This is the post where you get to hear about my fall from grace after 10 years of being a pescetarian [a vego who still ate fish]. In part #3 of our World Environment Day 2013 ‘Think.Eat.Save’ theme, we look at the environmental impacts of eating meat. For the vegos reading this – keep going, you might pick up some new ammo to convert your friends.
The infographic below [click image for link and scroll down] is from the US and is a great way of putting things into perspective. It gives a good indication of the overall eco-footprint of the different types of meat we eat – there are stacks of facts around on the ‘net so I’m not repeating them here;
There are many ways in which we can reduce our meat intake – here are my favourite 6. And I should warn you, when I was researching this I was like one of Pavlov’s dogs… there are sooo many nice veggie recipes around;
- Have a meat free day [Meatless Monday] or more; see if you feel any different;
- Go organic and free range; if you do eat meat, select quality meat from animals that have at least been looked after. They’re also free of the high footprint pesticides, antibiotics and other tasty chemicals;
- Eat Less meat; make the veggies the star and the meat the side. This one’s much easier if you adopt no. 2 above – by buying the pricier stuff you get less for the same budget, but it tastes sooo much better. Go nuts with the non-meat side dishes too.
- No grain-fed meat; it sounds great on the menu but for the life of me I can’t tell the difference, and the idea of feeding perfectly good grain to livestock seems like [and is] a horrible waste. And feedlots have horrendous eco-footprints;
- No meat before dinner; meatless breakfast? Not too hard as long as there’s no hangover involved. Meatless lunch? Slightly more challenging, but with so many alternatives to choose from [like all other recipes on Earth] it’s again not too difficult.
- Mix it Up; after 10 years as a pescetarian I learnt to appreciate the flavours of non-meat cooking and how important it is to vary your recipes. Get into the strong flavours [because that’s the first thing you’ll miss about meat] and bring variety to your cooking. Keep it interesting.
If you can’t bear the thought of giving up meat, even for a day, that’s cool. But you really should try it. I was a pescetarian for 10 years and I felt amazing during that period. I was healthy, fit, recovered quickly from exercise and didn’t need as much sleep.
And how did I fall off that wagon? For reasons I won’t go into now, it reached a head at a one day cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia V South Africa, rain threatening, good mates, good game, and 4 great meat pies over the afternoon. I can still remember the taste.
I’ve been clawing my way back to a healthy diet ever since.