Tuesday, 18 March 2014
meat free week
From the ages of 18 to 36 I didn't eat red meat or chicken.
I found the hardest place to be a vegetarian was in Europe. And the easiest place was Asia!
I not only survived but thrived on my vegetarian diet. I produced three large, healthy babies (including twins) with only minimal iron supplement in my late pregnancies.
After I had children I found it harder to avoid meat. I didn't want to restrict the kids' diets, and their Dad occasionally cooked and ate meat. I started to feel like I was missing out, that I couldn't cook and eat all the wonderful dishes of the world and share them with my family.
I missed ham and mustard, bacon and eggs, beef in black bean and roast chicken. The foodie in me railed against my self imposed restrictions. So I gradually allowed meat back into my diet. I'm still not a meatie eater, but I do love the fact that these days I can go anywhere and eat anything.
These days as a family we are committed to eating well sourced, humanely raised meat in moderation. We only buy free range chicken and eggs and pork and pasture raised beef and lamb. We don't eat veal. Luckily those decisions become easier every day with mainstream suppliers catching up with a groundswell of consumer feeling, but we still have ways to go. It makes my heart ache to think of the conditions some animals endure in the name of food production.
Sometimes the amount of meat we eat creeps up, and so the year before last we had a healthy week and gave up meat to try and reset ourselves. Last year about the same time we tried the 5:2 diet and ate mostly vegetarian low calorie dinners twice a week for six weeks. I do think a mainly vegetable based diet is healthiest.
This year our healthy week coincides with an organised meat free week which starts next Monday.
I think this is such a great idea. Not only does this inclusive movement support eating less meat for health and sustainability reasons, it's about animal welfare. Its about ending factory farming and working towards more ethical food production. Something we can all embrace whatever our personal diet. Read their guide to Ethical Meat choices here. And if you haven't got the sustainable seafood app on your phone its a great help at the supermarket or fish shop.
At our house we are going to cut out meat (and alcohol) and also cut down on sugar and electronics for the week. The website has some great recipes to go with our old favourites.
Funnily enough my kids aren't big meat eaters, and they are always keen for healthy week. We try to make it fun and they particularly love the fruit and nut plate for dessert and the different healthy unprocessed options in their lunchboxes.
And the best thing is the effects roll on to see us eating healthier and eating less meaty for weeks after.
I'm going to post some different recipe ideas starting tomorrow to help inspire anyone who wants to join us on our meat free time. I'm going to post some old and new favourites and I'd love to hear yours!