Veganuary Is the New Dry January
Keep your red wine and give up red meat instead.
Dry January isn't everyone's cup of tea. But if you can't imagine kicking off 2020 without making a *big* change, here's another way to spend your January: Veganuary.
As the name implies, Veganuary is "a non-profit organization that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond." (Related: What's the Difference Between a Plant-Based Diet and a Vegan Diet?)
Wendy Matthews, the program's U.S. director, told The Washington Post that, last year, nearly half of those who made the pledge for January said they planned to continue eating vegan afterward. (No word on how many of them were vegan to begin with, though.)
Originally launched in 2014, Veganuary says 2019 was its most successful year yet, with "more than a quarter of a million people [taking] our pledge to try a vegan diet." But Veganuary is also a U.K.-registered charity—and if you want to promote a vegan lifestyle, you have to spread your message beyond a couple of islands hidden somewhere above France.
So last year, the charity sent out an American press release proclaiming that the concept was "gaining momentum" as it "expands across the pond." And this year, it launched a campaign in the U.S. for the first time, enlisting "Hollywood A-listers"—specifically Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone, Mayim Bialik, and Evanna Lynch—to back the movement. (For the record, Lynch is Irish, but don't let that stop you from giving up meat!) Veganuary is even promising its first-ever U.S. television ad and has released a trailer to raise money.
For its efforts, Veganuary hopes to increase its numbers again this year to 350,000 participants—though the organization admitted to the Post that only about 65,000 people have signed up. Still, the non-profit thinks that number will increase once the new year gets closer and people start thinking more about their resolutions. (Try these five steps to ease into a vegan diet.)
"If you look at the climate crisis or the violence of our food system and feel helpless, thinking 'I wish there was something I could do'—you can. Right now," said Joaquin Phoenix. Come on! Would the Joker lead you astray?!
Meanwhile, if you're looking for 31 days of vegan recipes, we got that covered for you, no Veganuary required.
This story originally appeared on FoodandWine.com by Mike Pomranz.