[Challenge] Veganuary: Eating Vegan Meals Once a Week

Let’s start by talking about Veganuary. Veganuary is, in essence, a non-profit organisation encouraging people from around the world to become vegan for the whole month of January and beyond, a pledge similar to that of ‘Movember’ and ‘Dry January’. In the year of 2019, over 250,000 pledged to become vegan for the month, with almost all of them recommending friends and family to do the same. As part of the new decade, Veganuary has seen a large increase in the number of people involved and the number of people willing to participate. However, such extreme dietary change is not for everyone as Katie Leaver discusses in a Metro article. She is pledging not to do Veganuary, to protect her mental health and her recently overcome eating disorder. There are limitations to how much people can do and in no way should you put yourself in a state of unwell and distress.

There is a less drastic alternative. People are incorporating vegan meals into their diet once a week in order to become more sustainable. This concept is based on a social enterprise in Hong Kong called Green Mondays, with aims to create a philosophy of plant-based meals once a week and to tackle global food security, climate change and other important issues. ‘Flexitarian’ as it is now being called, is this idea that allows people to incorporate as much or as little dietary change as they want.

As part of the emphasis towards Veganuary, many global fast-food chains have introduced their own vegan alternatives. From a consumer standpoint, this is fantastic! Something that might get the kids on board with eating a more sustainable diet, and a convenient, easier alternative to many other vegan options. But, for me, this creates a bit of an oxymoron. Can you support the vegan options of fast food chains who are to blame for major deforestation in the Amazon rainforest? Can you eat vegan options from these establishments that are responsible for up to 10% of global water usage? As a vegan, can you enjoy these alternatives at a restaurant that kills millions of animals every day? This is an incredibly difficult situation and maybe one that shouldn’t be the battle of the consumer, rather a fight for another group. It’s important to think about yourself and what you can achieve in becoming more sustainable.

Personally, I have been attempting to incorporate a ‘Flexitarian’ diet, even if it is only one meal a week. I have found difficulty in finding alternatives that I enjoy, but that does not mean that I will give up. I am, however, finding more success and self-satisfaction in finding more sustainable products and alternatives, not necessarily vegan options, to incorporate into my diet. Small changes that will in turn hopefully make a big difference. We are now into 2020, and Climate Change is happening now. So, is that enough?

I want to leave some final questions for open discussion, in hopes that people can collaborate their own ideas and maybe introduce some to the community.

Are you participating in Veganuary or changing your diet to be more sustainable?

How are you incorporating sustainable food choices into your life?

As a consumer, should we incorporate the impact of the company into our dietary decisions?

Do you think what you are doing is enough?


I struggle finding the best products in store for this and often just revert back to what I normally buy. Price is also a big issue. I’ve found it difficult to change my diet. What should I be doing differently? Do I need to do more research before or read something. Is there somewhere else I should be looking?

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Thanks for the comment! I find its often the places where people are shopping. Being local is a big improvement for many people, including myself. Do you have a local market near you? They will offer a lot of fresh produce with little environmental impact in terms of food miles. As a plus, you’re also supporting small businesses rather than larger corporations.

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Hi Jamie and welcome. My wife and I are doing pretty well at eating more vegetarian food but that because of a few recipes.

Some great ones

  • Butternut squash curry - 2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 butternut squash, two peppers, and 2 tablespoons of garam masala. Have with Basmati rice - 1 cup for two people. Chop everything up (skin Butternut Squash, halve and take out seeds (just saved mine for the garden) before chopping. Use large saucepan - fry garlic and onions, and add rest and stir a bit and leave to simmer for 45 mins and ready. Add a bit of salt to bring out flavour, and add chopped up chillies if you want it hot.
  • Pasta Norma- Really good sicilian recipe. Jamie Oliver has one here, but it really simple; fry up some onions and then add chopped aubergine and peppers and simmer down. It’s surprisingly delicious!
  • Invotini - If you want something amazing and have the time, make this. Here’s the recipe.

What I always think is super important in being more flexitarian is thinking about meat as a luxury and making sure I buy loads of vegetables. I really good way of doing that is getting a veg box delivered.

Also, it’s about thinking about the simple food - baked beans on toast, baked potato, cheese and salad…

Hope that helps…

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This is a great post! Gets people thinking and gives alternatives rather than extremes. You’ve correctly noted that going vegan can be dangerous.

I would not advise anyone to try this unless they speak with an expert that can help them make the transition. Experienced vegans in my circle have admitted that at times they had to introduce an animal product due to their body just screaming in need. Some vegans may disagree here, but everyone’s body is different and this has to be taken into account.

I’m myself a pescatarian and it has been over 6 years now. I did try the vegan lifestyle but it dramatically impacted my relationship with others and I decided to create my own diet.

I eat seafood no more than once, at times, twice a week. I haven’t eaten meat for 6 years and my body handles this great. My son is on the same diet and he is thriving. Living in Spain made it quite easy to have this diet.

There are local farms where you can get fresh vegetable produce, including family-run seafood stores. They catch and sell the produce. This makes Spain a great place to live sustainably. I would imagine this is possible across the world. I remember living in Maine, the US, and there were also local fishermen selling fresh seafood.

In terms of processed vegan food, I find it unhealthy for nature and humans. You rightly point that many of these companies are heavy polluters too. I like to cook my food fresh and stock up on recipes that allow me to prepare a meal in just 15 minutes.


The costs when living in a city, away from any farms, are certainly very high as organic food is too costly. I also find the large chains delivering low-quality food that has been sitting in plastic packages and tastes awful: old and plastic. Finding ways to order fresh produce online from nearby farms has been a solution for me.

In terms of the menu, you would be amazed at the tasty recipes online. The way I find things I love is: I make a list of vegetables I like and Google vegan and vegetarian options. In just 15 minutes I have a few recipes that I try. It’s never disappointing.

I love Indian food and they do have some fantastic dishes to consider. Some are not very healthy, but there is a huge variety to choose from if you like this cuisine.

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Hope everyone is getting on well with this with a little over a week left to go! I was recently in Sheffield for my graduation and noticed that a little pub that we spent some time at offered double reward points for vegan dishes as part of Veganuary. A great little incentive to try new things! (Even if it is just an incentive to make you go back to the pub). eec70a71cc6f414db1bc3e2aca511ca5