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January Health Campaigns

January always triggers the need to make resolutions. Whether that is eating healthily or hitting the gym more often, you too may have decided to change things in 2018. 

To give you an extra nudge towards becoming healthier and more conscious of the food you are consuming, two massive trends have appeared in the last few years: Dry January and Veganuary.

The first ever Dry January was organised in January 2013 by Alcohol Concern. The main objective of this charity is to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. They teamed up with Public Health England in 2015 and, since then, the campaign has become a yearly occurrence, well anchored in the British public’s minds. Dry January is simply about giving up alcohol for a month. 

Just a year later, in January 2014, Veganuary was launched. The international campaign wants to make more people conscious about the food they eat: where it’s coming from and how it was produced. Jane Land, the founder of Veganuary said: “It’s not just about a healthier lifestyle. Going vegan also has benefits for the environment and helps reduce cruelty to animals.” Veganuary is about not consuming animal products (dairy, honey, meat, eggs, …).

But what are the health benefits of stopping alcohol and animal-based foods for a month?

A vegan diet is helping to protect bones and heart health but also reduces the risk of cancer. It also helps against the genetic likelihood of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes. It is important to be well-informed, as you will need to adjust your diet to find the same nutrients as in animal products (protein, non-saturated fats, vitamins, iron and minerals). Balance is key!

A month of veganism might make you lose a few pounds and it is said that it will improve the quality of your sleep. The organisers report that 51% of people who participate to Veganuary decide to remain on a vegan diet, which seems to indicate the challenge is not as hard as expected. It will definitely have a positive impact on animal welfare.

What about the benefits of an alcohol free January?

Not drinking alcohol on a regular basis will support weight loss, better sleep and it will make you save money. 

It will also improve your mood (alcohol is a depressant!), your skin (alcohol is dehydrating and that can prevent your skin from regenerating itself) and will help the recovery of your liver, giving it a nice long break to get rid of all the excess fat caused by alcohol consumption. 

But what happens now that January is over, and you can go back to drinking alcohol and eating meat?

There are ways to maintain this health kick: the UK Government advises 2 dry days a week, which seems easily manageable! When it comes to eating less meat, you can follow the Meat Free Monday movement, launched in 2009 by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney. 

A little effort, every week, could have a strong positive impact on your health and our planet! 

What are your views on these topics? Have you done Dry January or Veganuary this year? Tell us how it went for you! 
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