Veganuary 2023: Benefits for your team’s wellbeing
If you are looking for a way to level up your employee rewards and recognition system this year, Veganuary presents a good opportunity to promote your team’s health and wellbeing. That’s because veganism is much more than a plant-based diet. What is it? Keep reading to find out.
What’s Veganuary 2023?
Veganuary is a global organisation that encourages people to try living a vegan lifestyle every January. 2023 welcomed more participants than ever before, with 706,965 people signing up to the 31-day plant-based pledge. Overall, according to YouGov, while only 2% of Britons are vegans, a further 3% said they were likely to challenge themselves to try and embrace veganism throughout January, peaking in younger generations. If anyone from your team is taking part, learning more about veganism will help in offering them the right support.
What are the challenges of veganism?
According to The Vegan Society, veganism is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose”. This means that veganism isn’t limited to a diet that excludes every product derived wholly or partially from animals, but also any human behaviour that—directly or indirectly—harms animal welfare. So naturally, this extends into several industries:
- Fashion and Design: clothing and accessories, or furniture and home decorations made from leather or suede, and containing or being decorated with feathers
- Medicine and Beauty: drugs and cosmetics tested on animals or made from ingredients derived from animals, like yoghurt-based creams, castor oil and brushes made from natural hair
- Entertainment: visiting zoos and aquariums, as well as taking part in dog or horse racing
It doesn’t stop there; veganism also “promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment”. So, it manifests and aims to influence change in various sectors:
- Food: improves access to healthy plant-based food, support vegan-friendly restaurants and promotes healthy eating habits in schools and the general public
- Land management: supports the transition out of animal farming, funds animal sanctuaries for rescued animals, advises and educates growers on sustainable cropping systems like pulse production, helping with afforestation and biodiversity
In fact, veganism aims to go even further to improve:
- Healthcare: aiming to introduce a credible vegan guide, train healthcare professionals, and improve the labelling of medication to showcase ingredients clearly
- Education: inclusion of the philosophical belief of veganism in the curriculum, and provide the awareness of such in alternative learning contexts, e.g., in science experiments
Can anyone in your team name all of the above? Maybe organising a Veganuary themed quiz would create a space for people to talk about their journey and inform the team of ways they can support them.
The benefits of going vegan
It’s likely that those who are participating in the challenge will already be aware of the benefits of going vegan. But for those who aren’t yet aware, why not give them an opportunity to learn more about them? If you are wanting a change of scenery, a day on the farm would be the ideal place to start a conversation like this – to not only keep your staff engaged, but to give them a break, too.
So when it comes to educating them, try to start from the basics.
The premise of veganism is to lead a compassionate lifestyle, requiring all people, animals and the planet to be respected and treated with compassion and kindness. To do this, we would need to make conscious choices that reduce harm and increase positive impact, so in more general terms, a compassionate lifestyle applauds empathy, generosity and social responsibility.
The decision to become vegan for many has started from rejecting farmed animal practices and animal exploitation. Others have found in veganism a solution to their concerns about environmental and social issues or their health. Truly, veganism benefits all of the above and here’s how:
- Health: Some experts say that when done right, the rich fibre found in vegan diets can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. There are also links between veganism and reducing the chances of some forms of cancer, as well as the ability to manage diabetes by lowering A1C levels.
- Planet: A vegan diet requires much less quantities of crops and water to be produced, compared to those that contain meat and dairy to slow down deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction – all while helping to reduce carbon emissions.
- Social: Instead of putting crops and water at the service of meat overproduction, these sources can be used to fight malnutrition and hunger.
- Animals: Cutting back on our needs for meat and dairy will put less pressure on production and will allow animals to live in better circumstances. To help with this, the Be Animal Kind movement aspires to reconnect people with our sense of compassion towards these animals.
How can you support your employees’ health and wellbeing?
Keep in mind that this lifestyle will be new to your employees, so they will need some time to get the hang of it. Why not encourage your team to keep it up with a weekly internal newsletter on the benefits of veganism, or inspire them with some delicious vegan recipe ideas from Asda, all while making sure that there are vegan snacks up for grabs around the office?
If you’re stuck on other ways to get involved, an Asda For Business gift card or e-gift card could come in handy. With a range of vegan-friendly food, toiletries and beauty products all in one place, your staff can browse online to get an idea of what type of everyday products may or may not be vegan. Also, corporate gift cards are a great way to say “well done” and acknowledge their efforts, all while improving their access to vegan-friendly food and lifestyle products; things that will help them support the cause and empower them to continue their journey into veganism even after January.