One January, 6 years ago, I thought I’d go vegetarian. It was when Veganuary was all the rage and while that sounded a bit too joyless for me, a month without meat seemed doable and frankly far less horrifying than the prospect of 31 days without booze.
I was teaching kids healthy cookery at the time (Parsnip, Pear + Poppyseed Muffin, anyone?) and wanted to take my experiments with veg a bit further.
A month of vegetarianism ensued and you know what? I enjoyed the month so much, we kept it up and rarely eat meat during the week but really look forward to a roast on a Sunday.
Why did I keep it up?
- I totally fell in love with vegetables in all their colourful glory. Riverford played a big part in this. I won 3 months’ worth of their vegetarian recipe kits and was frankly stunned at how good a vegetable-based dinner could taste.
- Money-saving. I cut at least £200 a month from my food bill.
- The other stuff: environmental, welfare, my family’s health
It’s not just that rearing livestock accounts for 14% of global carbon emissions, but that a breathtakingly huge amount of land is cleared weekly to grow feed for livestock (the Amazon’s tipping point, where it changes from lush, tropical rainforest to a desert wasteland, might only be 25 years away). Livestock and humans now account for 96% of all mammals. That seems a bit greedy, right?
Industrial-scale farming is also fairly unpalatable– I’m convinced if we were to have first-hand experience of how pigs are reared, it would put us off bacon butties for life.
In terms of health, while excessive consumption of red and processed meat (hams, sausages, salamis and paté for example) has been linked to bowel cancer and high cholesterol- even on the NHS website- chicken, turkey and pork seem beneficial to overall wellbeing.
But I’ll go out on a limb here– I reckon the more meat on the plate, the less room for nutrient-dense green stuff, fibre-filled legumes and protein-packed grains there is, all of which do make us much healthier. And I think most of you agree with that too- which is why our meal kits encourage you to make more of veg- even if it’s only 2 or 3 days a week.
We can also get our protein from much healthier sources; while oft-ridiculed, quinoa delivers all the amino acids (used for muscle repair) that a steak does at a fraction of the cost (to both pocket and planet) so just because the family is sporty, doesn’t mean they need meat. (My son is the second-fastest kilometre runner in the county with barely 2 portions of meat per week- he NEVER STOPS RUNNING), BTW, surprisingly, Serena Williams and Novac Djokovic are both vegan.
Top non-meat protein sources:
- cottage cheese
- beans, legumes + wholegrains (brown rice is jam-packed with protein
We’re launching November Nourish very soon, a protein-packed, 4 -week programme of new recipes and maximum nutrition to boost the immune system before the winter bugs come out. If you’re not one of our subscribers and fancy joining us for the month, watch out for the launch as we sold out in 3 days last year!
You can see next week’s protein-packed, nutrient-dense dishes here
Have yourself a fabulous weekend!