The difference a month makes
Seven inspiring reasons to sign up for No Meat May this year!
No Meat May is a 31-day challenge that invites participants to make a meat-free pledge for the month of May. You set whatever plant-based goal works for you, then join in the fun as you expand your creativity in the kitchen, level up your nutrition knowledge, make new connections, and get daily inspiration to encourage and empower you on your journey.
Whether you’re a beginner or already on the plant-based path, here are seven great reasons to get amongst it this year.
1. You’ll broaden your culinary horizons
The No Meat May challenge offers free online cooking demos, recipes and meal plans, and a No Meat May Community Cookbook just for participants. Want guidance on planning a balanced and nutritious diet? They’ve got you covered with dietitian-designed weekly meal plans, and free live webinars with Emma Strutt APD to answer your burning questions and bust the most common myths about plant-based nutrition.
2. You’ll be in great company
No Meat May attracts participants from all over the world, of whom around 20% are from Australia and New Zealand. Founded in Sydney in 2013, this positive program has gone global and grown rapidly year by year, hitting well over 65,000 registered participants last year, with informal participation of friends, family members and work colleagues bringing the estimated number to over 130,000.
The three most commonly cited motivations among participants are: to improve their health, live more sustainably, and for the food – cooking demos, recipes and inspiring practical tips.
3. This is the planet-friendly lifestyle of the future
Based on last year’s results, we know that the average No Meat May participant reduces their food-related greenhouse gas emissions by at least a quarter – although the potential is far more: switching from a standard Australian diet to a vegan diet can cut a person’s food-related emissions by over 80%. No wonder going plant-based has been found to be the single most effective action we can take to curb climate change through our daily choices.
Along with the climate benefits, this sustainable shift has interconnected benefits for ecosystems and biodiversity, soil, air and water quality, freshwater supplies, and ensuring future generations can thrive within planetary boundaries.
4. You could spare up to 30 animals
Yes, that’s approximately one animal a day, for a person who goes from a standard Western diet to completely vegan!
It may seem too high at first glance, but the numbers add up when we bear in mind indirect animal deaths, whether it’s male chicks killed in the egg industry, marine animals caught as ‘bycatch’, or those that are fed to other farmed animals. There’s also the sad reality of deaths that happen on farms and in transit, estimated at around 5% in Australia. When we also consider small animals such as prawns, we see how quickly the count rises.
5. You’re likely to see real health improvements
After taking part in No Meat May, participants report eating healthier diets, reducing their risk of chronic diseases by replacing animal products with the good stuff – including high-fibre fruit and veg, fat-free legumes and pulses, and nutrient-rich nuts and seeds.
With all the evidence about the power of healthy nutrition to add years to our lives and life to our years, every meal that packs in more plants and less meat is a win – and a month is long enough to experience some noticeable changes, too, from better digestion and more energy to clearer skin and naturally shedding excess weight.
6. You’ll be doing your part to combat world hunger
There’s been no shortage of headlines about food shortages in recent months, and sadly world hunger is growing as a result of climate change, conflict, and economic turbulence.
The good news is, even small shifts in allocation of crops from animal feed to direct human consumption could substantially increase global food availability. In fact, if the whole world went plant-based, it’s estimated that everyone could be well-nourished on just a quarter of the agricultural land used today.
Calculations from last year’s No Meat May challenge estimate that the diet changes made during the month alone would have saved over 2000 tonnes of crops.
7. You’ll kickstart new habits that set you up for ongoing success
Although there’s mixed research about how long it takes to establish new habits, a 31-day run will undoubtedly get you well on your way, especially when you’re getting guided support and joining in with others who share similar goals. Making a time-limited commitment to yourself is a great way to take the first step (often the hardest part), and is long enough to prove to yourself that you can overcome previously perceived barriers – building self-efficacy in the process, a powerful ingredient for making positive life changes.
The No Meat May program has also been designed and refined over its 8 years to set you up for success, with its mix of resources, information and support – and participant surveys and feedback show that it works, with 93% of participants deciding to continue with changes after the challenge.