Phoebe Grinter – Columnist
Fish are friends, not food.
Before any of my friends expose me for my fraudulent claims of being a vegetarian, I should make it clear that I am not a fully-fledged veggie. Not even close. A friend even made a meme about me involving my fellow failed vegetarian Pam Shipman from Gavin and Stacey… I’ll be the first to admit that I have had many slip ups on my journey to a meat-free life. For now, I am gradually cutting down my meat consumption and am proudly labelling myself a flexitarian en route to one day being an established vegetarian.
One of the main reasons I wanted to cut down on my meat-eating was to help the environment. The production of meat puts excessive strain on environmental resources and although there are other ways to reduce your carbon footprint, every little helps. By cutting out, or cutting back, on our consumption of meat, we are helping more than we think. There are actually numerous ways that the meat industry harms the environment, from a waste of our resources (animals raised for food eat enough grain to feed the world!), to a waste of fuel, to the pollution caused by their waste, and much more. Another reason I wanted to become a vegetarian was to save money. Because it’s something most of us take for granted when we live at home, I did not realise how much meat actually costs until I had to buy it for myself at uni.
If, like me, the idea of giving up meat cold turkey (excuse the pun) doesn’t sit well with you, then just try eating less meat. For example, meatless Mondays not only has a nice ring to it but would do you, the environment, and your wallet the world of good. If you want to step it up further, just give up red meat initially and try gradually cutting back on everything else. Using more vegetables and different cooking methods will help spice up your new meat-free lifestyle. However, if you feel you need an actual substitute for meat, there are plenty of meat alternatives available. Linda McCartney is the pin-up girl for vegetarians and her range of veggie food is definitely the most popular meat substitute.
Being a vegetarian can also be a lot healthier as it is harder to eat crappy foods out of convenience. For example, as a veggie you have to be wiser about your fast food choices. This is also definitely healthier for the bank account as it forces you to make more food at home. To avoid slipping up when hungry, I try to plan ahead and meal prep/batch cook, so I always have a few options in my fridge and freezer for those lazy days when I don’t fancy cooking.
I have nothing but admiration for those who have given up meat once and for all. No one has faith in my vegetarianism after my previous failed attempts and they believe it to be a phase and a cry for attention. I mean, they are half right. Now that I’m eating less meat, I am feeding off the attention being a veggie brings instead. Let’s see how long I can last this time…