Decades ago, veganism used to be considered truly strange. About five years ago, it transcended to more of an annoying personality quirk – a way for vegans like myself to feel both special and righteous. Now, against all odds, it’s a more-or-less normal way for people to eat, if they wish to not feast on the flesh and nipple juice of our fellow animals. Thanks to a slightly awkward portmanteau, you're now presented with an annual fast track to get into the whole vegan thing: Veganuary.
Nominally, the month-long challenge fosters a sense of novelty, probably boosted by some nice recipes shared between friends. But naturally, a fairly harmless trend sends people potty. Because veganism isn’t just your usual weight loss diet or an exercise routine. It’s a lifestyle, and one that’s likely upheld by various interwoven beliefs.
Suffice it to say: over the last couple of years, Veganuary has had a lot of airtime in the media and on the internet and therefore it’s pissed a lot of people off. That may be bad news for those who feel threatened by some of us cutting back on animal produce. For me, it's a perfect opportunity to reflect on the increasingly deranged responses to a plant-based diet. Here are some of those crybabies of Veganuary 2020… ranked!
5. Meat-eaters pretending to do #Veganuary
Sadly we’ve got to start off with the anti-Veganuary social media post of the year. You may have seen several tweets building on this genre, joyless as it was. The category is: Men Posting Pictures of Unseasoned Chicken and Boiled Potatoes With a ‘Here’s My #Veganuary Dinner’ Caption. Frankly awful humour from the sort of men in the office who throw their hands up theatrically when a female colleague comes close to them, and bellow, "999, HR! We’ve got a #MeToo over here." The joke here is that they’re not doing Veganuary, you see.
Special appearance: Laurence Fox
Maestro of unbearable patter, Laurence Fox proved to be one of the men described above when he tweeted, “As a gesture of solidarity with the tens of millions of carrots murdered every year to facilitate #Veganuary, tonight I forsake vegetables” along with a picture of a steak and chips, next to a sealed packet of Tory carrots. Unfortunately, in his haste, the man of the moment did not realise, that chips are in fact potatoes, AKA a vegetable.
There’s little worse in my book than crap banter, but being thick enough to also forget what chips are made of is really impressive.
4. British newspaper, the Telegraph, and employees of;
The Telegraph made the daring decision to chronicle the adventures of infamous "carnivore" William Sitwell – remember that food editor who resigned after being publicly shamed for being anti-vegan? – as he attempted to go vegan for, can you believe, seven days. How might he fare? I actually don’t know as I sadly don’t have a Telegraph subscription. But you can also take a quick look at some of the Telegraph's other Veganuary 2020 headlines to catch their general gist on veganism. Take your pick from "The vegan craze is a self-serving corporate con", "Yoghurt sales fall victim to veganism, new figures show" or the tragic tale of an anonymous writer who found that Veganuary “ruined their family life”, for example.
It's still disappointing to see a deliberately and subtly negative slant on coverage of a fairly simple issue. But maybe blind hysteria attracts more readers!!
3. Piers Morgan
Let’s just get this out of the way. Once again, Piers Morgan picked a fight with veganism. This time, as a clickable follow-up to his 2019 Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll meltdown, he presented A Dramatic Reading of His Feelings About the Greggs Steak Bake, Which He Also Refused to Eat. Piers will always take joy in making veganism seem like the strange and posturing sport of snowflakes. But what is more weird? Forever slurping the pasteurised secretions of a penned-in old cow or, trying, just for a month, to not eat chickens?
2. Claire Richards
“The silliest thing I’ve ever heard,” cried Claire from Steps, on Twitter. What might that thing be, you ask? Of all the terrifying and legitimately insane stories dominating 2020 so far, she directed her disdain at… sorry, is this right? "Wagamama are advertising Vegan tuna!" Sure. Okay, she's talking about a restaurant adding in a fruit alternative for tuna, which can be unsustainably caught by trawling (and, for one species, is endangered). Tuna fish is also still on the menu anyway. Vegan gays across the country decided to firmly unstan Claire from Steps for not only going mad about some watermelon and turning to Piers for support, but failing to understand that Wagamama probably used the term "tuna" to give people a sense of the dish's texture. I am, of course, assuming that she already knew that "suika", in the dish's full name, means watermelon in Japan :3
1. Rod Liddle
And finally we come to our last contender. Behold, Rod Liddle using his tabloid inches to say vegan sausages "taste like the seat lining from a Toyota Corolla". Instead of doing #Veganuary, he wrote, he’d take a political stand by participating in “#Januhairy” like the women with newly bushy “front bottoms”. His embrace of the month-long 'movement'? Not shaving his pubes, ear, nose or brow hair. A true pioneer.