Thursday, 28 February 2013

Guest Post

Do you have meat-free nights?

Many Australians grew up on meals of “Meat & Two Veg”. The idea of eating even one meat-free meal a week can be a bit daunting. Where to start? How do you ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients? But probably most importantly, why bother?

Eating just one meat-free meal a week can make a big difference. Since adding meat-free meals to our weekly meal plans I’ve noticed a reduction in our grocery costs – meat is expensive! It has also forced us to be more creative in sourcing recipes and we are trying meals that we’ve never tried before and learning new cooking techniques.

There are also the health aspects. A recent BBC study* found that adding an extra portion of unprocessed red meat to someone's daily diet would increase the risk of death by 13%, of fatal cardiovascular disease by 18% and of cancer mortality by 10%. That’s a little scary! By simply reducing the amount of meat you eat by one portion a week you can make a big difference to these statistics.

And then of course, there are the ethical considerations – with the affects on animal welfare and the environment. For many, these are important considerations yet the idea of going completely vegetarian is too daunting. By simply reducing the amount of meat eaten each week can help to ease these considerations. By buying ethical and sustainable meat during the rest of the week can also help.

A big deterrent for many people is actually knowing what to cook. Luckily, the internet is full of great vegetarian recipes and ideas. There are many fanastic vegetarian blogs (The Veggie Mama is one of my favourites) and a lot of the big recipe websites have great vegetarian sections. Most of the recipe magazines that can be found in supermarkets and newsagents are including vegetarian recipes now and of course there are fantastic cookbooks on the market, catering for simple, every day vegetarian recipes or something more fancy.

In a few weeks I’m going to be taking part in the Meat Free Week Challenge, a chance to raise some money for animal welfare and practice my vegetarian cooking at the same time. I encourage you to check it out.

If a whole week of meat-free meals seems a little too much for you, check out Meat Free Mondays, an inititave started by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney (yes that Paul McCartney). There’s a cookbook plus lots of great recipes and support on the website.

* statistics from here

Cassie blogs at The Flying Drunken Monkey about her constant struggles with housework, her attempts to be more organised and her little monkey, Lily. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

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