Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Our Vegetarian Month

by Jennie Wadsworth
My husband and I decided, on our way back from holiday where we had eaten far too much, to try being vegetarian for a month. Our motives for trying it may have been different, I suspect he was trying to make me lose weight, I wanted to try something new, but our enthusiasm was the same.
I have also been wondering for some time about where our food comes from and some of the dubious farming methods that are sometimes used. We have always eaten free range eggs, absorbed the extra cost of free range chicken and organic salmon and bought British bacon but when I hear of the rainforest being cut down to make room for crops to feed the animals we eat I wonder if we have gone slightly mad.
If there is not enough land to graze animals and grow crops to feed them, surely we should need, and by this I mean eat, less of them. I don't have any problem with eating dead animals but don't see the point in killing habitats for endangered animals just to feed them so I can eat them. I felt the only way to do this was to go vege for a month and see how I felt about eating meat at the end of it.
We got home, looked through some recipe books, asked lots of friends for ideas and went off to do a meat free shop. It wasn't as cheap as I thought it might be but I think we have saved money over the month. There were a couple of challenges to face during the month.
Eating out was hard work as we usually stick to favourite restaurants but my husband couldn't face not ordering his usual and I did wonder what there would be to choose from. I was a bit annoyed really at only having about 10% of the menu to choose from, especially when one of the things I had particularly fancied and thought my 4 year old might eat, had run out. In the end I chose a main course that was nice and that my son loved but my husband's meal was barely edible and he gave up halfway through. I tried again at a different restaurant with just my children and felt that I could just say to the waitress 'one of everything vege please' and have just enough for 2 adults.
What we had was nice but limited. Another challenge was my daughter's birthday party. We wanted a barbecue as it was July but what can you put on a vegetarian barbecue?? We trawled the internet, asked loads of friends, wondered how much halloumi cheese a person could eat before they turned into one, before settling on a menu only to ditch it all on the day because it rained. We worried about what non vegetarians would eat and did ask parents to bring a couple of bits. Other people brought salads as requested and we had a great variety of vegetarian foods which were enjoyed by all.
My brothers wedding also posed a problem as there was only one vegetarian option which my husband didn't like the sound of so he sidestepped that day and went for a steak and ale pie. I probably would have chosen the vegetarian option anyway so it was not a problem for me. I was pleased not to have been asked to my mother-in-laws for dinner during the month as I don't feel strong enough to say 'I don't eat meat' especially as I haven't decided yet. We ate some delicious meals this month and have been adventurous about trying new foods. Goats cheese is now a favourite when previously it have been eeewwwwed! by the rest of my family. Roasted veg with halloumi instead of fish with my chips was a definite winner. And my husband made a lovely 4 cheese pizza for me and my friends that will be remembered for a long time.
Now that the month is up my husband is looking forward to eating meat again but is happy to limit this to twice a week, one meat, one fish dish and I will probably go even less than this although picking out the chicken from a curry does not make it vegetarian but will mean using less. That is what I think we have gained from our vegetarian month, the ability and ideas to eat meat less and to enjoy it more when we do. I think that makes our meat eating more sustainable and that is what I was hoping for.

15 comments:

  1. A good adventure. Try Unicorn in Chorlton for food ideas. I have been a non meat eater for 30 years and thoroughly enjoy my food.
    I try not to eat much cheese or fish and could go vegan if someone cooked for me. Had no offers to date.
    There is the Meat Free Mondays scheme to encourage reduction in meat eating too.
    best wishes,
    Anne Power, Green Party

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now that the month is up my husband is looking forward to eating meat again but is happy to limit this to twice a week, one meat, one fish dish and I will probably go even less than this although picking out the chicken from a curry does not make it vegetarian but will mean using less. That is what I think we have gained from our vegetarian month, the ability and ideas to eat meat less and to enjoy it more when we do. I think that makes our meat eating more sustainable and that is what I was hoping for.



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