For the last few months, my husband and I have been trying to eat less meat.
I guess the first thing you need to know about us is that we are seasoned meat eaters. Literally, we had it with every meal. Every. Meal. And more often than not, there would not be room for veggies. Lately though, I've been hearing a lot about the problems with meat.
I know that (among other facts), for example:
1. It contributes to global warming
2. Treatment of the animals is often questionable
3. Due to demand for nicer, leaner cuts of meat, the animals are fed on awful diets or pumped with chemicals
4. I've also heard in the last few weeks that processed meat can increase your likelihood of getting cancer by up to 40% . . . and I know that I can't afford organic meat.
It's all scary stuff.
I'll be honest though, it was me who initiated the change, Joe was not all that up for it. And then he watched a documentary called Game Changer on Netflix. This is something I've heard a lot about recently - it's been scaring a lot of people; in fact, two of our friends went vegan straight after watching it. Joe, however, is a scientist, things do not scare him easily unless he can see the reasoning behind it, and establish that the science is science and not populism. Immediately after he said 'I think you were right to make us eat less meat'.
I started taking it really seriously.
The answer then, for us, was this: eat less meat and wean ourselves off it.
Backing up our decision were studies that looked at human longevity, and communities that lived longer. Without fail, the people who lived the longest, healthiest lives, were those who were on a vegetarian diet, eating fresh vegetables. One study on veganism also concluded that:
Every three per cent increase in calories from plant protein was found to reduce risk of death by 10 per cent. The figure rises to 12 per cent for risk of dying from heart disease.
Wow, I can't get over a figure like that, especially for someone who has a lot of heart problems in the family.
At first we limited our meat meals to one a week. We began building up vegetarian recipes we really liked (see below for some). After allowing for meat lunches for some time, I've now switched to vegetarian lunches, with halloumi featuring heavily (yes, it's not the perfect answer, but it's better, and I'll get there) . And I have to say, I don't miss meat. In myself, I feel lighter and healthier, and my IBS plays up far less.
The results on our pockets speak for themselves too. Our average spend on food used to be around £60 a week, it's gone down to £35. This will also drop again I hope, when we start growing our own veg this year. I want to feed the rabbits entirely from our garden, and try to produce about 20% of our diet from it, saving even more money. Though I am a totally novice gardener, I'm going to try anyway. Let's see how we go.
What do you think? Are you vegan or vegetarian? Got some easy, delicious recipes to share? Have you found that you feel better, lighter, healthier? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come find me on instagram @howellillustration - I would really love any input on this, and especially any tips and tricks!
For a gorgeous tomato and courgette risotto: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/tomato-courgette-risotto
For a delicious paneer-based meal: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/saag-paneer-kedgeree
For a satay-inspired health food hit: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/satay-sweet-potato-curry
I hope you love them!