Trying to take your first plunge into a plant-based lifestyle? Well then, January is the perfect time to do it. “Veganuary” is an annual challenge run by a UK non-profit organisation that promotes and educates about veganism by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle for January. What makes it even more attractive is that plant-based nutrition is used to manage chronic diseases in many countries around the world.
This is according to Dr Nanine Wyma from the Physicians Association for Nutrition (PAN), who shared the findings of a recent study conducted in partnership with the Ubuntu Wellness Centre at a Veganuary launch event in Cape Town.
The study focused on South Africa’s first-ever diabetes reversal challenge using plant-based nutrition just in time to commemorate World Diabetes Day. With one in nine adults living with diabetes, South Africa has the highest diabetes prevalence in Africa. This presentation formed part of the first Food4Climate Pavilion at COP dedicated to the plight to transform global food systems.
Wyma presented the findings to an international audience in the hope that this study will aid in placing the spotlight on how Africa will respond to the challenges associated with a warming planet.
“In our country, we have unique cultural and socioeconomic circumstances that should be taken into account when implementing whole-food plant-based interventions,” Wyma says.
Quick whole-food plant-based diet facts:
- Eating an exclusive whole-food plant-based diet could cut your carbon footprint in half.
- Finding solutions to non-communicable diseases is the target of the World Health Organisation’s Sustainable Development goal 3.4. Whole food plant-based diets are also known to prevent and manage NCDs, specifically type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Research shows that whole food plant-based nutrition reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and is associated with other positive health outcomes such as weight loss, psychological well-being and quality of life.
SA takes on the challenge
The Veganuary challenge recently launched by food awareness organisation, ProVeg South Africa and food chain, Kauai, kicked off this month.
Every year since 2014, people worldwide have been taking on the Veganuary challenge and adopting a vegan lifestyle for January. The environmental and health impact of a challenge like this has been measured and celebrated and once again campaigns around the world are planning for an even bigger Veganuary 2023.
ProVeg South Africa has been the official local partner for Veganuary for the past two years.
“What Kauai is doing, is they are making it very easy and tasty to make that switch to plant-based living. It is no longer the case that if you want to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, you just have to eat salads, which is terrible. Plant-based food is delicious and available almost everywhere.”
Over the last five years, Kauai has recognised the growing demand for vegan offerings for people who live a vegan lifestyle or for people trying to increase plant-based foods in their diets.
“The Kauai menu has always been plant-rich and customisable for all dietary preferences, but with this growing demand, we have expanded our offering to introduce even more delicious meal options,” says Glenda Philp, the Project Lead of strategic and special projects at Real Foods Group.”
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