there are a number of eating trends that have been picking up some traction in the past few years.

i’m not one to get engrossed in personal decisions, especially when it comes to someone’s food choice. 

i believe in a nutrient balanced diet, and how someone achieves that is entirely up to them. 

 however, in recent years, my social media has been bombarded at this time of the year with “VEGANUARY” and, more recently “REGENUARY”. so, what are these trends and are they simply people jumping on the bandwagon or are they becoming prominent eating habits.

veganuary, launched in 2014, has since grown in participation year on year. during the month of January, people are inspired to eat vegan-only diets in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the climate.

regenuary, however, is not dissimilar to the vision of veganuary. “a world where food production does not decimate forests, pollute rivers and oceans, exacerbate climate change, and drive wild animal populations to extinction.” reganuary is an initiative launched by the Ethical Butcher and like veganuary is gaining a lot more participation from reaching 5000 people in year one to now reaching 100s of thousands.

regenuary is about eating foods that have been produced via regenerative farming practices. this is not limited to one particular diet – it applies to vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians or omnivores. 

ironically the timing of the veganuary campaign is much more damaging to the environment. the UK cannot produce the fruits and vegetables required to sustain a balanced vegan diet in January; therefore, many foods must be imported. this is by no means an attack on vegan diets or views. it is merely a reminder to consider all of the impacts of where your food comes from and how it is produced. 

regenerative agriculture is a method of farming and as the Red Shepherdess explains, “that means consuming food from farming principles and practices that increase biodiversity, enrich the soil, uphold the highest animal welfare standards while aiming to capture as much carbon as possible into the soil, therefore reversing current global trends of climate change.”

so why not support your local farmers and food producers? there is an abundance of fresh meat, dairy, and seasonal vegetables available to consumers, often within a few miles of their homes, particularly in Northern Ireland. 

it is a relatively easy change to make, even if you do most of your shopping at one of the bigger stores. look out for locally grown or produced food. don’t be afraid to ask questions at the deli counter. be curious about how the food on your plate was created.

if consumers pay more attention to the foods they are purchasing and eating, and if more partake in reganuary – then collectively we are taking responsibility for not just our own diet but the production methods of food within the UK, wider environmental impacts, and sustainability of UK agriculture.

so, whether you’re vegan or a full-on meat-eater, let’s get back to basics and follow a healthy seasonal diet, eat foods that can be grown sustainably and locally at that time of the year and try to purchase foods as local as possible. remember, it’s not the cow it’s the how!