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"What are your vegetarian options?" The question was usually met with blank stares and looks of incredulity. That was 20 years ago; Jenny my wife is a vegetarian and going out for a meal was always a gamble. Back then a non-meat eater was viewed with a kind of suspicion, the same "you should never trust a man who doesn't drink" attitude.
(We have a special offer running this week if you order over €30 online and enter the code: “SummerTea” and we’ll throw in a surprise box of herbal tea completely FREE!!)
I don't eat meat anymore, I gave it up 3 years ago. I decided one day that I really didn't want to eat it anymore. I have it pretty easy as I am married to a vegetarian and I didn't have to think through the changes to our cooking. Ella our youngest daughter decided she didn't want to eat meat anymore about a year ago too and even my father who loves his meat has reduced his meat consumption substantially from 6 days a week to 2 days a week, he knows it is better for his health to eat less meat. I think my mother has been a closet vegetarian all her life!
These days there are so many recipes and fantastic chefs creating amazing meals that it is really easy to create exciting and interesting vegetarian dishes. The options are limitless and it doesn't have to be complicated. Ireland has moved into the fast lane with vegetarian and vegan food now right slap bang in the mainstream. Last week we went to a restaurant and 40% of the menu was vegetarian, and really good interesting vegetarian food at that.
We all know that eating less red meat is better for our health, and from an environmental point of view eating less meat is one of the biggest steps we can take to reduce global CO2 emissions. Plus it is a relatively easy change to make, compared to trying to give up fossil fuels.
A recent report published by the UN shows that switching to a plant based diet will change our world. Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: “Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels. Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: “Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products - livestock now consumes much of the world’s crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides.”
Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday. A small shift in our diet can have a massive impact, but what can we do? Karina came up with a fantastic idea: what about not eating meat for just one day a week? and see how it goes from there?
We have set up a special Facebook group to give you ideas and encouragement to eat less meat and cook healthily. It is a closed group so you need to click on the "join group" button. This has grown from 2 members 2 weeks ago to nearly 300 today, and the inspiration is coming from you guys. People are posting recipe ideas, pictures and you can ask questions and get help, it is a community and it is a great place to start. Will you join us? Will you set aside one day a week to experiment with new plant based food?
We really would love it if you did, and please let us know how you are getting on and what you are doing and how you are finding the change via the healthy eating Facebook group.
We will have a prize each week for the best vegetarian dish posted!
Give it a go, you have nothing to lose!
PS: We have a special offer running this week if you order over €30 online and enter the code: “SummerTea” and we’ll throw in a surprise box of herbal tea completely FREE!!