Why turning vegetarian or vegan should be your 2017 New Year’s Resolution
“Turning vegetarian made my life better and it can do the same for you.”
New Year’s Resolutions. We’ve all made them. We’ve all not stuck to them. It’s a week down the line and that gym membership is pointless, the chocolate is back, and you are still talking to that fuckboy you said you would ditch.
Why not break the cycle in 2017 and make a New Year’s Resolution that could benefit your life, make you healthier, but also help protect animals and our planet?
New research commissioned by The Vegan Society found that there are over half a million vegans in Britain. It also found that 3.25% of the population, that’s roughly 1.68 million people, are either vegetarian or vegan. At the heart of the movement is young people. Close to half of all vegans are in the 15-34 age category (42%).
We spoke to vegetarians and vegans who made the change at various stages of their lives, and haven’t looked back since. They offer their tips, what they have found difficult and talk about how cutting out meat has changed their lives forever.
Charlotte Rollin, 19, Cambridge
I began researching the meat and dairy industries about a year and a half ago and built up to making the change. I’ve officially been veggie for 10 months. I was influenced when my friend told me that she was turning vegan so I researched more into the lifestyle; prior to that I had no idea the dairy industry could be as cruel as the meat sector.
The main positive has been feeling more confident in my moral standing and knowing that I’m doing right by what I believe in.
Cat O’Brien, 20, Surrey
I’ve been vegetarian for about one and a half years. I’d never been a huge meat eater so thought I’d give it up for Lent. It was so easy that there was never any reason to stop!
There are flawless replacements for meat – Quorn and Linda McCartney are stocked everywhere. Plus there’s no risk of poisoning yourself. If you worry about eating out or going abroad, there’s websites like happycow that tell you the best veggie places to eat.
What’s more, is it definitely is a bonding point when meeting new people. At university, I have definitely become much closer to people because of being veggie.
Charlotte, 16, Staffordshire
The hardest part is family meals, like a Sunday roast or Christmas dinner. Everyone else is eating meat and asking you why you aren’t. I would definitely recommend becoming a vegetarian. I love it. It’s something that you can actually make a difference with.
Juliet Wightman, 20, Leicester
I turned veggie when moving to university. I couldn’t cook and felt unprepared. I just thought about what meat really was and that I didn’t want to touch or prepare it.
The hardest part about turning vegetarian was changing the routine you have: Every Saturday, it was a microwave chicken curry and every Sunday, a meat and three vegetable roast. I now work my way around those meals with substitutes so it’s helped me try new foods.
Becca Gosling, 20, Somerset
I turned veggie this summer. I didn’t really eat or like meat other than chicken and as I got older, I started to see and hear more about the way animals are treated. What was hardest was the comfort food when ill. My mum used to make me chicken casserole when I was poorly and I did miss it at the beginning, but there’s easy ways to make it vegetarian.
I’ve found new recipes and tried foods I never thought I’d try. I feel so much healthier within myself and even my skin has seen the benefits. I’d recommend turning vegetarian as a New Year’s Resolution. It’s not something that’s too difficult and doesn’t have to be such a drastic life change. It can be an easy and gradual process.
Charles Thomas, 21, Leicester
I was vegetarian first and then went vegan a year later. I was influenced by the amount of vegetarians that I worked with. I was able to see first-hand the benefits. The hardest part was breaking it to the family and coming out with it.
I feel better in myself and happier. I also feel less guilty and that my part can help animals and the planet. I would 100% recommend trying it out. Get ready to embrace spinach as your new best friend.
Alice Smith, 22, Gateshead
I became a vegetarian in January 2015, but still enjoyed meat so ate it every couple of months. I cut it out entirely in December 2015.
The hardest part about turning vegetarian for me, was the fact I had to stop eating meat. I always said I would never be able to go veggie because I loved Sunday dinners, hot dogs and fry-ups. It was also hard to tell people because I was aware it sounded like the typical ‘uni phase.’
If you are considering it, just try it out and see how you get on. Expect to slip up a few times!
Rhianna Bailey, 20, Durham
I’m a vegetarian, but I’m hoping to turn vegan in the New Year.
It brings out a great sense of achievement. I feel like eating meat was just a bad habit. Also knowing you are doing your bit, however small it may seem, is always a positive thing.
Make turning veggie into more of a game than a challenge. Try treating meat as if it were an allergy and that you can’t actually eat it. I found this very easy to do and it definitely stopped me from doing so.
To start off small, you can try going vegetarian or vegan with a 30 Day Pledge. You can sign up to various pledges online, including PETA and The Vegan Society. According to the Vegetarian Calculator, if you were to cut out meat for only 30 days, you would save 17 animals.
It’s so easy, so why not give it a try?