Though the Oxford English Dictionary chose “vape” as the word of the year for 2014 way back in November, it’s a new year with a new vocabulary. My 2015 Twitter feed is buzzing with two newly introduced words that every veghead may want to consider adding to their lexicon (vape, for the record, means to inhale and exhale the vapor produced from an electronic cigarette—we’re not expecting to use that one any time soon, but you never know).
Here they are:
Veganuary. A movement encouraging people to go vegan for the month of January. Kind of like Movember for plant-powered diets (with less facial hair). The idea came from Matthew Glover and Jane Land, two vegans who wanted to give people not just the motivation to go vegan for 31 days, but also the resources to help them get through that month (and their hope, longer) successfully. The two are UK-based, but the site has regional US and Australia pages that include vegan options at popular chain restaurants, products, and recipes.
Reducetarian. Another movement, this one centered around the idea of eating less meat for 30 days (a “reducetarian,” as they’ve coined it, is a person who aspires to eat less meat). Take the pledge on the Reducetarian website, and share photos of your meatless meals using the #lessmeat hashtag and the @reducetarian tag. The people behind Reducetarian are even raising money to build a curriculum and train ambassadors to provide workshops, and more to help others join in.
If you’ve read The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian, you know that I take a very supportive approach to vegetarianism. So you won’t be surprised to hear that I love both of these new additions to the English language. Some people may be drawn to starting out the year with Veganuary. And others might feel that going Reducetarian is more their speed. And both choices are totally awesome.
You see, part of why I needed to write this book is that when I became a vegetarian at age twelve, there were not a lot of resources for people like me. First of all, I was in middle school—most books for vegetarians out there catered to adults: People who shopped for themselves, cooked their own food, and had their own kitchens (and also, knew how to cook). Secondly, I wasn’t even sure I was a vegetarian. At first I just gave up red meat. Then I gave up all meat. Then I started eating fish for a bit. Then I tried being vegan. Then I went back to lacto-ovo vegetarian. I was all over the place, and I wasn’t sure what that meant diet-wise, or how to label myself.
When I set out to write a book about vegetarianism specifically for teenagers, I thought it was particularly important to give people who were experimenting with different variations on plant-based diets a comfortable, supportive home, and to help them go on their vegetarian voyage in the most nutritious and empowered way possible. That’s the mission behind the SmartGirlVeg movement (humor me and call it a movement, why don't you!). I’m so excited to see more and more friendly environments in which veg-curious teens—and adults—can healthfully and happily figure out what style of plant-powered eating will work best for them.
What I like about Veganuary is it’s a no-strings-attached opportunity to try out what it’s like to not eat any animal products, with loads of support. Even if you don’t want to be vegan for the long term, trying it out just may open your eyes to new recipes, foods, and habits.
What I like about the idea of being a Reducetarian is that it’s very non-threatening. Anyone can try it out at any time, even someone who loves and has no intention of giving up meat. Going fully veg isn’t for everyone, and we're OK with that.
So, will you be embarking on the month of Veganuary, or trying out being a Reducetarian any time soon? We’ll be using both new hashtags on Instagram and Twitter; be sure you’re following us there (@SmartGirlVeg)!