Giving Vegetarian a Go – National Vegetarian Week 2015.

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I gave up eating meat nearly 5 years ago. I had been trying since I was in school, but never quite managed while I was still living in my family home. When you’re out on your own though, your diet becomes your problem, so the freedom of college meant a change in diet for me. I was always very morally aware when it came to animals, even as a kid. I remember regularly accusing people of being ‘cruel to nature’ for so much as kicking a tree. As you can imagine, I was a real cutey (though I’m not sure my everyone who got a lecture from a 5 year old would agree!).

People give up meat for various reasons. Some people just don’t like the taste or texture. For me, it was an acute awareness of what went into putting that meat on my table. The living conditions, the hormone treatments, the slaughter methods; it’s something worth considering. Have a look at how animals are raised in your own country, and consider your own dietary choices.

Veggie BurgerAnyone who says this couldn’t replace meat is a liar!

I’m lucky I live in Ireland, where farming hasn’t reached the factory levels seen in countries like the US. Pork and Chicken, however, is still made by raising animals in high-intensity factory settings, which to me if just morally wrong. If you were to spend time with a pig, or grow up with chickens scratching around the garden, you’d understand why living in a cramped stall from birth to death is a horrific existence for any of these animals.

I grew up in a house where we raised a lot of our own chickens, both for eggs and meat. All these animals lived out on grass, and while the animals raised for meat had significantly shorter lives than intended, they spent that time as nature intended. While I still didn’t eat this free-range meat, I certainly appreciated the improvements in animal welfare that these animals enjoyed.

VeggieToad

I’m not going to try and preach you into total vegetarianism. I can’t, as I’m known myself to eat some fish and shellfish from time to time, so that would be hypocritical of me. But switching to a meat-free diet for even one day a week will make a big difference to the demand placed on farms to produce large quantities of meat very quickly, leading to better quality of meat, and better quality of life for the animals.

When you do buy and eat meat, use the money you saved eating veggie that one day to invest in free-range, organic, quality meat. This means better life for the animals, and no nasty hormones and drugs making their way from the meat into your digestive system. You’d be amazed how many you’ve probably eaten so far in your life!

Veggie Dippers

So why have I decided to go on this little veggie rant? Well, Vegetarian Week is coming up in Ireland and the UK, taking place from May 18th-24th, and I want all of you guys to take up the challenge, and give up the meat for a week. I’ve teamed up with Irish company Dees Vegan & Wholefoods to give you a few recipe ideas for quick and easy meals, as well as a few slightly more challenging recipes that will be real show-stoppers!

Here’s a few veggie recipes to try:

Veggie Toad in the Hole

Easy Veggie Dippers

Perfect Sweet Potato Bean Burgers

Brie & Fig Tartlet

Ultimate Veggie Nachos

Huevos Rancheros Burritos

I’d love to know if you took the challenge, and how you found it. Did you make it through the whole week? If a week is a bit much, it’s worth checking out Meat Free Mondays, and giving up meat for just one day per week. For the sake of the animals, as well as your heart and health, it’s worth considering.

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