It’s that time of year again, National Vegetarian Week; when vegans and vegetarians are in the spotlight, waving fruits and vegetables at you from all manner of directions. Coming at this as a vegan, obviously I would be an advocate of that lifestyle, but any step in the right direction is a good one!
Whether it’s having a taster of a vegetarian dish you haven’t tried, or giving the Meat Free Mondays thing a try! Or just finding out a little bit more about what it means to be vegetarian/vegan, and the numerous benefits, not only to animals, but to yourself and the environment.
One of the main benefits of the vegetarian diet, is that it’s better for animals. Many people are aware of the reasons behind this, and the ethical basis of this lifestyle choice. Around 2 million animals are slaughtered every day (and that’s just in the UK). You’ve heard all about the tight cages, and chickens sitting in their own waste. I don’t need to emphasise the point here. Animal welfare is not good. Animals suffer just for food. It’s not right.
Since becoming vegan, such a wealth of food options have opened up to me, and it’s quite evident that we really don’t need meat (or any other animal product for that matter). There’s protein from many, many places (including quinoa, brown rice, barley, beans, lentils, soy, nuts and nut butters, tempeh and tofu). Don’t let the protein police tell you that it’s only meat it comes from! Some of my favourite meals include bean chilli, beetroot risotto (shown below) and veggie curries/Chinese. It’s really easy and it really makes you learn how to cook. A great start too, is a yummy veg box from WholeGood.
So, besides keeping the animals from harm, what are the other benefits of being vegetarian? Here are just a few:
a) Sustainability – feeding and grazing livestock uses lots of resources, including land, water and fossil fuels. Growing vegetables, pulses and grains use much less of these resources, and are therefore more sustainable over time. If you grew vegetables and grains in all of the extra space it takes to graze animals, there wouldn’t be so much worry about running out of food in the future.
b) Climate/Environment – cows release loads of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Methane has a much greater effect on climate than carbon dioxide. Less cows for meat = less greenhouse gases = happier planet!
c) Last but not least, it’s healthy! Even David Cameron has encouraged cutting down on meat, as have the NHS. Without going into any science stuff, meat contains lots of fat. Even the leaner chicken. Cutting down just one day a week will have you noticing the difference – trim and lean, and feeling lots more energy… hence the previously mentioned jumping around! Plus, it’s really easy getting your 5+ a day when cooking with more veggies.
So not only can you feel good, for doing your bit for animals and the environment, but you can look good too. Want to lose a few pounds, reduce your meat intake and you’ll do it without a bother… as long as you carefully stay away from the fattening vegan/vegetarian cakes on offer everywhere!
To find out more about National Vegetarian Week, just click the link in the text and perhaps TAKE THE CHALLENGE and sign up to eat meat free for this week! Enjoy the new flavours and combinations it will open up for you!