The newly formed VegSoc (Vegetarian and Vegan Society) at the University of Liverpool are challenging you to go vegan for four weeks.
On Monday 1st of February, VegSoc have recruited vegan mentors to be spread across campus, and representatives will be available to talk to from 10am to 4pm at the Guild followed by an introductory talk in Activity Room 6 at 5pm. Meat eaters, vegetarians and already established vegans are welcome to come along to join in or learn more about the lifestyle.
Now, before you jump the gun to criticise what may be preconceived as deluded hippy drivel – just look at the facts.
It’s well known that industrial farming is one of the worst offenders against our environment – particularly raising beef cattle, which is the biggest contributor to climate change. It’s also pretty terrible for our health, as processed meat has been labeled as a level 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation. Then of course there’s the animal cruelty – at what disjunct do animals become either pets or food? Why do we care about the well-being of some animals, but not others? We’ve all seen those horrific videos of animals locked in cages – so why do we turn a blind eye?
Going vegan for a month is an incredibly positive lifestyle change, and it’s an opportunity we should all seize. It’s not too difficult either – as vegan quorn and mince are great and cheaper substitutes, almond milk has a far superior flavour, and there is of course an abundance of creative vegan recipes that will make you feel like a boss chef.
You have a chance to exercise your power as a consumer to help the environment and save the lives of helpless animals, at the same time as feeling far healthier. You probably already do a few small activities that are eco-friendly, like taking shorter showers, reusing canvas bags, maybe even cycling everywhere – well, this is no different.
Just by making this small change to your diet for a month, you can contribute to a huge change. Of course it’s hard to picture yourself having any impact when the world revolves around unethical animal products, partly due to corruption and lobbying by farming industries – but given facts like skipping a single steak can save about 1,000 gallons of water, you as an individual can definitely make an substantial difference.
You might worry about missing out on nutrients, but there’s no reason a plant-based diet can’t cater to all of our nutritional needs. Beans, vegan quorn, tofu and lentils are just a few examples of vegan food rich in protein. There are plenty of guidelines online to help you make sure you’re getting enough nutrients if you’re concerned, but it’s certainly achievable without having to harm animals or the environment.
The benefits of going vegan are excessive. Making the change to a diet that excludes animal products will make it easier for you fill your plate with cheaper and healthier vegetables, but it won’t rule out a curry and chips on a heavy bender, so it’s definitely worth a try.
If you’re considering Vegan February, here’s some friendly encouragement: every day on a vegan diet you save 1 animal’s life, 20lbs of CO2 equivalent, 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain and 20 sq ft of forested land.
For help into the first steps you need to take to become a vegan, check out this helpful guide by the Vegan Society.
To contact VegSoc for information or advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-author: Caitlin Flannigan