Simply going without meat and dairy isn’t going to cut it if you still turn to ultra-processed foods

Did you change what you ate or drank for January? The start of the year is an annual cue for a Pandora’s box of diet demons to be released; from meal replacements and super-keto diets to slimming teas. Alongside these trends live the regular and more ethical health-conscious messages of dry January and Veganuary, both of which have grown in popularity and have a much cleaner public image. Despite that, they are still not perfect. So this year I’d like to propose another idea that hopefully has longer staying power: call it the “real food revolution”.

The premise of Veganuary is simple: use the pivotal month of January to make a big change to your diet, your health and the planet’s health by cutting out animal products. Veganuary is a not-for-profit charitable company that provides recipes and motivational emails to help you give up meat and dairy products for just one month, with, ideally, positive effects on your waistline and your carbon footprint. Overall, they do a great job, and there is plenty of evidence to support the efficacy of reducing animal-based foods for our health and our planet’s survival. We now know that agriculture is responsible for about 25% of global heating and the single most important action we as individuals can do to help address the climate crisis is not to give up cars, but to eat less meat.

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