This blog post is not here to convince you to be a vegetarian... I am simply discussing my thoughts on the matter! Up until three months ago I ate meat pretty much every day of my life. As a child I was a fussy eater and it was only until a couple of years ago that I really started enjoying meat - especially a good steak... mmm!! But when I moved away from home again this year I made the decision to make some changes to my diet and cut right back to eating meat only once a week... I haven't touched meat since.
In a post I wrote back in August I looked at the tasting of the first lab grown burger - the possibility of being able to grow real meat and not slaughter countless animals, for me, is incredible... although the idea was met by the general public with a fair amount of animosity (you can see the post here). For the post I researched into the issues behind our meat eating society and was absolutely appalled to see how damaging eating meat is to our environment. I have toyed with the idea of vegetarianism all through my life, but seeing the stats behind the damage it does was finally enough to convince me to act: livestock farming ranks as one of the three greatest sources of climate changing emissions and one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation. It is just not sustainable.
I decided not to fully cut meat out of my diet, but to cut back to only eating it once or twice a week as I believe it is healthy and has been a part of our diets for thousands of years. I wanted to save up enough to afford free-ranging meat brought from a local farm. I believe that if everybody simply cut back to eating meat just once or twice a week we can reduce the impact of the meat industry saving on land space, water, methane emissions and rainforest deforestation. It actually is a great way of saving money too. What actually happened was that I enjoyed my vegetarian meals so much that I haven't had meat since...
You see instead of simply getting a hunk of meat out of the fridge and cooking it with potatoes, pasta or vegetables I had to start thinking my meals through... I began looking at vegetarian blogs such as www.tinnedtomatoes.com, and www.happyblueberry.co.uk and getting ideas to cook meals like spinach and ricotta cannelloni (see picture), veggie burgers, and tofu Thai curry. I'm eating a much bigger range of dishes and enjoying cooking so much more. I can't believe that I haven't missed meat... I have had every intention of eating meat again but when it comes to it I keep picking the vegetarian meals over meat. It is slightly more limited when eating out... but just think - the more people choosing veggie options out there the more options there will be!
I am not saying that everybody should be vegetarian, but I hope that I can convince some people to at least try out the veggie diet - you could start by having a "Meatless Monday" or perhaps a meat-free week? Find some recipes, try them out and see what a great range can open up to you!
Please take a look at this link and see what our meat-eating society is doing to our planet: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/18/vegetarianism-save-planet-environment