Sunday, 12 February 2017

Meat Free January

For a few years now I have been toying with the idea of becoming a vegetarian, or at the very least cutting down on meat. I am still undecided on whether or not I agree with the idea of eating meat. But what I definitely disagree with is the factory farming of meat. The mass production of meat is an ugly truth that most of us, including me, have chosen to ignore. I’ve seen so many horrific videos and yet I somehow manage to shove them deep down into the depths of my unconscious whenever a juicy burger appears under my nose. 

My sister turned vegetarian a couple of years ago. She has the odd meat cheat now and then, usually just for the Christmas dinner. However for the most part she stands firm in her vegetarian ways. Seeing how she has managed to do this with ease inspired me to give it a go myself. I have tried to give up lots of things throughout my life, including smoking and chocolate. What always works best for me is setting an end date. As soon as I try to give something up forever I cave within a couple of days. Every year I give something up for lent and I have not failed one yet. When I first wanted to give up smoking I did Stoptober. So when I heard that people attempted meat-free January I thought this would be the perfect time to test the vegetarian waters. 

So on the first day of 2017 I vowed to renounce meat for the whole of January. No more full english breakfasts, no more Sunday roasts and no more (cue sobbing) burritos. Firstly I was kind of at a loss for what to eat for three meals a day without meat. How many meat-free meals could there be? After doing a lot of research I discovered there’s actually a decent variety of ways to chop and cook vegetables. A few of my favourite dishes that have been added to my regular household menu include vegetable pie, vegetable tartlets and stuffed peppers. What I found was that a lot of my favourite meals tasted mostly the same. For example, curry is one of the most cooked meals at my flat. Mainly because the boyfriend would eat it every day if he could and there’s only so often you can say no. But most of the flavour from this comes through the sauce with the herbs and the spices. So although I had switched the chicken for sweet potato the taste wasn’t all that different.

What I struggled with the most was eating out. To be honest this was something I was expecting. I knew there were less vegetarian options out there than meat options, but I don’t think I fully appreciated that until it directly impacted me. I went to one place that advertised itself as having a full vegetarian menu upon request, which turned out to be a lie. This left me with three vegetarian starters and no mains to choose from. Thank god for chips! But I don’t think it’s been an entirely bad thing. I have tried several new and delicious dishes which I would otherwise not have given a second thought to, and I have also saved  a bit of money (most of the time the vegetarian option is cheaper). Another positive is that I can spend forever looking through a menu trying to decide what to eat, changing my mind every ten seconds. With a smaller range of options this becomes less of a problem. Extremely useful for someone as indecisive as myself.

I actually found the whole experience a lot easier than I thought it would be. I figured I would be obsessing about meat within the first week and would end up standing with my hands and nose pressed against the glass of Chilangos (the burrito place near my work). Alas the month flew by in a haze of parsnips and carrots without a craving in sight. As it was easier than I thought I have decided to carry this on into February. I almost slipped up the other day when I went into Subway. I keep forgetting that I’m trialling vegetarianism, I was actually about to give my standard order of Italian BMT before I made my excuses and hurried away. Right now I feel like I may eat meat in the future, if it is from a butchers where the animals had a decent life. But for now, while I find it easy and I’m still unsure where I stand moral-wise, I am going to stick to being a vegetarian.


1 comment

  1. How was your meat free January? Did you manage to cut off meat? Iga x


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