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The Best of Veganuary
As Veganuary comes to a close for 2018, the annual celebration of all things plant-based has once again shone a much-needed light on the rise of veganism in the UK. Sophie Rae shares her thoughts on the month gone by...
While the nation waits for the final figures to be confirmed, an estimated 150,000 have cut animal products from their diet in January. Now whether you joined in with the challenge for health, ethical or environmental reasons, one thing has become clear; the nation’s food, beauty and fashion landscapes have stepped up to deliver inspiring and exciting alternatives.
As a conscious consumer (I’m by no means perfect, but then who is?), I’ve witnessed first-hand the formidable rise in products flooding our supermarkets, online retail sites and the high street. My inbox is filled daily with press releases that highlight the drastic change in the thinking of the giant corporate world; CEOs who are finally listening to the passionate few who are imploring for change. No longer does the word ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ insight a sneer and immediate association with beige, bland food, hippies or hemp clothing (side note: I love hemp – a sustainable wonder crop that competes with cotton for breathable, beautiful fabric). Instead these words have been revolutionised to channel images of vitality, health and wellbeing; an ethically minded consumer has now become the topic du jour.
More than our culinary choices – of which there is an abundance – our growing plant-based lifestyles have turned our attention to how we dress and care for our bodies; from the beauty products we apply to our skin, to the jewellery we absentmindedly put on each morning. Now I can’t help but question: is the first natural? Is the latter ethical? What cost has my purchase had on my health, and the health of the planet? Has the grower, gatherer or maker been paid a wage I deem fair?
In an unstable political climate that makes many of us fearful to check the news, choosing to vote with our hard-earned pound feels empowering. Where we choose to spend our wage – be it on fair trade cooperatives, sustainable initiatives or businesses who hold their ethics as high as our own – it’s never too late to join in and support a vision for a bountiful planet, that will thrive and flourish under our care.
Truth be told, I used to be one of those who doubted ‘what can one person do?’, defeated by the challenges ahead, which did little for the fear I felt for humanity as a whole. Now, through education, research and a hunger to know more, I’m infinitely inspired for our future. From the highest powers of government to the smallest pockets of community across the globe, 2018 is looking to be the year where our collective cry for change creates a wave of awakening.
So whether you deemed Veganuary a success or not, February is a new month, and a new chapter. Cut yourself some slack and start small. Try reducing your meat intake, look for delicious alternatives to dairy, and stop to think if you really need yet another pair of jeans, that will inevitably end up in landfill by next January.
If you’re looking to stay on track (or start afresh!), below are some of the brands that we love at Veggie. Share with us your favourite brands by connecting with us across social media; you can find us at @VeggieMagazine.
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