Cheesed off

Try out a plant-based diet

If you’re looking to take a healthy bite out of your environmental impact, this is a big one. By choosing more meat-free and dairy-free meals each week over the next two months you’ll really be doing something good for the planet.

What’s more, cutting down on the cheese and meat could help keep your heart ticking healthily.


Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Climate Change

Cows burp. A lot. And pigs eat. A lot.

Roughly 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by livestock and their products.1 That’s more than is produced by transport, worldwide!

These emissions come from deforestation (to make space for growing animal feeds) and the methane gas in cow-burps. There’s also the energy-intensive production of fertilisers and all the transport involved.

Animal Welfare

From horse meat scandals to battery-farmed chickens, a common motivation for going vegan is poor animal welfare.

For a glimpse into the reality of how our food is treated, just listen to Jonathan Safran Foer.Or, if you really want a raw idea of what’s going on, watch Earthlings. Warning: not for the faint hearted. If you can stomach this, you can stomach anything (except meat).


It’s a myth! Vegans are certainly not destined to a life of frailty. If the growing movement of vegan athletes and runners bucking the sickly stereotype isn’t enough to convince you, check out these bodybuilders proving you don’t need to munch on meat to be strong!

If you want to make sure your nutrition is up to scratch, The Vegan Society is happy to help.

But even if you’re not aspiring to ultra-marathons or bodybuilding competitions, eating too much cheese, ice cream and red meat is bad for us – particularly our waistlines and arteries. Meat and dairy are the main source of saturated fats in western diets, and their growing popularity is partly responsible for the huge increase in cases of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and bowel cancer.


of agricultural land is used up by livestock, providing grazing land and feedcrop.2


Producing food for a meat-eater requires four and a half times more land than producing food for a vegan, according to agricultural scientists.2 And we can't grow land.

The primary driver of tropical deforestation is to make space for agriculture.3 Aside from staggering greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation leads to a whole host of problems: it displaces local communities; causes social unrest and corruption; disturbs rainfall patterns; increases flood risks; contaminates rivers; and endangers native species.

Basically, it’s bad news.


Our consumption of animal products contributes to more than one-quarter of humanity’s water footprint. The water needed to produce feed is the major factor behind the water footprint of animal products. It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that the overuse of water has been linked to worsening droughts in the USA.

Global Goals

In September 2017, an historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Cheesed off' pledge, you are contributing to the following SDG targets (this one hits a lot of them!):

3.4: By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

6.4: By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally

15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species


Going vegan for a few meals a week isn’t tricky. With a few good recipes and tips on what to include you’ll be well on your way. Here’s a handy guide to eating a diet that’ll keep you - and the planet - in tip top condition. .

The Vegan Society have a good range of recipes that will get you started. Give their moussaka a try and let us know how it goes? Veganuary have also curated a great selection of vegan recipes from around the world. Yotam Ottolenghi's amazing cookbooks are among our favourites when it comes to vegetarian and vegan recipes - particularly Plenty and Plenty More.

Eating out doesn't have to pose a challenge - check out all the restaurants offering vegan-friendly menus

To make the transition that bit easier, why not have your fresh veg delivered to your doorstep? Veg box schemes like Riverford, Abel & Cole or Farmdrop (and many more) provide irresistible hampers full of delicious vegetables, which you can easily tailor to meet your household needs.

Success Stories


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Wow - I can't believe two months is up already! How time flies when you're having fun! ;)

it's a challenge to change, but not so difficult once you try!

Over the course of the challenge nearly every meal I cooked or ate at home was vegan. When I ate out, I ate vegan if available, but if not then vegetarian. I am continuing with this even now the challenge is over.

Hard with a family and wanting to be quick in the evenings. I started off well but probably more like once a week vegan for the latter stages

This was a great and fun task. I have tried tons of new food and loved it! Will definitely be keeping this up!

Managed at least 5 vegan meals a week and feeling healthier for it!

I don't drink any milk at all, have radically cut down on eggs (can't remember the last time I had one?) and butter and cheese. The only cheese I ate was the leftovers of an organic cheese that was going to go in the bin at the end of a party :)

I managed this completely and I've decided to stick with vegan breakfast but there's no way (at this stage) that I could go full vegan.

When eating out in some places with limited choice I caved in and eat non-vegan, but at home I was pretty much 100%.

I have gradually increasing my vegan meals with the help of some excellent vegan cookbooks!

- Stopped buying cow milk entirely and now only have oat milk in my tea and cereal. - Considered carefully whether or not I needed to add cheese to meals.

Some delicious vegan meals, great flavouring. Enjoyed it more than I thought! Recipes tend to have too high quantities but freezing and enjoying again is good.

We had lots of fun swapping snacks and baking to vegan ones. Kids really enjoyed it.

Didn't miss it! We specifically eat minimal beef now, and have seriously cut down on the dairy we eat as well.

Found it quite easy once I got in the habit of using milk alternatives. Thai, Indian and cheese-less mexican food made cooking vegan fun and tasty!

Doing Veganuary and intend to keep a couple of Vegan days each week and stop drinking cows milk in coffee

I've become a 'flexitarian' and am loving it. Purchased a vegan recipe book and I'm enjoying cooking without meat!

Vegan in the week :) Treat myself to fish at the weekends!


  1. Livestocks Long Shadow - FAO
  2. Spedding, C.R.W., ‘Food for the ‘90s: The Impact of Organic Foods and Vegetarianism’, 1990 pp. 231-241
  3. NASA Earth Observatory


7. 9. & 11. Do The Green Thing