The campaign to encourage people to try vegan in January is now in its fifth year, and is all set to be bigger than ever with Veganuary predicting more than 150,000 people will go vegan for the month. Last year, there were 60,000 registered participants from 172 countries, and one of them was Kentish Town resident, Marika Weinhardt.
‘I had been vegetarian since the age of 10 when we practised debating skills one day at primary school on whether it was right to eat animals and I took it to heart! But it was my work in climate change that more recently made me think more about my diet. I feel that those of us in countries where we have the choice have a responsibility to ease the burden on the global food system, to allow more equal access to the world’s resources. When I saw Veganuary advertising on the London Underground I decided to give it a go.’
It was, she says, a good decision with her only regret being she wishes she had educated herself about veganism years ago. ‘I thought it would be a sacrifice,’ she says, ‘but in fact the new challenge has rekindled my love of eating out and eating in. The timing feels great as the vegan scene is exploding in London. For me this change has now gone beyond diet; it has introduced me to a new community who share a more positive vision for the future.’
Marika is a fan of many London restaurants including supper club venue Ten Cable Street at Aldgate and Vegan Yes on Brick Lane but as she approaches her first ‘veganniversary’ she has named her favourite Kentish Town restaurants to help anyone thinking of signing up for Veganuary 2018.
Queen of Sheba. ‘The Ethiopian vegan sharing platter is a date night winner. Addictive comfort food.’
Healthy Wealthy ‘serves up great value all-vegan Indian curries and bhajis plus mango lassi, cake and ice-cream’
Arancini Brothers ‘does the best vegan burgers in town and an outstanding array of vegan cakes’
The Fields Beneath. ‘I was delighted when this café under the railway arch at Kentish Town West station went vegan in the spring. Vegan croissants!’
And a little further away...
Club Mexicana. ‘Probably every vegan in London gives a shout-out to Club Mexicana. My local is at Camden market but for an extensive and changing menu head to Pamela in Dalston.’
Lost Boys Pizza. ‘Two vegan pizza options on black charcoal bases and an 80s playlist make Lost Boys Pizza near Archway the funnest night out in north London.’
Sen Viet at Kings Cross ‘does amazing things with tofu - don't miss the Salted, Chillies & Peppered version!’
It is free to take part in Veganuary, and everyone who does so receives daily support emails that offer shopping lists, an eating out guide, nutrition advice, recipes, meal plans, and answers to common questions. They also receive social media support in a closed Facebook group where they can connect with other participants, and a free celebrity e-cookbook. There are competitions with great prizes and special offers throughout the month.
Marika enjoyed the month so much, she has decided to stay vegan and her message to people thinking about taking part in Veganuary 2018 is to do it. ‘Moving towards a vegan diet is one of the single biggest changes you can make immediately at an individual level to reduce your carbon footprint. It's an empowering way to use your consumer power to send a message that Donald Trump's views on climate change are not those of the majority.’