Is any publicity good publicity?
This week has been a bit crazy for me, we went from snow to sun, I started my new job role (with the same amazing company) and… I GOT BEYONCÉ TICKETS. Yes, that’s right people, I am finally going to see my spirit sister perform live and my life is basically complete. Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Beyoncé and everything she does – which is why I jumped for joy when she announced recently she will be going vegan for 44 days in the lead up to her Coachella performance. She and Jay-Z did something similar to this in 2013 and I had the same question then as I have now; will she be committing to the vegan lifestyle or just the vegan diet?
For me, going vegan was a process; it wasn’t something I was able to achieve overnight. I have been vegetarian all my life but veganism always seemed so extreme to me, plus I didn’t know any vegans in my life so I’d only been reading from the ‘single story’. By this I mean I had only heard one side of the argument and hadn’t accessed the facts of veganism or any accounts from someone actually living the lifestyle. But after watching some great documentaries and learning more about the vegan community, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. Since then, I have slowly transitioned to a fully vegan lifestyle, starting with my food and drink, then I looked at my wardrobe and finally I switched all my beauty products over to VCF (Vegan Cruelty-Free). Everyone is different, and you have to find the path that’s right for you – I know right, how deep is that? Now I’m finally able to say that veganism is no longer a struggle for me and I don’t see it as things I’m ‘giving up’ or not able to have, instead it’s a journey of discovering new brands and organisations promoting the lifestyle that I lead – and then I get to rant about them to you fine people!
When I read that Beyoncé is once again ‘going vegan’ (for 44 days) I wondered how this would impact the vegan community and would it attract more people to adopt a vegan lifestyle? I’ve seen a lot of media coverage this year asking if veganism is just a trend or a lifestyle, and I did have to ask myself; is any publicity good publicity? Beyoncé is undisputedly one of the world’s most powerful influencers and she has been the driving force of countless trends/movements in the past, including bodysuits, floral headgear and general girlboss-ness. Not only is she going vegan herself, but she’s also challenging her fans to join the 22 day vegan meal plan diet with her – granted she co-founded the 22 Day Nutrition company with Jay and celebrity trainer Marco Borges, so it’s in her financial interests to promote the hell out of it. So far, I haven’t seen any backlash against the announcement and the general sense I’m getting from the vegan community is that people recognise this is a temporary diet choice for Bey but that by promoting veganism she’s actually doing us a favour. If the publicity over this engages a handful of people and leads them to look into a vegan diet, even if only temporarily or only in part, I feel like it will be worth the hype.
A lot of people will probably ask; what can going vegan for 22 days actually do for me or for the planet? Well, firstly the 22 day challenge is based on the studies that show that if you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit, so by committing to a vegan diet for 22 days you will have essentially started off your new ‘habit’ of eating healthily. If you’re struggling with weight loss then a vegan diet may be what you’re looking for, I’ve found it very effective in losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One of my favourite statistics I like to shock people with is that it takes 3000 litres of water to make 1 hamburger. If you have, let’s say, 2 hamburgers a week, by giving that up, you’ll save roughly 18,000 litres of water over the course of 22 days. Just to put that into perspective for you, that’s enough water for 409 people to drink over 22 days. Always remember, your small actions can make a HUGE difference.
If you do decide to try out a vegan diet, why not consider expanding it to more than just your plate? Would you consider donating your leather bags, belts, shoes etc. to your local charity shop, that way the leather industry won’t benefit from the sales but it will recycle the clothing? Maybe you could try out an alternative to wool, like organic cotton or hemp? Even just using this time to research different ways you could implement vegan changes to your wardrobe would be a great start. Think about what clothes you love to wear; are they vegan already? You might be surprised at how much of your wardrobe is already cruelty-free, and then it might not seem so extreme to roll out the change to your entire inventory.
PS: don’t worry about being alone if you try a vegan diet, you’ll be in good company – in the UK, the number of people identifying as vegans has increased by 360%, compared to decade ago (according to research commissioned by the Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life magazine)