Thinking of moooooving to less meat? Why not try Meat Free Monday?
As a nutritionist, an environmentalist and an animal lover, I’ve found myself reducing my meat intake. In fact, having started with Meat Free Monday, I now find myself moving towards a meat free midweek. Here you can find out why giving up meat for one day of the week, or more, could be good for your health, the world’s health and animal welfare.
Protein is an important part of our diet. The Eatwell Guide suggests we should aim to eat around 2 portions of protein, but protein doesn’t always mean meat. Vegetarian sources of protein include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, eggs, and meat free alternatives such as Quorn. Vegan sources of protein include nuts, pulses, lentils and tofu. Pescatarians can also enjoy fish and shellfish as protein sources. To help reduce your meat intake, why not try having a vegetarian day for Meat Free Monday. Alternatively, try reduced meat options, such as Funky Flexitarian sausages available at your local Waitrose.
Meat is a very inefficient way of getting protein in the diet. For every 1kg of beef produced, it would have taken 13kg of grain plus 30kg hay to produce. In addition, instead of feeding animals grass from fields unable to produce crops, many farmers feed human grade corn to animals to produce ‘corn fed’ chickens or cows, meaning water supplies are used for both crops and meat. These animals, with particular respect to cattle, produce large amounts of waste which pollute our water supplies. Additionally, cows are a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions through production of methane and deforestation for more farmland.
Additionally, there is a growing case for worldwide antibiotic resistance. When first introduced, antibiotics provided an almost magical cure against many diseases, leading to their incorporation into many everyday items such as lipstick, or so the story goes. When we realised about antibiotic resistance (when microbes develop tolerance to antibiotics), antibiotics were removed. We are now still over using antibiotics, and this is largely due to the blanket dosage given to livestock accumulating to just under 40% of our antibiotic usage. Meat Free Monday would help reduce antibiotic resistance, which could prevent to a 100 year backstep in modern medicine, by cutting down on the total amount of meat you eat. Alternatively, why not try quality over quantity, and consume meat products, which don’t routinely treat animals with antibiotics. You can ask your local farmers, or alternative buy organic meat, where the use of antibiotics is must stricter.
The movement to free range eggs over the past few years means that supermarket shelves are now stocked with a wider variety of eggs from ‘happy’ chickens. However, free range doesn’t just stop there; if the animal is living a free range lifestyle, why don’t we buy more free ranged meats? Again, this comes down to quality over quantity. Free range generally means that animal has had a longer time to mature, develop and can mean that the quality of the meat is better. Alternatively, why not try making eggs the star of your Meat Free Monday meal.
More and more people are adopting this new ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle, where meat is still an option, but not a requirement. Even the School Food Trust recommend children should have one day a week meat free. So if your kids can do it, why can’t you?
Join us next month to discover some delicious flexitarian recipes which may help you reduce your total meat intake.