If you’re a fan of the Gregorian calendar you’ll have noticed we’re heading for a brand new year. This one – they’re calling it 2022 – brings with it a fresh start, a feeling of optimism and possibility and, I assume, loads more Covid. It brings with it billions of new year’s resolutions, dozens of which are actually realistic. Chief among them is you giving Veganuary a go.

Veganuary aims to get people trying veganism for a month, drawing them in with time-limited new year faddishness and showing how easy a change it can be. Last year it had more than half a million sign ups, with about 85% committing to cutting down on meat and dairy thereafter, and a solid 40% aiming to stay vegan for all time. That’s decent, given the most popular new year’s resolution – getting and using an annual gym membership – has a success rate of less than 3% I assume.

Why: Three simple reasons for going vegan
There are tons of good reasons for going vegan but people tend to pick from the big three. First, it’s about the best thing you can do as an individual human amid late-stage climate crisis. The IPCC have been fairly clear about the existential risk posed by your industrial meat and dairy, which do more harm to the planet than every vehicle you’ve ever driven, rode in, flown on or looked at. If you tell people you’re “doing your bit” because you recycle yogurt pots but are still eating meat and dairy 21 times a week, you ain’t doing shit.

Second, it’s kinder. You know it is. It’s kinder to not hurt, torture and kill animals, and then eat their dead bodies when we’re done hurting, torturing and killing them. You’re already pretty vegan on this: You already think hurting, torturing and killing puppies is mean, you just need to undouble the standard that says it’s perfectly fine to rough up a pig.

Third, it’s healthier, maybe. Heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and the small matter of actual fucking cancer have all been linked to your intake of stupid fat meat. Rest assured you can get sick and fat if you fill up on vegan junk food like you can with non-vegan junk food, but if you pay attention to what you need and what you eat, you’ll probably live to be ten thousand years old, although that claim is not made by Veganuary and has yet to be evidenced by the person who made it (me).

How: Tip-toeing vs cold tofurkey
When I made the switch from veggieness to veganism I tip-toed into it, trading out foods item by item and meal by meal. It took me a while to come to terms with plant-based milks, and longer to mourn the loss of everything Cadbury had to offer. But bit by bit, egg by egg and ogg by ogg, I did the bugger.

Others – yer Veganuaryists, for example – batter straight into it, cutting out dirty-bad meat and dairy overnight. If you’re aiming for that you’ll probably do better with a bit of prep. Knowing which bits of animals are hiding in seemingly non-meaty food and drink is essential, and understanding the basics of nutrition will reduce the chances of you feeling lightheaded on day three and sacking it off completely. Luckily, Veganuary, the Vegan Society and even this stupid website, have a ton of resources to help you through.

Really, the main How is the Why: Remembering why you’re doing this will get you through the adjustment period. It doesn’t matter how tasty steak is if it’s decimating the planet. It doesn’t matter how good milk tastes if calves are getting killed for it. It doesn’t matter how finger lickin’ good fried chicken is if it’s artery-cloggin’ bad. Keeping that in mind is how you’ll manage the month, or the lifelong switch if you’re aiming higher. If in doubt, in times of crisis, watch a pig getting a cuddle.

Now. There’s a bloody climate crisis on.

You! Go do it!

Photo credit: The Zero