If you would have asked me three years ago if I would have been thinking of giving up meat, even for a month, my answer would have been a firm ‘No’. Growing up with my grandparents my meals have always revolved around ‘meat and two veg’. I didn’t discover pasta, pizza or rice until I was well into my teenage years. Whatever the meal, meat was always on the menu. My children eat a much more varied diet than I did as a child, but we somehow kept up the tradition of meat playing the starring role in many of our meals.
You are what you eat
A few years ago my views on meat started to change. I was researching sustainability as part of my #smallstepstosustainability campaign to be more environmentally friendly. The more I read about the meat industry, the more I was shocked at the negative effect the industry has on the environment, not to mention the conditions in which the animals are raised.
At a similar time, I also (somewhat reluctantly) gave up coffee, and it had a dramatic effect on my health. The withdrawal symptoms and the improvement in my health cemented my belief in the phrase ‘you are what you eat’
Fast forward two years, and I’ve tried to reduce our meat consumption a few times, but with no real vegetarian meals to fall back on, whenever I took my eyes off the ball, we fell back into old habits.
This year, however, I have been more aware of my health than ever before. In April I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. It doesn’t sound like much, it was really debilitating, both mentally and physically and its taken months to start feeling ‘normal’ again. I was almost referred to neurology to check for MS (my mum was a sufferer, she died when I was eleven)
What Is #herbivaugust?
Any kind of health scare makes you really focus on your body. I wasn’t particularly unhealthy, but I told myself something had to change. I started Slimming World to try and eat healthier and lose some weight. The downside with the SW plan is I started eating more meat, which didn’t really fit with my own ethics.
I’ve read a lot about the positive effects of giving up meat, including mental clarity, more energy & weight loss. When I heard about #herbivaugust, I decided it would be brilliant to take part not only because of the perfect timing but because it’s always good to have the support of like-minded people. Herbivaugust is a challenge to give up meat for 31 days during the month of August, set up by Caro from The Twinkle Diaries
It’s a really simple concept; give up meat for August and live like a herbivore for just 31 days.
Herbivaugust is not a prompt to give up meat forever. It’s not about making us feel bad about the food we’re eating — or the choices we’re making.
It’s about collectively acknowledging that our actions are currently having a devastating impact on the environment; the farming industry, the animals that we eat — and our bodies too.
Life on the Veg
For the next 31 days, we will be living life on the veg! Simon and the children have decided to join in too. This will definitely make eating together easier and reduce temptation, but it does put a little more pressure on me to find meals we all enjoy. Our six-year-old Amy is about 90% vegetarian by choice because she dislikes the taste and texture of meat, so hopefully this should be an easy challenge for her.
Some weeks we have a Riverford Farm organic veg box delivered because I love Riverford’s ethics and commitment to sustainability. The veg arrives in excellent condition, always tastes amazing. We especially love the carrots with their green tops (pictured below). We top-up shop at Aldi for the rest of our fruit and veg.
If you would like to try a Riverford delivery, you (and your friend) get free £15 worth of credit if you call them after placing your first order using their recommend a friend scheme. You could either use my details (thanks a bunch! ‘Hannah Tasker – 684973’ or ask your friend for their full name and customer number – and you both get £15 credit to your accounts.
Meal Plan for Week 1
I wanted to keep our meal plan as simple as possible for our first week. I’ve actively tried to avoid buying meat replacement products, because I wanted to avoid comparisons between old/new recipes and instead have tried to keep some familiar favourites as well as new recipes. The other challenge is to keep following the slimming world plan – which will mean I need to adapt or recreate some of the recipes so they fit.
We have bought a LOT of vegetables this week, so we will need to keep an eye on it, to avoid any of it being wasted. The plan is to create health soups which we can freeze if anything is looking past its best.
Sweet potato curry
Parsnip, leek and mushroom pie
Roasted red pepper pasta
Other meal ideas from friends and family
Egg on toast
Egg and chips
Quiche and salad
Chickpea dhal loaf
Veg stir fry
Risotto with courgette and brie
Nigella’s marmite pasta
Sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry
What’s your favourite vegetarian meal?