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 Hereford resident, Kelsey Francis.

Kelsey Francis

Kelsey Francis

‘I started my journey to veganism primarily due to animal rights’, she says. ‘I began to see that as a proclaimed animal lover, it was morally wrong to contribute to the death of another animal. Not only do cows, pigs, chickens and all animals possess the abilities to think, feel, play, and love one another, but they all have the same innate wish as humans: to live a life without pain or suffering.’

Kelsey also researched the environmental impacts of animal farming and learnt about the ‘horrors of the mass waste created by farmed animals that are polluting our soils and waterways, and the deforestation from farming grains to feed over 56 billion farm animals that are reared every year for food. In a world where humans are starving and the population forever growing, it seemed selfish for me to consume animal products when 3.5 billion humans could live off the food currently fed to livestock.’  With all this in mind, Kelsey signed up to take part in Veganuary and she hasn’t looked back. In fact, she says her only regret is not doing it sooner. ‘My body thrives on a plant-based diet. I have lost over a stone in weight and no longer suffer from fatigue. I have never felt better!’ And she has found that a healthy, ethical diet need not be a boring one! As she approaches her first ‘veganniversary’, Kelsey has compiled a list of her favourite Hereford restaurants to help anyone thinking about taking part in Veganuary 2018.

Cosy Club, Widemarsh Street ‘Their Thai Bean Burger is amazing! A spicy quinoa burger with edamame beans, pak choi, roasted peppers and sweet chilli jam - it’s definitely not one to miss!’ 

Tandem Bakery, Widemarsh Street ‘Tandem Bakery offer many dairy-free milks and make a mean dark hot chocolate!’ 

Kupcake Kitchen Café, Union Street ‘For tea and a slice of cake my personal go-to is always the Kupcake Kitchen Cafe. Val and her staff are wonderful, they not only make great vegan cakes and scones, but you can also have a complete vegan afternoon tea with all the bells and whistles! I cannot recommend this enough.’ 

King Street Kitchen, King Street ‘Another great choice. Try their chestnut rissole sandwich with salad for a light lunch option!’  

Vic's Vegan Bakes, Hampton Park ‘Although not a restaurant, you will never have to miss out on special occasions as Vic bakes the most incredible, extravagant cakes. They are a work of art!’

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.

Kelsey 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. ‘If you're looking to transition to veganism and would like support, Veganuary is the perfect opportunity. They provide helpful recipes, a search engine for vegan products and tips and tricks for shopping and eating out. They made everything so simple! Even if your motivations are not exactly the same as mine, Veganuary has something for everyone. Want to lose a little weight after Christmas? See how good switching to a plant-based diet for thirty days feels for your body... you never know but it may just be the best thing you ever did for your health. The world and the animals will thank you. What's not to like?!’

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