A Review of My Meat-Free Month
Most of my Instagram followers will know I decided to give up meat for January (Veguary). I have been thinking about whether it is the best thing for me to be eating meat so I decided the best way to find out was to give it a go and see.
Let me set the scene…
Rewind 5 years and I would have laughed thinking I’d ever consider even a day without meat. I remember a close friend of mine telling me she’d gone vegetarian and I thought she was totes cray. All I could think was “what will she eat? why wouldn’t you want to eat meat? it’s not healthy to avoid meat, won’t she miss stuff like bacon? Mmm bacon”.
I was very uneducated on all things veggie BUT over the last few years I have been drip fed info that has given me a much more rounded view of the production of animal products.
So for starters let me just mention my many reasons for wanting to try vegetarianism:
I personally believe the killing of animals for human consumption is selfish and cruel
Plenty of vegetarians survive just fine without meat
Sometimes the idea that you’re eating dead flesh freaks me out
I have read studies that suggest consumption of meat can lead to cancer, heart disease and other illnesses/conditions.
Some animals are given antibiotics that we then ingest
The production and farming of animals is awful for the environment
Many believe we could actually stop world hunger by reducing the production of meat
I thought eating meat was giving me digestive problems
As you can see, lots of reasons for me to give it ago.
So, I have written answers to some common questions I thought you might ask but please add any more in the comments.
Was it hard?
Yes. It was hard for many reasons:
1. I still enjoy the taste of meat and occasionally craved it.
2. I still had to cook it for other people which made this harder.
3. I eat 60% of my meals with my bf who is always very supportive of all my hair-brained diets/schemes but even we found it tricky to think of lots of food we both could enjoy that was meat free (not to say there aren’t lots of meals to have)
4. The other 40% of my meals are eaten at my parents and they either ate meat or food I didn’t like so I had to cook myself something different
5. I’m very fussy and don’t like a lot of veggie food.
6. Many restaurants still don’t offer that many veggie options.
7. I probably spent more money. As I was often eating alone I had to buy extra food just for me which ended up being more expensive.
8. I found it hard to think of meals I wanted to eat that I’d enjoy (partly due to my fussiness)
9. Not everyone is always supportive. You will be questioned, encouraged to eat meat, even laughed at.
Did you feel any better?
Psychologically yes but health wise no. I didn’t notice any difference, no increase in energy, the digestive problems I thought were caused by the meat continued even whilst I was meat free.
Did you get enough protein?
No. This should be easy for most people though. There are plenty of great protein sources that are meat free it’s just that I don’t like some of them.
Did you feel more hungry?
Yes but not because of a lack of meat. I’d often get home from work (having cooked there) and find that my parents were eating a meal that had meat in, I didnt have the energy to cook something for myself so I’d either go to bed without eating or end up buying shit unhealthy food for quick energy.
How did you enjoy meals with meat lovers?
For some recipes half could simply be made without meat e.g. Puff pastry tarts (half the tart had meat on, my half didn’t) the same with pizza.
Veggie curry for me, chicken cooked separately and added after for my bf, the same with stir fries, mine just had no meat.
We also ate lots of quorn mince which tastes pretty similar to the real thing.
Supper was hardest meal because sharing a meal is really enjoyable and more likely than sharing say, breakfast or lunch.
Did you miss it?
Not really. As I said before I craved it a few times and it was hard when I was hungry but, for example, one night I cooked a roast with roasted potatoes and veg, cauliflower cheese and a roast chicken and gravy. I didn’t miss not having the chicken. I was quite happy with my meal.
I did however miss the lack of variety (only because I’m fussy, there are heaps of recipes around for veggies).
Did you eat more healthy food?
Most of the time yes. In general avoiding meat removes a lot of unhealthy foods from your diet e.g. Fried chicken, burgers, barbecued ribs and obviously lots of fast food and takeaways meals (I don’t really eat this kind of stuff anyway but for those that do, becoming a veggie would certainly force you to be more healthy).
Will you be going full vegetarian?
Sadly no. I’d love to and yes I am very hypocritical to list all my reasons not to eat meat and then decide to start eating meat again because surely those reasons should be enough to persuade me to stop? However, the reasons why I found it so hard are the reasons that I currently don’t see it as a viable option for me. I will however, go for meat free options wherever possible.
Should you try going veggie?
Absolutely! Even if you’re a meat lover it’s great to try new things. Being a veggie is great all round. If it seems daunting to go meat free for a month, try just a week to start, perhaps even just opt for one meat free day a week and go from there. There is a whole world of great foods out there to try that don’t involve meat (if you’re not fussy like me!)