It seems I have come full circle. As a child I would argue till I was blue in the face about eating vegetables. If it was green in colour, it was the last thing I would want to eat. Though I am still a fussy eater I have become a bit more adventurous and have even attempted some Meat Free Mondays. One of my now favourite dishes is chick pea burgers. By substituting meat for a patty made of chick peas I can still enjoy an indulgent burger without flashbacks to a childhood of arguing about the “yucky green stuff” on my plate.
Our parents probably used the old “but there are kids who don’t have food” argument on us in the hope that we would be grateful for the green goo on our plates. As it turns out, reduced-meat eating plans are eco-friendly and an integral part of maintaining a sustainable home. There are of course health benefits which are well documented (though I can’t find mental health benefits of eating greens).
Vegan Chocolate Cake
Meat Free Monday is a global initiative which calls for individuals and families to have at least one day each week where no meat is consumed. The numbers behind the initiative raise a few eyebrows: approximately eighty percent of land that is being used by humans is occupied by livestock. That land could be more efficiently used to grow other crops rather than being painstakingly maintained for grazing. Then there is the matter of cutting Carbon emissions – according to Meat Free Monday campaigners in the UK (which has Sir Paul McCartney as a founding member), if UK households halved their meat consumption the reduction in emissions would be far greater than if they halved car use. Simply put, eating less meat has more eco benefits than switching from an SUV to a small car.
If you are a carnivore and feel that the basic food groups should be beef, lamb, chicken and pork you should probably start slowly by having one meat-free meal. From there you can cut back to an entire day and perhaps more. You can also do your bit by keeping green principles in mind when you do decide to have a meaty dish – buy locally produced products (no imported meats – your steak should not have flown round the globe); opt for naturally grown free-range meat (you don’t want a burger produced from livestock that are more full of steroids than a bodybuilder do you?) and cut down on portion sizes.
Here are a few ideas for eco-friendly recipes:
• Kay Bushnell is a chef who focuses on preparing sustainable meals – take a peek at some of her recipes.
• And if you have a sweet tooth why not try these vegan and vegetarian desserts?