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Is Veganuary the new Dry January?

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The vegan diet shot to popularity in 2015, no doubt in part thanks to high-profile vegans including Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt and Ellie Goulding, who have all raved about the benefits of an animal-free diet. And now that it's the traditional time of year for abstinence, many of us have gone further than cutting out alcohol for "Dry January", opting for "Veganuary" instead.

vegan stars

Beyoncé Knowles, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lopez are some of the star fans of veganism

The latest health fad involves adopting veganism throughout the month of January and, according to experts, some 50,000 of us are taking part this year, including passionate environmental campaigner Vivienne Westwood.

Participants cut out all meat, fish and dairy from their diet for the first month of 2016, in favour of grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.

vegan

Going vegan means cutting out all meat, fish and dairy

While stars have said that weight loss, higher energy levels and clear skin are just some of the benefits of the vegan lifestyle, organisers say that there's an awful lot more to it than that – it is also a way of helping to alleviate the world's food crisis.

The Veganuary website reads: "For most, a love of animals is the catalyst. Some people want to feel better about themselves and the impact they make on the world. Others would like to set themselves a challenge, and many combine Veganuary with their New Year's Resolutions and see trying vegan as the healthiest start to the year."

Cauliflower Puy Lenti

Try Braised cauliflower and puy lentil taboulehfor a vegan dish

Veganuary's marketing manager Clea Grady told the Guardian that concern for animals and environmental factors were top of the list of people's reasons for signing up.

She said: "For the past two years, animals are the primary reason by a large majority, with health coming second, and the environment third."

Clea says that veganism has seen a spike in popularity over the past year and a half.

Portobello Burger2

Going vegan needn't mean missing out with thisVegan portobello pecan burger

"There has been a marked increase in enthusiasm in the UK over the past 12 to 18 months, and that’s extremely exciting to see," she said.

"This has resulted in more media coverage, many more vegan products on our shelves, and ever-increasing numbers of Veganuary participants. We are starting to catch up with the States, but they continue to pave the way."

Raw cheesecake

Desserts are very much on the menu with thisVegan raw blueberry and macadamia cheesecake