No Meat May
No Meat May, a global initiative challenging people to ditch meat for the month of May, will forge ahead, bigger and bolder than ever despite the current COVID19 pandemic.
This is my first year participating in No Meat May. I'm not usually one to sign up for challenges or global movements, I'm one to just do things on my own without saying it out loud. But, this year is different, it feels different. The world is changing and peoples mindsets are changing. How can we make this world a better place? How can we be kinder to it and its inhabitants? How can I make a difference? Well, No Meat May is a small piece to the puzzle. A way to change your thinking about the food you eat and where is actually comes from. If you knew where the animal you are eating come from would you be disgusted? Would you still eat it?
I recently watched the documentary 2040 and it really opened my eyes. It's all things I already kind of knew. I chose to ignore because it was too big of a problem for just one person to solve and that was a pretty selfish thing for me to think. The reality is that it is too big for one person to take on alone but, if we all change one or two things in our life at a time that big problem becomes a lot smaller.
Now in its eighth year, the non-profit movement, which attracted a record number of participants of more than 10,000 people across 50 countries last year, will once again invite people from all around the globe to sign up at the No Meat May website for free, and commit to giving up meat, or all animal products (including dairy and eggs) from their diets for 31 days for four good reasons: Improving personal health, ending factory farming, feeding the world, and saving the planet.
But this year, there might be a few other reasons to give No Meat May a try, says co-founder, Ryan Alexander, from Sydney. “We debated whether to go ahead with No Meat May this year given the global health crisis, but with more people cooking at home than ever before, and perhaps looking for something to keep them inspired, occupied and healthy while in lock-down, maybe there was no better time for No Meat May to go ahead,” he said. Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, estimated to be worth $215 Million in 2020.
Meanwhile, a 2019 Roy Morgan study revealed that 2.5 million Aussies eat ‘all or mostly vegetarian,’ up from 1.7 million just 3 years prior . Despite this, plant-based eating is still a foreign concept to many, says Ryan. “This is an incredibly unusual time for everyone, and aside from our typical veg-curious mob that might choose to give No Meat May a try, even hard and fast meat eaters might be looking for some guidance on how to cook plant based meals, with the availability and affordability of meat proving a challenge.
“We provide free, expert guidance on cooking delicious plant based meals, as well as dietary advice to stay extra strong and healthy during this period of quarantine and social distancing. We have a huge range of resources and a huge, friendly online community that awaits on social media,” he said.
In 2020, No Meat May has moved all activities and community engagement online and is promising to keep things extra nutritious and delicious. “We will be providing a continuous stream of plant-based recipes, cooking demonstrations and live feeds from a range of top chefs and dieticians (with a few celebrity cameos likely along the way), to help those cooking at home to eat well and feed their families with healthy, affordable, immunity-boosting meals during this global lock down period,” said fellow co-founder, Guy James Whitworth. “It’s a great way to turn a situation that feels out of your control into something more empowering, a challenge to try a new healthy and nutritious way of eating and living for a month, or maybe more, during lockdown. As always, but especially now, the No Meat May team will do our best to support everyone on this journey. We are paying extra attention to the interactive online community so participants can still feel inspired and connected,” he said. By vowing to go plant-powered for just one month, each No Meat May participant will save multiple grateful animals, avoid 7kgs of meat consumption and prevent approximately 134 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
The No Meat May effect tends to continue long after the month of May is over, with 94 percent of past participants going on to reduce their meat consumption and one third reporting a life changing experience.
“We want people to claim this period as a time to experiment by choice – to use plant-based food as an opportunity to build better eating habits and make decisions around food based on compassion and awareness,” said Guy. “It’s a no-strings attached opportunity to make a tangible difference to your health, the wellbeing of animals and the environment. Once you start looking into it, the drivers for switching to a more plant based diet are hard to argue with,” he said.