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    New beginnings

    As we welcome 2022, we explore the different initiatives you can take up in the new year, and how The Royal Exchange can support you in your healthier habits

    January is traditionally a month of self-restraint. The excess and indulgence of the Christmas season is behind us, and New Year’s resolutions (mainly health related) have been set.

    January has also seen a rise in popularity in two distinctive month-long initiatives: Dry January and Veganuary. Whether you’re tempted to undertake one or the other (or both!), or simply want to adopt healthier habits, there are plenty of ways to make 2022 a little more virtuous.

    Veganuary is an annual initiative and charity where people pledge to go plant-based for the whole of January. In 2021, a record 500,000 people signed up to the challenge, which was double the number of participants in 2019. Plant-based diets are certainly de rigeur, especially among A-listers, and people are dabbling in vegan diets and lifestyles for various reasons. Scientists have stated that cutting out meat is the single best way a person can tackle the climate crisis, and with the extensive range of plant-based food and snacks available in restaurants and supermarkets, there’s never been a better time to dabble in veganism.

    If you’re going to take on the Veganuary challenge, make sure you stock up on plenty of vegan treats to avoid temptation (and eat all the festive cheese and chocolate by the end of December). French patisserie Ladurée also stocks vegan-friendly macarons and treats, while Fortnum & Mason also offers an array of vegan-friendly produce – from luxury chocolate and peanut butter-style spreads to crisps and tasty pâtés. The vast majority of Fortnum’s wines are also vegan-friendly, so you can indulge in a quality drop without the guilt.

    Speaking of wine, many people wake up on 1 January pledging to give up the booze. In fact, the number of drinkers in the UK has steadily declined over the past decade, with people increasingly aware of the adverse effects of alcohol on their health, mental wellbeing, productivity and bank account. As with vegan and vegetarian alternatives, it also helps that the choice of non-alcoholic beverages has never been better. Not so long ago, options for non-drinkers were slim to say the least, and often involved sickly sweet juices or fizzy drinks. Now supermarkets have seen a surge in non-alcoholic drinks that taste just as good as the real thing. In 2020, Fortnum’s released its popular Sparkling Tea, an organic prosecco-like drink designed to be paired with fine food. Then in late 2021, it followed this up with a new rosé version. Ideal for sober soirées or dinner parties, this delicate drop features tropical fruits, cranberry, hints of ginger and layers of Darjeeling complemented by fresh Japanese Sencha.

    Going plant-based and/or teetotal can also make you re-think your entire lifestyle. Being a more sustainable consumer is no easy task, but a little goes a long way. For example, by picking up a reusable and completely biodegradable bamboo coffee cup from Grind for your daily caffeine fix. You could also stock up on new year beauty and skincare essentials from Malin + Goetz at The Royal Exchange. This cult American brand is renowned for its luxurious chemical-free products that are never tested on animals. The company has also pledged to ‘strive towards more sustainable formulation and packaging practices’, and the design-led minimalist packaging is unisex and effortlessly modern. A guilt-free treat for the new year and beyond.