Veganuary 2023: Sustainability starts on our plates
6 minute read
As we welcome in a whole new year, here at Hyundai we are reflecting and recommitting to our sustainability goals. Every year, our aim is to get a little closer to an emission-free and healthier world, a world in which every choice is the result of a sustainable mindset. If you want to start the new year in a good way and contribute to this vision, then why not do your bit for the planet starting with what you put onto your plate? Here’s everything you need to know about Veganuary and how to get involved!
What is Veganuary?
As the name suggests, Veganuary is a campaign that invites people to go vegan during January. First launched in 2015, the idea was conceived by Jane Land and Matthew Glover in the UK and quickly gained momentum, with more than 620,000 people signing up across the world in 2022. Today, the namesake NGO is committed to raising awareness about the benefits of plant-based eating to make it more and more accessible for everyone around the world.
The recipe is quite simple – for 31 days, you commit to a vegan diet. No meat, fish, dairy products… In other words, no animal products, including eggs and honey. While it might not be easy for many, fully committing to eating and cooking plant-based food can bring great benefits both to your health and the planet.
Why has it become so popular in
With the global population growing at an unprecedented rate and the climate crisis affecting our lives to greater extents, more and more people have been questioning the way we produce food, from consumers to researchers, to economists and environmental activists.
The growing attention to sustainability has led to more people taking up vegetarian and vegan diets, as industrial-scale animal farming is a leading driver of climate change, deforestation, and species loss, as well as being a significant cause of pollution. What’s more, the way that we currently produce food uses finite resources (water, air, soil) without replenishing them, resulting in highly unsustainable and inefficient practices.
Veganuary offers an immediate and tangible step towards climate action, supporting a different kind of food production – one that doesn’t decimate forests, pollute rivers and oceans, foster climate change, and drive wild animal populations to extinction. Not only is it healthier for the planet, but also for participants – according to the follow-up survey in 2021, 68% reported health benefits, including more energy, better skin, and improved mood after just one month of plant-based eating.
With these premises, many famous chains restaurants, and supermarkets like McDonald’s, Domino’s, Tesco, Hello Fresh, Subway, Aldi, Jumbo, Lindt, and Lidl have supported the Veganuary challenge and begun to offer vegan products and menus in the UK, the US, Europe, and Latin America. Many international celebrities have also become backers of the 31-day challenge, including the world-renowned chef Matthew Kenney, the actor Joaquim Phoenix, and Olympic boxer Cheavon Clarke.
How can you sign up?
If you want to try vegan and get access to meal plans, cookbooks, and a supportive community, you only need to go to Veganuary website and sign up there. Throughout January, you will receive daily coaching emails and have access to a private Facebook group in which people from all over the world support each other and hold each other accountable kindly.
5 tips for going vegan
Everyone can go vegan for as long or as short a period as they like. The important thing to keep in mind is to do it gradually, get the support you need (from the supportive Veganuary community, along with nutritional and medical advice from your doctor), and remember the reasons why you want to be part of the shift towards more sustainable eating. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn and do for the planet! Here’s how to get started.
1. Take it easy
You don’t have to swap to a 100% vegan diet overnight. Everyone’s journey to plant-based eating is different and has its own pace, so don’t feel the pressure of “getting it right” and start with what you can. At first, you could introduce one vegan meal a day or have a plant-based day per week (remember Meatless Mondays?) – once you get comfortable, you can take further steps down your vegan path and adjust as you go.
2. Research recipes in advance
Half of the work lies in planning. Creating a list of yummy recipes, you can look up to is key to starting with the right food and keeping your vegan resolutions! You can start by looking for recipes from famous chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi, Isa Chandra Moscowitz, or Dana Schulz who is known as Minimalist Baker on Instagram. Or you could start by searching for recipes that feature your favorite ingredients. You can also start experimenting with different cooking styles and create a whole repertoire of squash recipes which all taste completely different! The internet is full of cooking blogs and influencers sharing recipes and all things vegan, and a good idea can be found in 4 to 5 alternatives for each meal. Happy planning!
Bonus tip: What about “veganizing” your favorite dishes? Whether it is a lasagne, creme caramel, or a good burger, you can often switch cheese, milk, eggs, and meat with vegan alternatives and discover a whole new taste!
3. Explore vegan-friendly cuisines
A great option for adding variety to your vegan diet is to explore new cuisines which are more vegan-friendly than you might think. For example, look up Southern Indian dishes like sambar, dosas, and Idli or experiment with Middle Eastern different types of humus and the classic tabouleh. Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Greek, and even Southern Italian food offer plenty of vegan or vegetarian delicious options – why choose? Try them all and keep adding dishes to your list!
4. Clear out meat, dairy products and fish in good time
The environment in which you are trying to build a new diet is very important. If you want to try Veganuary, make sure to clear out all animal products early, so you can start fresh and green in January. If you don’t manage to, you can always donate your food to friends or the food bank in your neighborhood to avoid wasting it. Again, don’t beat yourself up: you are doing it for the planet, and done is better than perfect.
5. Check how you feel
As you start your path into more sustainable and plant-based eating, it’s essential to check in with yourself at all stages. First, ask a professional nutritionist about the main nutrients you need to be able to continue functioning at your best, and make sure to eat or integrate them daily.
Quite often, getting the right amount of protein, vitamin B12, Omega fatty acids, iron, and iodine are among the most common concerns. Second, it could be a good idea to keep a diary to reflect on your emotions, energy levels, and thoughts about your journey and impact on the planet. If writing is not your thing, you could get creative and record a short audio or video – Veganuary could either be a one-month learning experience or the start of a new life chapter!
Hyundai’s commitment to sustainability
Here at Hyundai, sustainability means switching old habits for new and sustainable ones. With every vehicle in our dedicated electric series – IONIQ – we are committed to going one step further and making vegan materials the main components of our cars.
We started with the IONIQ 5 by making its interiors with a dye made of flaxseed oil and bio components extracted from sugar cane and corn. And for the IONIQ 6, which was released in 2022, we’ve added eco-process leather seats and recycled PET fabric for the seats, bio TPO skin for the dashboard, bio paint derived from vegetable oils for the doors, and recycled fishing net carpet — which is a first for the IONIQ brand.
To build a world that is fit for Generation One, we’re in the progress to become carbon neutral. In 2022, we pushed ourselves even further with the Goal of the Century – to use the power of the FIFA World Cup™ to unite the world for sustainability. Every year, we renew our commitment to the planet and are involved in several environmental initiatives around the world, such as ocean clean-ups in Greece and South Korea organized by Healthy Seas.