Why choose a meat-free lifestyle?

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Why eliminate or cut down on meat in your diet?

So many people are trying to reduce the amount of meat they eat these days and as a long-time non-meat eater and a one-time owner of a health food store it’s something I’m often asked about. How hard is it? What sort of meals so vegetarians eat? Do I ever cheat? Do I eat fish? Chicken?

Bread procuctsThen there are questions from people who are happy to eat meat on a regular basis but choose to cut down. Where on earth are they going to find good recipes that will please the family? Even just those who decide to adopt meat-free Monday are often stumped when it comes to recipe ideas.

I know many people who simply don’t consider a meal a proper meal unless it features a hunk of meat.

But truly, if you are wanting to cut meat from your diet, or simply cut down, there are so many excellent ideas and recipes that will please any family.

The important thing is to remember that there are no’vegetarian rules’.

Meat-free diets come in many different forms. Strict vegetarians won’t eat any animal products at all. I admit that’s too sever for me.

We are a vegetarian household in that we don’t eat meat. Even between the two of us though, we differ.

He won’t eat any foods that involve the killing of an animal. For example, if vegetable soup is made with beef or chicken stock, he won’t touch it.

I’m more lenient and although we never have fish in the house, I will eat fish when dining out (it’s better than starving).

You see, it depends what your reasons are for not eating meat (plus poultry or fish … maybe). Here are the most common reasons:

  • Finances: Meat is expensive.  Not every household can afford it every day as they used to in the past. Even cheaper cuts are can no longer be described as bargains.It just makes sound economic sense
  • Health. We all know that many meats contain animal fats, cholesterol and other are generally not goo for us unless eaten in extreme moderation. Some people choose this healthier way of their own accord; others are advised by their doctors because of health concerns or conditions
  • The meat industry.  It’s not a pleasant one. It’s big business, that’s for sure but as such,profits come first, not your bank balance or your health and wellbeing. It’s also bad for the planet as a whole
  • Additives. Many people are also very concerned about the hormones and other additives which are either injected into beasts or given to them in their feed. We don’t want these in our bodies
  • Weight management. There’s no getting away from the fact that most meats are high in calories and fat. For anyone who is trying to maintain their weight, or reduce it, cutting out meat helps considerably
  • Animal rights. Many years ago, this was the major reason for people deciding not to eat meat. The more they thought about it, the idea of eating flesh just seemed bizarre. Luckily, today we have such a huge variety of foods available in every supermarket that avoiding meat but still eating well is more than possible

It’s up to each individual to decide for themselves what level of meat-free or meat-reduction diet is right for them. There are no rules, only the ones you make for yourself. Some vegetarians won’t wear leather because of the animal rights issue, for example.Others, who have given up meat for the sake of their health, have no qualms about keeping their leather handbag or jacket.

If avoiding additives is your goal, then seek our certified organic meats. Because these tend to be more expensive than the pre-packaged, mass-produced supermarket meats, then they might be a once-a-week treat.

Arm yourself with one of the thousands of excellent books on meat-free eating. Even if you’re not giving up meat completely, these can still help you achieve a diet that is better for your family’s health and better for the planet.

And if you cheat and succumb to some lovely crispy bacon? Don’t worry about it – I give in to bacon too 🙂

You might also like to look at these helpful articles:

Ten tips for meat-free eating

Thirty quick & easy meat-free recipes

 

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

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Author: Jackie Jackson

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. I have to admit that one day, as I guiltily munched on a piece of bacon with utter relish, I realized that quite probably I would never achieve my goal of becoming a full-on vegetarian.

    Now I consider myself one of that self-identified class: The flexitarian. I eat mostly plants, but sometimes I indulge in certain types of meat, albeit grass-fed and organic.

    Thank you for extending a hand to those of us who, for whatever reasons, are unlikely ever to cross the line into full vegetarianism. Is that a real word, I wonder?

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  2. I was a gradual vegetarian myself. I gave up beef first, then chicken, and then seafood. I really didn’t eat pork, so don’t feel like I gave anything up there. Once I gave them all up, I was amazed at how much better vegetables started tasting to me. It was like my taste buds had changed.

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  3. Thanks I needed this! I’ve been trying to eat less meat, but need more ideas for meat free meals that are filling and satisfying. Off to check the thirty recipes you’ve shown here.

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