No Meat May: Interview with the founder

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You’ll most likely have heard of Veganuary, but how about No Meat May? Along a similar vein, No Meat May is a campaign and registered charity which challanges people to stop eating meat for a month.

I was fortunate enough to secure an interview with Ryan Alexander, the co-founder of No Meat May. Read on to find out more about this event and what Ryan expects to see in the coming years.

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🥦nO mEaT mAy Is HeRe! 🥦⁠ ⁠ Welcome, welcome, to all of our incredible community! ⁠ ⁠ We’re so glad you’re on this journey with us, and we can’t wait to share a month of scrummy food with you all.⁠ ⁠ How are you feeling on your first day?⁠ Nervous, excited, scared? Don’t fret we’re here every step of the way to guide you through 31 days of doing good! And we guarantee it’ll get easier day by day! ❤️⁠ ⁠ P.S. It’s not too late to sign up and join us – It’s 100% free! 👆 Link in bio! ⁠ ⁠ ——————⁠ TIP OF THE DAY: Make it a lockdown party!⁠ The first rule of No Meat May club, is to talk about No Meat May club. The more people that sign up the greater the impact, and the more fun! So get talking, and invite friends, family to share this planet saving adventure. It’s not too late to bring in your besties. Who’s up for a skype pizza party?. ⁠ ⁠

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What is No Meat May?

“No Meat May is about giving up meat for the entire month of May, for four big reasons: to save our planet, end factory farming, improve our health and feed the world. Or as we also put it – a chance to become less of a meathead! We started the campaign back in 2013 in Australia, and it’s since spread nationwide, with 35,000 people currently making the pledge to ditch meat this month. We aim to be fiercely inclusive, non-judgemental and support everyone who joins us to make steps in the right direction. We are by no means about perfection, but about having fun, offering advice and showing people the delicious food they can enjoy as part of a meat-free diet.”

Why are you seeing a larger number of sign ups this year?

“There are a lot of people with extra time this year who are open to trying something new. With lockdown restrictions around the world, people are spending more time at home and in their kitchens. The timing of No Meat May this year meant that people had both the time and the desire to try something different, and I think many were looking to do something positive for both their health and the wider world.

“It’s encouraging to see that the shift to more plant-based eating continues during the pandemic. Our pre-campaign survey indicated that almost 40% of people taking part have concerns about potential links between the meat industry and public health. We’ve been working with doctors Gemma Newman and Shireen Kassam to continue to get this message out to the wider public and help people understand how a meat-free diet can improve individual health and decrease the risk of future pandemics.”

This video shows some of the reasons why people are signing up to No Meat May:

Do you think people will remain as health-conscious in the longer term?

“We hope so, it’s clearly a whole new world out there, and there may not be an after Covid-19.  It’s looking like this new nasty is here to stay, and we are going to have to recalibrate our lives around this new risk. We are hoping that when the dust settles that we all learn from the pandemic, better appreciate where it came from, and the huge risks of our current over consumption of meat and animal products both on our bodies and on public health.”

What regional differences are there in converting to plant-based diets?

“One of the best things about No Meat May is the global community where we see people from all corners of the globe taking part and sharing their culture and local experiences with each other. Clearly the best vegan cheese is different in every country, and availability of plant-based products is different based on where you live. This can make it harder for some people in smaller towns or countries with fewer vegans or vegetarians to take part, but that’s where that supportive No Meat May community steps in and helps connect people.

“It’s been wonderful to see people from countries where meat-free meals are the norm share traditional recipes, along with some of the ‘veganised’ and vegetarian creations from people who have turned their favourite dishes animal product free.”

Tell me more about your journey to veganism?

“Hearing Jonathan Safran Foer speak about his book, Eating Animals, was a major turning point in the road for me. It encouraged me to engage with what I was eating and start to ask more questions, and when I came to understand the true cost of what was on my plate, it became easy to make changes. Afterwards, I started to learn more about the negative impacts of animal agriculture systems, as well as unlearning many of the norms around eating meat. I took slow and steady steps, supported by my partner, who cooked great veg at home and made it a lot more accessible. While veganism won’t solve all the world’s problems, it’s clear to me that it will go a long way to reducing many of them.”

What do you think vegetarianism and veganism will look like in the future?

“I have no doubt that it will become the norm. One of the most exciting things, is that in the eight years since I’ve been vegan, many of the products that I had given up have since come back as plant-based, and I believe this will continue. I think the word ‘vegan’ will eventually drop away as plant-based eating becomes the default diet and living with compassion and wanting to do the least harm to animals, people, and planet becomes the dominant culture. I’m a huge fan of Simon Amstell’s tongue-in-cheek film, Carnage, where the vegans of the future look back on today’s society. If all vegans could laugh at themselves like this film laughs at us, we would get there a whole lot quicker, I reckon!”

If you’d like to find out more about No Meat May, visit the website here:

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