Vegans follow a strict plant-based diet. [Credit: The Conservation]

This January marked the seventh annual Veganuary challenge, where determined individuals set themselves the personal goal of following a vegan lifestyle for the duration of the month.

The challenge, which was set up in 2014 by Jane Land and Matthew Glover, aims to encourage people to try a plant-based diet in order to help protect the environment and reduce the number of animals slaughtered for meat production.

Amongst those who participated in this year’s Veganuary challenge was 21-year-old Leah Corper, a third-year food and nutrition student at Birmingham City University. With different upcoming lifestyles such as veganism playing a massive part in Leah’s university course curriculum, she was intrigued to give the diet a go herself.

Audio: Leah Corper talks about why she decided to do veganuary and how successful it was. 

“I thought it would be an interesting way to see first-hand what the vegan diet entails and if it’s a healthy way of living and meeting your nutritional needs,” she said.

Although admitting that at times she found the strict vegan diet challenging, Leah successfully completed the full month and discovered a wide range of healthy vegan meals, including sweet potato and red kidney bean burgers, aubergine and bean chilli, and peanut butter tofu.

Leah made aubergine and bean chilli (left) and peanut butter tofu whilst she was vegan.

Despite her Veganuary success, Leah revealed that she will not be continuing with her vegan diet, although there are a few things she will take on board in her everyday life, such as reducing her meat intake and drinking soy milk.

“For someone that knows a lot about diet and lifestyle, I personally don’t think the vegan diet is a good way of meeting my nutritional needs,” she said.

“start slow and do it at your own pace”

Calum harris, vegan influencer

Calum Harris posts vegan dishes on his Instagram page @madebyblitz. Credit: Calum Harris.

For those that struggle to commit to the vegan lifestyle, inspiration can be found through vegan influencers, such as 22-year-old Calum Harris.

Known to his followers as ‘madebyblitz‘, Calum uses his social media to post vegan dishes, gaining an audience of 22,000 followers on TikTok and 36,000 followers on Instagram.

Since going vegan two and half years ago, Calum has used his social media to disprove a lot of misconceptions about veganism.

One of his main focuses was to tackle the misconception of protein intake, and that you don’t need to rely on fish, beef and chicken to have a healthy diet.

Video: Vegan influencer Calum Harris shares his advice for people thinking about going vegan. 

Calum’s advice to those thinking about trying out the vegan diet would be to start slow and do it at your own pace, take each day as it comes and make small changes.

“You just have to get one meal done and try it, and if it’s not for you, try something else, and if you’re passionate about it you’ll keep going with it,” he said.

The 22-year-old also hopes that people will be inspired by the content he creates and that it will lead to people adapting new habits when it comes to veganism.

Veganuary Statistics

By adopting a vegan diet for a month, you would save:

  • 30 animal lives
  • 620 pounds of harmful carbon dioxide emissions
  • 913 square feet of forest
  • 22,481 gallons of water

Source: Vegan Calculator