Once considered a ‘niche’ lifestyle choice, there are now 2.1 million vegetarians in Australia (1), with increasing numbers of the population reducing the amount of meat in their diets.
Why? Well there are myriad reasons, including a reduction in diabetes, stroke and heart disease risk, reduced food waste, lower grocery costs and conservation of the earth’s natural resources (2). It’s also kinder to our animal friends. The renewed popularity of vegetarianism, veganism and the more flexible “reducitarianism”, can largely be attributed to successful social media campaigns!
“Reducitarianism” is a term used to describe people who aren’t quite ready to cut meat out completely, but are keen to just eat a little bit less. Perhaps the most famous example of this is #meatfreemonday, a not-for-profit campaign which was launched by former Beatles singer Paul McCartney in 2009.
It has spawned a global movement, garnering the support of celebrities such as Woody Harrelson, Sir Richard Branson and Jamie Oliver (3). Another campaign launched in 2014 that is receiving lots of attention this year in particular is Veganuary.
It encourages people to go vegan for the month of January and then to consider carrying it through the rest of the year. One of the most daunting things about going vegan for newbies is the fear that the food will be boring and deficient in key nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iron (which is of particular concern for women).
But these food movements are not just popular among celebrities and influencers. A recent study published in The Lancet, the world’s best medical journal, found that a diet lower in meat, especially red meat, was the healthiest possible diet for us and for the planet. The “Planetary Health Diet” has the potential to transform global food systems, making the provision of nutrient-rich food to the world’s population sustainable into the future (4).
Being a millennial, I naturally looked to Instagram for inspiration when deciding to reduce my meat intake. Here are my Top 5 veggie-focused Instagram accounts to start following. Even if you’re not into #meatfreemondays, or #veganuary, the food is seriously good.
The Happy Pear -@thehappypear
The “Happy Pear” is run by two Irish brothers, who own a vegan restaurant and are the authors of three vegan recipe books. They’re committed to mindfulness and wellness and regularly post vegan recipes, including one for the waffles above!
Ottolenghi – @ottolenghi
Yotam Ottolenghi is a celebrated chef and author. His restaurants in London are famous for their incredible baked goods and veggie-filled salads. Whilst he doesn’t post exclusively vegetarian recipes, he believes that vegetables should never be boring. And the noodles above definitely aren’t.
Georgia McDermott – @georgeeats
Georgia McDermott is a gluten-free, FODMAP-friendly pescetarian. Sounds intimidating, right? Well, through a great deal of experimentation (much of which she shares with followers via hilarious Instagram stories), she has developed amazing recipes which fulfil all of these requirements. Her vegan bolognese looks just like the real thing!
Jamie Oliver – @jamieoliver
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was one of the earliest, and most passionate, advocates for Meat Free Monday. A fervent believer in the power of good, nutritious food, he regularly shares recipes for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. He created this Mediterranean stew for #meatfreemonday.
Nisha – Registered Dietician @cookingforpeanuts
Choosing to eliminate or even just reduce the amount of meat in your diet is a big decision. It’s important to receive support from a health professional or nutritionist at some point in your journey, to make sure you’re still getting all the nutrients you need.
Nisha is a registered dietician and vegetarian, so you can trust that her recipes are helping you meet your daily food needs.
As a young foodie who’s also passionate about the planet, gradually reducing the amount of meat in my diet makes sense. Of course, this doesn’t work for everybody. But Instagram has proven an endless source of inspiration and support if you’re going veggie. And as these recipes prove, meat-free doesn’t have to mean flavour-free.
Image Credits (from top) – @thehappypear, @ottolenghi, @jamieoliver, @georgeats, @cookingforpeanuts.
About the Author – Rachael Dodds
Rachael has been a Studio Pilates client since 2002 and started working at Studio Pilates HQ in 2013. She is passionate about the transformative impact these classes have had on her physical and mental wellbeing. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) and Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) from the University of Queensland. She was an elite track athlete for 9 years, representing Australia at the Athletics World Championships in 2011 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.
- Roy Morgan Research, 2016. “The slow but steady rise of vegetarianism in Australia”, Finding No. 6923
- Meat Free Monday Foundation, 2019. “About”.
- Veganuary, 2018. “About”.
- Willet W et al. 2019. “Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems.”