After joining the hype and watching the newest Netflix documentary Seaspiracy I thought I would do a post all about how to reduce the amount of meat and fish in your diet. I’m sure some people have watched and now be considering reducing their meat/fish intake, so I hope this post helps!
A little background into me and my vegetarianism, I’ve been a vegetarian for 3 and a half years now, and if you’d told me 4 years ago that I would be a vegetarian I wouldn’t have believed you. My family has always eaten meat and still continue to do so, but I have really tired to cut back on the amount of meat and fish I consume. The reason I became vegetarian is because on my semester abroad in Australia I met some girls that were vegetarian, they were vegetarian because of the impact the meat and fish industry had on the environment – I’d never heard this as a reason for being vegetarian before, and when they explained it all to me and pointed me in the direction of documentaries I was shocked and embarrassed at how uneducated I’d been. We would then cook dinner together every evening and that really helped ease me in to eating less meat and made it less daunting because I didn’t have to suddenly come up with loads of new meals to make. I’ve never been a really strict vegetarian and am known for enjoying McDonalds chicken nuggets after a night out, but I will never consciously cook/prepare a meaty meal for myself. If I’m going to a dinner party and the host is cooking meat, I’ll eat it for ease. I think this flexibility really helped me ease into vegetarianism and not be too restrictive.
With all the above in mind, I’m going to share some of my tips for anyone considering cutting down their meat/fish intake and becoming vegetarian:
- You don’t have to be all or nothing – one of the biggest problems, I think, is that people believe they have to be all or nothing when it comes to vegetarianism and veganism. But, if you’re someone who’s been a big meat eater throughout your life suddenly being labelled vegetarian or vegan could seem pretty daunting and could potentially stop people becoming vegetarian/vegan. The thing is though, you don’t have to be all or nothing. I class myself as vegetarian, but I would say I don’t eat meat 95% of the time but will sometimes eat meat on the rare occasion. This is what works for me. You don’t need to put a label on yourself, you don’t need to 100% commit to cutting out meat completely, maybe just cut it out two days a week. It will make a far greater impact if loads of people cut out meat two days a week than one person committing to be vegetarian 100% of the time. So, if you feel like what you’re doing is insignificant, it’s not.
- Don’t try to cook your favourite meaty meals with meat alternatives – this is something I wish I was told when I became vegetarian. Making spaghetti bolognaise with fake meat is never going to taste the same as cooking spaghetti bolognaise with meat, therefore don’t TRY to make it taste the same and then be disappointed, instead just cook something completely different.
- Find 5 new staple meals – when I ate meat my staple meals would be things like chicken curry, spaghetti bolognaise, sausage and mash and chicken pie, but as I said above, one of the worst things you can do is try to cook these meals with meat alternatives and expect them to taste the same, they wont. Instead you need to find new delicious staple meals. My go to veggie meals now are chickpea and spinach curry on sweet potato (SO good, shout out to Gousto for introducing me), 3 bean chilli, lentil stew (if you said to me 4 years ago that lentil stew would be one of my fav meals I’d have laughed in your face) and fajitas with halloumi instead of chicken!
- Make sure you’re getting enough protein – this is something I NEED to get better at. If you’re cutting meat out of your diet, chances are you’re going to need to start getting your protein from somewhere else (eggs, halloumi, chickpeas, protien shakes)
- Find your favourite meat alternatives – some of my favs. Naked Glory fake chicked and sausages, Caludron sausages, Richmond sausages, THIS chicken and bacon (although it looks gross). Quorn scotch eggs – these are a game changers, potentially better than the real thing.
If you want to learn more about the impact of the meat and fish industries on the environment I’d recommend watching Cowspiracy, Blackfish, What the Health, Gamechangers, Seaspiracy.
If you take anything from this blog post please let it be that you don’t have to be all or nothing. Do whatever works for you and think of being a meat eater and vegetarian/vegan on a spectrum rather than as binaries or labels with rules you have to adhere to.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan are there any other tips that you would share? And if you’re not a veggie or vegan, has this post made it seem a little less daunting?
Thanks for reading, Chloe x