Vegetarian January: Day One - Introduction
We'll admit it: we're both big meat-eaters. C practically drools at the thought of a lamb shank, while A loves rare beef so much he'll only settle for oozing-with-blood. When faced with a challenge to cook a Christmas dinner for flatmates and girlfriends, A did a haunch of venison so large he practically had the whole corpse in the fridge, and naturally topped that off with sausages and bacon too for an extra meaty hit.
While we can't deny that we love the taste, C at least has long had qualms about eating meat (last year's trip to China did nothing to assuage her long-standing dilemma, borne from years of living in 'hippy' Brighton). Her thoughts can be fairly crudely summarised with the following: although she wishes she didn't like meat - because she suspects it would make her feel healthier, kinder to the environment and fairer to animals - she does. Simple as that, really. Or is it?
On New Year's Day, we watched film Vegucated on a whim. Although documenting American meat consumption, it was still a pretty stark reminder of a few home truths. We're not so naive not to be aware of where our meat comes from and how it ends up on our plates, or the fact that vegetarianism is better for the environment and for global poverty, but a film like Vegucated is enough to make even the most fervent meat eaters (case in point: A) think a bit harder about how much we really need to eat.
So, here's our mutually agreed plan for this month: Meat-free meals from 1st-31st January. Nervous A still wants to eat meat and fish once a week if he's craving it, so we're conceding on that, but aside from that it's a totally veggie month ahead for us.
What do we hope to accomplish?
- Weightloss: losing a few lbs this month after a season of gluttony would be a welcome benefit
- Health: vegetarians, according to various studies, are less at risk of heart disease, high cholesterol levels, arthritis and diabetes, and are more likely to live longer (!)
- Cheaper meals: cost of meat > cost of vegetables, pulses and grains, and this is particularly useful when we're looking at a year of travelling around the world and buying a house (eek!)
- Meat-free mindsets: we're creatures of habit, and so surely our current reliance on meat comes from over two and half decades of eating it several times a week. If we either avoid it or make it a real treat rather than a default, we'll hopefully be healthier, richer people - or something like that
At the end of the month, we'll see how we've got on, and whether we want to make mainly meat-free living a way of life... Or whether it'll be straight back to the salt beef...
Let's see how this goes!