In the last six months, over 50,000 South Africans have made the leap from meat-free Mondays to a more serious commitment to plant-based eating by signing up for a meat reduction challenge.
People around the world are choosing to eat less meat for environmental, health and ethical reasons. Despite the well-documented benefits of ‘going green’, for many South Africans, who have grown up in a country obsessed with meat, the idea of reducing the amount of meat they consume often seems daunting.
Making the transition smoother
This is where challenges like Vegan-uary and the Veggie Challenge can help to make the transition easier. The idea is simple: sign up for a month-long challenge to eat no, or less, animal products (depending on the challenge this could include meat, eggs and dairy) and the challenge organisers send you daily emails with recipes, tips and motivation to help you on your journey.
View this post on Instagram
Ever thought about eating less meat, trying a vegetarian diet, or even going fully plant-based, but not sure where to start? 🤔 We’re excited to announce the ProVeg Veggie Challenge! 🌱🙌 This year, for the first time ever, we are launching the campaign internationally. 🌍 Starting on March 1, our free online programme will provide you with helpful info, tips, recipes and much more to support you in your challenge. 💪 And every day we'll tell you the amount of C02, water, land and animals you save by eating more plant-based. . . . #proveg #provegza #prohealth #proanimals #challenge #veggiechallenge2020 #veganuary #tryvegan #projustice #proenvironment #plantbased #vegan #protaste
According to Donovan Will, the Director of ProVeg South Africa, South Africans like these kinds of challenges. “We’re a country that cares about our natural environment, and our health, so when we hear that there’s an easy way to make a big difference we are often quick to sign up.”
Veganuary, the challenge to go vegan in January, saw over 19,000 South Africans sign up this year, and the ProVeg Veggie Challenge – a free online challenge with options to sign up for 30 days of eating vegan, or vegetarian, or just a few meat free days a week – has had over 31,000 South African participants join over the last six months.
A network of support
Although the Veggie Challenge will run throughout the year, ProVeg is planning a special launch month in March, which will include several events for participants from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to attend. These will include cooking courses, dinner parties and film screenings.
Numerous prominent influencers have backed the challenge, including East Coast Radio DJ Thandolwethu, model Rati Lekalakala, gamer and Youtuber Grant Hinds and actress Sarah Kozlowski.
What’s driving the plant-based trend?
When asked about why there is so much interest in plant-based eating, Will explains that there are two main drivers:
“Firstly, the public is becoming more aware of the benefits of eating more plant-based. The health benefits include reduced risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and the environmental benefits are huge. Plant-based diets need a fraction of the water and land needed to produce meat, and cause much less pollution. And for those who love animals, plant-based is obviously great because animals don’t need to be killed.
He adds that there are also so many new plant-based options that eating less meat is easier than ever.
“These include products like The Fry Family Food Co.’s Chicken-Style Burger and Beyond Meat’s beef alternative burger, which is are so good that meat eaters can’t even tell that they’re not eating meat.”
View this post on Instagram
Your #meatlessmonday dinner is sorted thanks to @hudsonsburgers and its half-price special on all vegan mains including a variety of pizzas,. wraps and the Beyond Meat Burger🌱 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There's also a vegan milkshake on the menu– anyone tried it? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ _________________________________ #greenmonday #greenmondaysa #meatlessmondaysa #meatfreemonday #vegan #planttbased #jointhemovement #50by40 #beyondburger #veganburger #veganpizza #veganfood
If you are interested in giving the Veggie Challenge a try, it’s completely free, and you can sign up by visiting www.veggiechallenge.co.za.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.