If every family in the UK removed the meat from just one meal a week, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 16 million cars off the road.

It is fair to say that is an eye-opening statement.

While many people may switch to a plant-based diet solely for their love of animals, the environment also plays a big part.

This month is Veganuary where thousands of people across the world cut out animal products and replace them with plant-based alternatives.

And this January marks 12 months since I ditched all meat and dairy products.

In the past 365 days I have fielded rather a lot of questions about my decision.

Deciding not to eat the likes of cheese, meat, milk chocolate and eggs might seem like a step too far for some.

And I can’t deny there have been some occasions when I craved something I wasn’t able to eat any more, but it has been few and far between.

While a love for animals featured in my choice, the main reason for my diet swap was the environment.

Farming animals has a huge impact on the planet.

The Vegan Society says cows around the world drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day - nine times as much water and seven times as much food as all humans.

Research in 2021 also found animal agriculture is responsible for at least 87 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.


Meals - a vegan tomato risotto

Meals - a vegan tomato risotto


When you are tucking into your beef burger, the implications it has had on the environment might not be your first thought.

But cutting down on meat just for one or two meals a week has the potential to have a big impact.

Before going vegan I wasn’t a fan of dairy milk so switching to oat milk wasn’t a big issue.

In the past 12 months I have eaten a lot more fruit and vegetables and occasionally some meat alternatives.

I’ve cooked a lot more from scratch and used more seasonal ingredients.

There has been some trial and error, but now I am able to make most meals and sweet treats I previously ate and you’d be hard pushed to taste the difference.

There have also been other benefits.


Treats - vegan cinnamon buns

Treats - vegan cinnamon buns


My energy levels are better and my skin and hair are healthier.

Over the past year there have been so many developments in the vegan and plant based world.

Big name brands have expanded their offerings and this festive season in the shops there were vegan versions of turkey, roast ham, Christmas pudding and mince pies to name but a few.

You may be surprised by how many foods are in fact vegan – meaning you don’t miss out on your favourite items.

From bread to biscuits (think Bourbons, Oreos and Jammy Dodgers) and some supermarket own brand doughnuts the list is a long one.

Saying goodbye to dairy and meat may seem like an overwhelming task, but trying #MeatFreeMondays may be your starting point.

So whatever you reasons for making a change be it animals, the environment or just for something different, Veganuary is the perfect time to take that leap.