Founded by Matthew Glove and Jane Land, the movement stands apart from its month-long counterparts by focusing on January as it is the time for change, resolutions and new beginnings. "People find it easier if they have to abstain only for a month or a week and not forever. Fortunately , many of them experience its benefits and turn vegan for life," says Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, campaigns and nutrition advisor, Peta India.
In Chennai, those who are taking the pledge say it is tough to give up on ghee, paneer and curd rice when those are your favourites. "It is easy when you are at home as you can try different vegan recipes, which are tasty. But it is hard to stick to it when you are eating out with friends," says animal-lover Malavika Madhavi Nori, a vegetarian taking the vegan pledge this year.
Though Indian sweets during festivities make it difficult to resist the urge to indulge, the health benefits motivate her to continue. "Slowly, I am noticing the difference. After lunch, I am able to pay attention without feeling sleepy in office. Also, my acne has reduced considerably," says Malavika, who is among 22,000 others who have decided to take the pledge and ditch meat, fish, eggs and milk for a month.
But will the month-long promise develop into a permanent change? Vegans say that it may seem tough initially but there are many ways to stay motivated.
Apps like Meal 'n' Heal developed by nutritionist Preethi Raghav are largely helpful. "It is informative as it provides statistics on how you save the environment by going vegan.