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Meat Free Week Info

Meat Free Week challenges participants to give up meat for seven days and raise funds for a great cause.
Are you up for the challenge? Register today and help make real change happen.

Source: Bowel Cancer Australia

Bowel Cancer Australia has announced the return of Meat Free Week, challenging Australians to try a plant-based menu for seven days and raise funds for a great cause. 

The campaign aims to get people thinking and talking about how much meat they’re eating, and the impact consumption has on health and the environment. 

Now in its seventh year, support for Meat Free Week continues to grow with international celebrity campaigners and chefs such as Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, of Meat Free Monday, Anna Jones and our own Hetty McKinnon, Bill Granger and Rowie Dillon getting behind the cause.

Studies show that bowel cancer risk increases by 17% per 100g of red meat consumed per day and by 18% per 50g of processed meat consumed per day. 

If you choose to eat red meat, research recommends limiting the amount to 500 grams per week and to avoid processed meats; such as bacon, ham and salami. According to The World Health Organisation, the consumption of processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. 

On average, Australians consume 565 grams of red meat per week. 

Bowel Cancer Australia’s National Community Engagement Manager Claire Annear said the campaign was created to support conversations around meat consumption, and to help people find simple ways to eat for better health. 

"Australians rank among the top in the world when it comes to meat consumption and 95% of us don’t eat enough vegetables or wholegrains."

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer with 103 people dying each week from the disease. 

"The latest findings show that eating three servings of wholegrains a day, such as brown rice, can reduce your risk of bowel cancer by 17%."

"Meat Free Week is all about awareness. For meat lovers, it’s not about promoting a complete shift to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The campaign supports a pause and for people to make more informed decisions if they’re eating over the recommended intake."

Everyone is invited to take the Meat Free Week challenge and discover how easy it is to make small changes that can create a big difference.

For more details, meat-free recipe ideas and to sign up, visit meatfreeweek.org. 

+ Health Statistics

  • Eating fruit and vegetables not only reduces risk of cancer and heart attacks, but also increases happiness levels with each extra portion consumed

  • Australia is ranked among the top meat-eating countries in the world (per capita), with the average Aussie consuming around 95kgs of meat annually

  • For those who choose to eat red meat, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting consumption to no more than about three portions per week (three portions is equivalent to about 350–500g cooked weight) and to consume very little, if any, processed meat

  • Australians consume an estimated 565 grams of red meat per week

  • Eating too much red meat (e.g. beef, lamb, pork, goat) has been linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer

  • Eating processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and some sausages has been strongly linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer

  • Eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and strokes

  • Plant-based foods can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and help you maintain a healthy weight

  • Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants may help reduce the signs and effects of ageing

  • Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season boosts gut health and reduces risks associated with inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer

  • Dairy products and calcium supplements are associated with a decreased risk of bowel cancer

  • Similarly, the consumption of 200 grams of milk or 200mg of dietary calcium per day was associated with a 6% decreased bowel cancer risk

+ Meal Tips

  • If you choose to eat red meat, limit the amount to 500 grams cooked per week and avoid processed meat.  When barbecuing, partly cook meat in the oven first to reduce cooking times on open flames or grills. Keep temperatures low and use marinades to protect meat from burning

  • Fill two-thirds or more of your plate with wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts and no more than one-third with animal protein such as poultry or lean red meat