We keep hearing it everywhere, don’t we? We need to eat more plants and less animals.
A myriad of reports over the years, including those by the IPCC and Harvard, link meat consumption to environmental destruction, climate change and even cancer, to name but a few issues. Not to mention the 6.4 billion land and sea animals that are killed each year to feed people in the UK.
There are many arguments for reducing the amount of meat you eat: for your health, the planet, and the animals. You can read more about them here.
Even if the idea of giving up meat completely is too much, most of us know that we should be cutting back a little on the meaty meals. So where do we begin if the idea of going full veggie or vegan isn’t an option for you?
1. Meat Free Mondays
Sign up with their not-for-profit organisation online for some excellent recipe ideas: https://meatfreemondays.com.
Just giving up meat one day a week (15% of your meals) can be massively beneficial for your health and the planet.
3. Make a meal plan
As the old adage says, ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’. Ensuring you have a fridge full of delicious fruit and veg is important, so you don’t find yourself scrolling through take-away menus.
4. Read up on industrial meat production
Ignorance really is bliss when it comes to the realities of animal agriculture. It’s so easy to become detached from the truth of animal welfare, hygiene, living conditions and slaughter methods when we can pick up our nicely packaged fillet from the meat aisle. It’s difficult to connect the dots between something that’s marketed as food for us and an animal’s life, but if you truly want to move away from over consumption of animal products, you may find this to be very effective.
5. Add protein
Lentils, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all excellent ways to add healthy, guilt-free protein to your meals, leaving you fuller for longer and ensuring you have all the energy you need.
It’s easy to get caught in a meat and two veg rut and this is a great opportunity to start to experiment with different textures and flavours. There’s a huge array of fruit and vegetables out there to create delicious meals and snacks and eating seasonally means it’s difficult to get bored as your diet will alter with the seasons.
7. If you do buy meat, buy the best you can afford
Meat from the butchers or the meat counter at your local supermarket will be a little pricier but if you can afford it, you’re more likely to be buying local meat, with grass fed options being available to you. Choose meat on the bone so you can make stock from the carcass. This can be used for gravies and soups and is a great way to create zero waste.
8. Add ‘meaty’ textures
A lot of vegetables are almost indistinguishable from meat when cooked in the same way as meat or with sauces. Try mushrooms in place of mince in a Spaghetti Bolognese or cauliflower ‘wings’ in buffalo sauce.
9. Avoid processed foods
Cooking whole foods from scratch is not only a much better option for your health but you’ll feel much more satisfied with your meal.
10. Try adding a meat alternative
Yes, we have literally just said to avoid processed foods, and there’s no avoiding that meat substitutes are processed. However, as the occasional treat, an imitation burger or bacon sandwich is pretty hard to beat. Meat alternatives have come a long way over the last couple of years and some of the products are almost impossible to tell whether they’re meat or plant based.
Take a look at our Top 5 Meat Alternatives.
Reducing or eliminating meat from your diet doesn’t have to mean you’re missing out. Gone are the days of the vegetarian option on a menu being a side salad. There are some incredible innovations on the market for those wanting to eat food that tastes and smells like meat and the possibilities of what you can create on a plant-based diet are endless! Give it a try and let us know if you have any other tips to help other people on their meat free journey!