Meatless May – A Month of Meat Free Eating
Sustainable and environmentally friendly eating is something you will see come up a lot in this blog. I am not a vegetarian, a vegan, a hippie, or a crusader, but merely a concerned and saddened citizen who feels that we’re not trying very hard to ensure that even the NEAR future is protected from global disaster.
Recently I have become increasingly interested in eating less meat, and there have been three profound influences in my life recently that have triggered this:
1) Watching the documentaries Zeitgeist and Home, that have really awakened me to the damage we are doing to our planet through many areas, including mass food production. Cutting down the Amazon rainforest to grow cattle feed that is eaten by badly treated cows that are killed inhumanly then shipped across the world where they might not be sold and just get thrown out? Not my idea of responsible living.
2) Until last year I didn’t know anyone who was vegetarian or vegan, and now two of my good friends are. I suddenly found myself in a dinner party dilemma – what to do for the vegetarians/vegans? After only one party I was ‘offended’ at having to seemingly treat them differently. Offended on their behalf I mean - searching vegetarian-only books and websites, cooking ingredients I would never eat myself… it just felt.. wrong? I wanted my friends to feel comfortable in my home, rather than having to point out what they could and couldn’t eat, and making it seem like the vego dishes were just for one end of the table.
3) Watching too much River Cottage, especially the new Veg Every Day series. After #2, I wanted to be able to cook meatless food without labelling it ‘vegetarian’. I can’t stand this kind of foodie segregation that we give to most dietary choices – people who eat this vs people who dont eat that. River Cottage inspired me to satisfy both my ethical and environmental concerns, as well as feeding my friends without making a big show of it.
I am not a vegetarian, and I don’t think I ever will be as I do believe that we are omnivores and it’s okay to consume meat (my vegan friend disagrees, but I just ask her if she knows any vegetarian lions), plus I reeeeaally don’t like tofu or pulses. I do however now have strong feelings about only buying local, ethically produced meat that I am aware of how it’s been raised and killed; and having more vegetable based meals. I don’t want to have ‘vegetarian’ meals, just meals that don’t include meat.
In May I will be undertaking ‘Meatless May‘ and trying a month’s worth of meat free, all vegetable dishes – both to reduce my impact on the environment (if only for a short time) as well as understand more about how to feed my meatless friends. As it’s going into the cooler months I think this will be the perfect time to indulge, as I see a lot of vegetable curries, pastas and roasted roots in my future.
I know change is coming, and personally I would like to see western culture change its rather blase attitude towards meat and how it is produced. I’m not saying we should all become vegetarians, but I would like to live in a society where we eat less meat, and hold meat in a much higher regard than we do now. Far too much is wasted, and unlike plants, we can’t just throw a tiny seed in the ground and produce a cow – nothing sickens me more than supermarket shelves loaded up with animals that we all know will end up in the bin.