How #meatfreemonday could save our planet

20 April 2017 by
First published: 17 February 2016

The devastating impacts of climate change are clear, and it’s important that we all do our bit, so here’s how #meatfreemonday could save our planet. Our world is warmer than ever before, and people and wildlife are already suffering the consequences. That is nothing compared to what we’re leaving future generations if these trends continue. Climate change is one of the most severe problems we are facing today, as it remains a top ranked problem on our world leaders never ending ‘to fix’ list. I am no saint myself, but I am definitely aware of the carbon footprint I am leaving on our beautiful planet. I know this is an issue that cannot be solved by a single individual, but we can all pull together in an effort to look after and preserve our ‘home’. We simply don’t have the infrastructure to ‘go green’ completely… yet! The good news is that many of us are becoming more concerned about reducing our carbon footprint by making ‘greener’ choices, such as cycling to work (when possible), using natural beauty products, consuming less, monitoring electricity consumption and even opting to go vegan.

As a sportsperson, my diet is incredibly important to me. I am always interested in learning more about what I am putting into my body, as well as the effects the foods I consume have had on the environment. Although I am not a vegan, I have been incredibly interested in the ‘vegan movement’ over this past year. The World Health Organisation published a landmark report that classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans. Consuming just 50g per day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent, they found. Another published report by international think tank Chatham House identified animal agriculture as the leading cause of climate change, responsible for more emissions than all global transport combined. Pretty scary right? As much as I would love to say I would like to go vegan in a bid to help save our environment, the honest truth is that right now that won’t be possible unfortunately. However, If you are like me and would like to contribute positively to our environment, you can start by making small changes. Perhaps try to consume vegan foods from time to time (who knows, you may end up converting) or you could join in on the popular #meatfreemonday movement. Meat-Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign that aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat-free day each week.

The good news is that there are loads of great protein substitutes if you decide to go vegan. Here are my top four picks…

Green peas

Foods in the legume family are good sources of vegetarian protein, and peas are no exception: One cup contains 5g.


Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa—technically a seed—is unique in that it contains more than 8g per cup — including all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair but cannot produce on its own.


These can be tossed into salads, fried and salted as a crispy snack, or pureed into a hummus. Just 100g chickpeas contains 19g of protein, and they are also high in fibre but low in calories.

Tempeh and tofu

Foods made from soybeans are some of the highest vegetarian sources of protein; tempeh and tofu, for example, contain about 15g and 10g per half cup, respectively.