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Veganuary: All about the biggest annual vegan campaign in January

This January people are trying out veganism as a 31 day challenge.

Peanut curd rice recipe is a popular alternative for the popular curd rice. (Wikimedia Commons)
Peanut curd rice recipe is a popular alternative for the popular curd rice. (Wikimedia Commons)

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There is a lot of noise about ‘dry January’, but have you heard of the ‘Veganuary’ campaign? While some abstain from alcohol in the first month of the year to set health goals, some also try out a new life choice: veganism. Instead of imposing veganism as a mandate, this campaign invites you to give it a try for a month and adopt it if works.

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According to Vegan Society, the oldest vegan organisation in the world, veganism is “the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” To get people talking about this concept, armed with knowledge and not misinformation, UK-based Jane Land and Matthew Glover started Veganuary, a non-profit organisation  in 2014. This online campaign has gained huge momentum in the last decade. In 2015, around 12,000 people signed up for it. Last year, more than 620,000 people took the pledge, according to the official website, Veganuary. The massive rise in number comes at a time when there is increasing awareness about the importance of a plant-based diet and it's impact on the environment.

According to the campaign, Veganuary advocates for a move towards more plant-based alternatives because “the current way we produce food is highly inefficient, unsustainable and won’t allow us to feed a growing global population.”

The campaigners also acknowledge the need to make plant-based foods more visible, tasty, and accessible. While people are often divided about veganism, there is a lack of in-depth conversations about it. Veganuary is a month-long initiative focused on engaging people in discussions about veganism and the benefits of plant-based eating, especially in the countries they work in, which includes India.

Popular singer, Anushka Manchanda, actor Monica Dogra, and professional tennis player, Vishwajeet Sangle are among the Indian ambassadors. More than 70 brands in India have also joined the Veganuary campaign this year, including Nature’s Basket, BigBasket, Epigamia, and Baskin Robins.

To reach more people and start more conversations about plant-based diets, the Veganuary team aim to expand to 10 million participants by the 2027 campaign.

Their website has many recipes and a guide to make the Veganuary challenge easier. However, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist before making dramatic dietary changes.

If you are considering taking part in Veganuary, here is some easy but delicious options.

Sabudana kheer

This popular sweet can be a vegan delight with a small change: use coconut milk. The process remains the same: heat the milk while continuously stirring it, and when it comes to a boil, add in the soaked (at least three hours) sabudana pearls along with three tablespoons of sugar, sliced almonds and pistachios, and one-fourth spoon of cardamom powder. Simmer for about three minutes and enjoy!


Peanut curd rice

For many from South India, curd rice is more than food, it’s a blend of feelings: comfort, home, and love. You can set a small cup of peanut milk with green chillis and viola, you will have peanut curd. Now, mix it with rice, add the seasoning, and let the comfort sink in.

Tofu burji

It's difficult to stick to any big lifestyle changes in the mornings. So, keep it simple and instead of using eggs for burji, use tofu. The process and every other ingredient remain the same. Just crumble some tofu instead of breaking the eggs and eat it with your toast.

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