Editor’s note on May 6th: There has been a call in the US over the last couple of weeks for people to engage in Meatless Mondays.

This is in response to pleas from organizations representing the thousands of people employed in meat processing plants in the US. They have been deemed ‘essential workers’ and therefore obliged to turn up for work during the Coronavirus pandemic.

But, many factories do not have appropriate PPE and other safety measures in place, and in fact, many factory owners themselves prefer to close at this time. But following an order from the US President, Donald Trump, all meat factories are to remain open. Encouraging people to go meat-free on Mondays, The Meatless Mondays initiative believes that with less demand for meat from across the US (and the world), factories will be put order pressure to scale down production, therefore making it safer for staff. US Humane Society Meatless Monday Initiative

Yes, that’s a Veggie Burger…

(it’s from McGuinness’s Traditional Chipper on Camden St, Dublin 2 and we can’t believe we didn’t know about this place before…)

At Wasted, we are committed to finding new, alternative options for people looking at embracing a more plant-based diet. We certainly are not here to cast any judgment (or to demonize meat!), but simply to show people other alternatives now on the market, that may provide a delicious substitute from time to time.

We have researched a bunch of veggie / vegan burgers last year, but as more and more hit our restaurants and supermarket shelves every day, we will do another round of these soon (Watch this space!). McGuinness’s, here we come….

But, is the option of becoming vegan (even just for a month) a good choice to make, and will it really have an impact on our environment? We decided to take a closer look at the numbers.

The numbers: According to Veganuary themselves, 750,000 people from 192 countries joined the pledge. On New Year’s Eve 2019, Natalie Portman urged her 5.9 million Instagram followers to take the pledge. “Fight climate chaos with your fork,” she said.

We have seen an increasing number of Fast Food chains battling it out in recent months to bring consumers the ‘best’ or most ‘authentic veggie/vegan burger.

But, is it worth it just for one month? There are plenty of people that will argue that it is superficial to go vegan for just a month? Ewelina Augustin, who runs the online store Vegan Warehouse from Hoboken, New Jersey says “I would say there are mixed opinions about people doing this for 30 days.”

But officials at Veganuary say that this campaign was designed to reach people who are not ready to commit to becoming a vegan year-round. “We know that the largest hurdles for people going vegan are convenience and taste,” said Wendy Matthews, the group’s U.S. director in Los Angeles. “Veganuary exists to help people discover delicious plant-based food and see how easy it is.”

And even if someone doesn’t commit to veganism, there are still benefits. It is estimated that if Veganuary got 350,000 people to give up meat and dairy for a month, it would reduce carbon emissions by 45,000 tons.

That is more than a small difference.

Meat Free Mondays and Meatless Mondays are also garnering alot of support with people wanting to make a small difference, but not willing to go the whole hog (pardon the pun!)

Considerations: Whatever your reason for going vegan, we suggest that you take a few things into account. Firstly, start small. If you are a large consumer of meat and fish, perhaps eating less of this would be a nice break for your system. We could all do with eating more fresh fruit and veg and if one less ‘meat’ meal helps you to do this, that has to be a positive thing. Don’t beat yourself up if you try it and it doesn’t work for you. It’s not for everyone.

Don’t think that a vegan diet is all about nuts and chickpeas! There are some really delicious recipes and meals out there that ate veggie or vegan and we guarantee that you will be surprised! Eating out if / when you are practicing a veggie / vegan diet is not nearly as restrictive as it used to be. Most restaurants are embracing vegan options on their menus now.

But above all else, please do not make any rash change to your diet without researching it properly and perhaps speaking to your GP or healthcare professional. Your health is more important than any changes you may wish to make.

The Wasted Team