I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure at some point in your life, you have, at the very least, had the thought about whether or not you could stop eating meat, right? I guess that a lot of us just dismiss this thought from our minds; “no bacon in the mornings? No Sunday roast dinner? Just think of all the things I would be denying myself, I just couldn’t, uh uh, not me, no way” and so on…But what do we really have to lose by at least giving the idea some more thought and possibly giving it a try? Well, like many others, we think we have the answer; we don’t have a whole lot to lose, but we might have a lot to gain!…
Unless you live under a far-flung rock way out West, you probably know that consuming, at the very least, less meat than we currently do as a society, is a good thing. There are three BIG reasons why we should eat less or no meat.
- Your health. It can have positive effects on your health such as weight loss (believe me!) and a reduced risk of certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. I told you they were good reasons! If you are worried about getting a sufficient source of protein or calcium, seriously, don’t be! A diet based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains provides more than enough of everything the body needs. More on this in a later post…
- The animals. A meat free or reduced meat diet means less demand for operations that produce “mass meat” such as the industrial sized chicken sheds which we have, thanks to the internet, all now seen inside. Such conditions, which exist for chickens and most other animals reared solely for human consumption, and the manner in which these animals are “disposed of” are simply not natural and not sustainable in the long term.
- The environment. Large-scale meat production is horrendous for our environment. The agriculture industry has to satiate a huge demand for meat and this is responsible for a large portion of the emissions contributing to global warming, damage to our rivers and oceans and deforestation, much of which is irreversible.
Now, for the sake of a balanced conversation, at least with myself, I have tried to think of the possible benefits of eating meat.
- Personal pleasure of some kind.
So, assuming you don’t have a unique dietary requirement, you are not part of an extremely remote community that grows its own animals for food, you are not a member of a nomadic tribe or an Inuit, I guess we can pretty much ignore reason 2 for including meat in our diet.
This leaves only personal pleasure as a positive reason to continue eating meat. Let that sink in.
By pleasure we are talking about taste. Now, even we have to admit to the occasional craving for meat, developed by eating the stuff for 28 years, but surely this personal gain is outweighed by the potential harm to our health and certain catastrophic damage we are doing to animals and the environment.
So how can we combat this craving for meat? That’s simple; learn how to cook meat-free dishes that are even more bloody delicious than their meat counterparts! With an abundance of helpful online resources, we can cook simply amazing dishes without meat, believe us! Once we stop eating meat we are forced to look elsewhere at different varieties, sources, foods from different countries etc. There are so many amazing foods available that we can have a much more varied diet without eating meat! Our repertoire in the kitchen has certainly increased. Before long you’ll have forgotten those cravings and be much better off for it!
So, “that thought” I mentioned earlier combined with the three points above to stop consuming meat, provided us with a light bulb moment and enough incentive to go meat free in March 2015. This was a decision that took quite a long time to make, it wasn’t like we both woke up one day and suddenly couldn’t eat meat anymore, far from it! The thought process was a long one and involved periods before we really “stopped” where we were only eating meat once or twice a month. The point I want to make is that it is a hard decision and it is one that needs to come from within. Some of us just need a little help sometimes 🙂
Almost a year on without eating meat, what do we know now that we didn’t before? Well, on a very personal level, I feel much lighter and full of energy after meals and my discomfort after eating has almost completely disappeared! We also know that we look and feel better both physically and psychologically. We also hope that we are, however small, making a contribution to better health in the future for ourselves, treatment of animals and we hope we are also leaving less of a footprint on the earth and the environment.
Check out our other blog posts for some healthy meat free recipes and feel free to share yours, we are always looking for new ideas in the kitchen!
We would really love to hear your thoughts on this post and any experiences you have! Please feel free to share this post with friends and anyone who has gone, or is thinking about going meat free, spread the word!