23rd January 2019

As the end of January approaches, so does the end of 'Veganuary'. Launched in January 2014, 'Veganuary' encourages people to make a pledge at the start of the year and become vegan for the month. 'Veganuary' has become a New Year's resolution for many and on 30 December alone, an estimated 14,000 people signed up for 2019's pledge. With benefits to the environment, animal welfare and nutrition; vegan, vegetarian and reduced meat diets continue to increase in popularity. More meal options at restaurants and plant based alternatives in supermarkets are making it cheaper and easier than ever to adopt a vegan diet.

The current meat based food system accounts for more than a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, of which 80% is attributed to livestock production. A plant based diet can have huge savings on the amount of CO2 emitted. A 2016 study at the Oxford Martin School's Future of Food programme, tried to quantify the environmental benefits if the global population became vegetarian by 2050. The results indicated that if the world's diet changed veggie, food related emissions would drop by 60% - mainly due to the elimination of red meat consumption. And if the world were to go vegan, food related emissions would drop by 70%!

Whilst a vegan diet is not for everyone, if we all reduced our meat and dairy consumption by a little, there would be huge benefits to our health and that of the planet. So if you are looking for ways to eat less meat and diary, here are our top tips for upping the veggies and reducing meat consumption.

  • Meat Free Days; make small changes to get used to eating less meat. When starting out, try only eating meat on the weekend, or when you go out for a meal. Adopting a 'flexitarian' diet can help make the transition to a plant based diet easier. The Meat Free Monday's website has lots of tips and recipes for cutting out meat one day a week.
  • Spices; vegan and vegetarian food doesn't need to be bland. Adding colourful spices and zesty flavours can liven up veggies and keep recipes exciting. Curries are a great way to use up leftover veg and introduce new flavours to your cooking. Make them extra creamy, but still vegan, by adding coconut milk or vegan plain yogurt.
  • Variety; making sure you choose a variety of flavours and textures for your meals will keep things interesting. Planning meals will help introduce variety and getting inspiration from a different cuisines will show you how diverse a plant based diet can be. To help you plan, each week we publish what is anticipated to be in the Lee Green's veg bags. At the start of the week head to the Lee Greens website to see what veggie treats will be with you.
  • Maybe it's already vegan; you don't have to completely restrict what you eat. When you start looking it's amazing how many products are already vegan. Veganuary has listed the UK's 'Accidentally Vegan' products on its website - who knew gravy granules are meat free!