You’re invited to join us for Meat Free Mondays!
It's the month of #veganuary where people ditch the meat and dairy to try eating vegan for a month. More people than ever are turning towards vegetarianism and veganism, but if you’ve never thought about it before it can be a bit overwhelming. I know a lot of vegans can come across as ‘holier than thou’ and there never seems a lot of space to ask questions.
I became vegetarian eight years ago because I really didn’t like vegetarians. I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t eat meat, so I decided to research into it. I fell down a rabbit hole of information that was eye-opening. Even then, it was a year before I really embraced being a vegetarian, and over the last eight years I’ve yoyo’d along the line from strict vegan to ‘flexitarian’ and ‘localist’.
So, The Good Life Refill is inviting you to join us for Meat Free Mondays for 2021. Every Monday we’ll share an article on a different meat-free topic, breaking down the arguments and the lingo, and we’ll post a recipe for inspiration. Think of it like a non-pretentious and no pressure guide… a little food for thought.
Why bother reducing how much meat you eat?
Here’s four fact bites to start you thinking:
1. It really is better for the planet
Agriculture is one of the big contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, with red meat (e.g. beef, lamb) and dairy (milk, cheese, etc.) causing the most damage. Estimates place emissions at 25% to 56% of the total. The other big contributors being transportation, industry, and electricity production.
The added emissions are mostly from the animals themselves, but there’s the added factor of land use and land destruction. Meat farming worldwide is a big cause for land destruction (remember the Amazon rainforest fires?). In the U.K., the majority of land is used for farming – this is land that could be used for carbon absorption, such as planting forests, restoring peatland, or planting energy crops.
Cutting out meat is one of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the climate and force industry and governments to uphold their carbon neutral promises.
2. Good for your health
Did you know you’re supposed to eat at least 20 different foods a day? Variety really is the vitality of life. The more variety of fruits, vegetables and grains you can eat, the better your immune system and overall health.
We’ve become a bit obsessed with protein as a fad diet, and most people think this means meat first. The World Cancer Research Fund and the British Heart Foundation recommend that we “choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat.”
Cutting out meat drastically reduces your chances of developing cancer and heart disease, as well as reducing your chance of a stroke.
3. Save money
The average UK family spends £15.70 a week on meat and fish, with £5.10 and £4.50 being spent on fresh vegetables and fresh fruit respectively. The cost of meat has risen 10 per cent since 2007, yet most of the staples of a meat-free diet are comparatively cheaper: plant proteins such as dried beans or lentils typically cost less than the equivalent amount of animal protein.
You can make your money go further and have more meals per pound.
4. Animal Compassion
We don’t like to think about it but meat comes from animals. Billions of animals are farmed and killed each year, most of them living in cramped and overcrowded cages, sheds and pens. With no room to stretch limbs or wings and no access to daylight or fresh air, intensively reared animals are often diseased, injured and dying due to the unnatural conditions they are kept in. Whilst British farming standards are better than most, it’s worth considering that agricultural animals show the same capacity for intelligence and affection as our beloved dogs and cats.
I’ve left this one for last as it’s often the most controversial, but I’d ask you to think about it: Can you really farm and kill compassionately? Can it be done on the scale that current demand for meat requires?
Going meat free reduces the amount of animal suffering in the world.
There are so many more reasons but those are some starters. It’s not an easy switch to make though. In fact, I would absolutely not recommend going cold turkey… Those that jump straight from meat with every day to completely vegan are more likely to revert within two years.
Enter Meat Free Mondays. Even just one day a week can make the world of difference. Committing to one meat free day a week can give you the confidence to build up a bank of recipes. This is your chance to effect real change and to enjoy sustainable food with massive health benefits. What are you waiting for?