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Be a little more...flexible?

Ah Veganuary, our old friend, back from the distant memory of early 2019 yet still as headstrong and keen to promote itself as it was then. But do we all know what it is, or care to indulge in its numerous delights?

Apologies to all those grandmothers out there with a mouthful of eggs right now, but for our less vegged-up readers, 'Veganuary' means going vegan for the whole of January. So as well as obvious things like sausages, roast partridge and chicken kievs, you've got to kiss goodbye to other animal products like honey, say goodbye to jelly, and bid a fond farewell to butter, eggs and cheese. But before you run a mile to the safe sanctuary of your Sunday roast, you must surely have heard that this plant-based diet (and indeed lifestyle: leather shoes = tut tut) has risen to popularity recently due in part to concerns about animal welfare and the the climate crisis. Our friends at Cambridge University tell us that livestock and fish/egg/dairy production contributes to greenhouse gases and takes up a huge 83% of farmland, which could be used to grow vegetables and pulses that would feed many more people.

But we're mainly about health benefits here at OSMP. I'm talking lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of diabetes; and lower risk of some cancers including colon cancer. And we all know that higher fibre helps reduce constipation - which can, unchecked, cause a real blockage to the festive season. Ahem. Anyway it's a good idea to read up on the vegan diet first to ensure you're not running low on essentials like vitamin B12 and iron. Hey, you could even come in and talk to one of our friendly GPs.

If you can't face giving up your whole milk frothy coffee or that triple cheese pizza, or even your full English breakfast, there are many alternatives to tempt even the staunchest carnivore. On a recent recon mission I discovered the excellently-named Jaunty Goat café in Chester, which is entirely plant-based. I'm pretty sure a chorus of angels began to sing as I walked through the door. I enjoyed a meat free 'bacon' sandwich and a couple of cakes (look, I had a long day ahead). But mostly I was impressed with the fake bacon, or 'fakon' as it is comically known in the vegan trade. This was all backed up in the superb little book SOS – what you can do to reduce climate change by Seth Wynes where I learnt the three biggest things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint are: fly less, drive less, and (drumroll please) follow a plant-based diet. Ok so I'm covering my ears whilst huffy excuses pour in for the first 2, but the third is much easier to achieve, it's also slightly less expensive than switching to an electric car (where many charging points still use energy from fossil fuels anyway).

Relax. You might not know your tofu from your tempeh, but if the above sounds appealing or at least interesting, why not make a baby step and do meat-free Mondays? Or if you can't face that and you like to roll with the punches, become a flexitarian...

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