCartney’s video below filmed for COP21.
Many chain restaurants now offer tasty vegan options too, again due to increasing consumer demand. However, Manchester has a wonderful variety of restaurants dedicated to offering customers nothing but high quality vegetarian / vegan dishes. V Revolution has been a popular city centre venue for vegan fast food for years and 1847 is known for it’s fine dining experience. Bundobust is one of the newest places in the centre and offers a range of Indian dishes that would please any carnivore. The Real Junk Food Project, which opened on Oxford Street in 2018 offers vegan options daily from delicious produce destined for landfill. These are only a few of the great places within the city!
So Manchester is indeed embracing plant power! What will be on your plate this January?