Hello all and welcome to my first blog post of 2019! Hope you’ve all had a fabulous festive period.
Today I’m going to give you my honest thoughts and opinions on my meat-free journey through 2018. My last post was about New Year’s resolutions and whilst I said that I don’t tend to make them, this one kind of just happened!
Sounds strange, but I wasn’t really planning on giving up meat. However, on 4th January 2018 it was as if a switched had flipped and I made the snap decision to see if I could manage without it.
There were a couple of reasons for this: I’d spent a year between August 2016 and August 2017 training at a strength and conditioning gym. Due to the increased use of weights, I was advised to up my protein intake to help with muscle building/repair. I felt as if all I ate was chicken and turkey at times. I ate so much that I feared I may turn into one! And I think due to eating so much of it, I kind of got fed up with the taste, no matter the different ways in which I cooked it and served it up.
I’m not going to lie and pretend that I quit purely to save the animals, although this was also a feature. I’m never going to be someone who gets preachy with people over what they choose to eat, it just isn’t in my nature. But I can’t lie, it definitely does feel gratifying to know that you’re no longer eating animals…
…Apart from fish. Again I’m not going to lie, I’ve gone meat-free but I’m currently still eating fish. I am therefore a pescatarian. Whether or not I’ll be able to wean myself off of fish remains to be seen. I’ve not tried it as yet but that’s not to say that I won’t. After all:
I live with my younger sister, who has been a vegetarian for the last 15 years, so luckily for me she was able to guide me a bit. This also meant that we had an abundance of meat-free alternatives in our freezer for me to try out.
Here is a rundown of things that I’ve learned and experienced in the last year of being meat-free:
1) I genuinely don’t feel any better (physically) for cutting meat out of my diet. Just to stress, I also don’t feel any worse! But I can’t lie and be all “oh I feel sooooo much better for it” as honestly, I just don’t? That’s not to say that it wouldn’t make the next person feel better physically but for me, there’s been no marked change.
2) Quorn is your spongy little friend! Basically, Quorn is pretty tasteless on its own. But it has the ability to soak up any kind of flavour that you mix it with – enter me, thinking I’m Salt-Bae. I’ve thrown all kinds into the pan when cooking Quorn; salt, pepper, garlic, curry powder, paprika, cumin… the list is endless! It always soaks up the flavours lovely so the beauty of it is, you have free reign to change it up every single time you cook it.
3) In saying all that, there is much more out there than just Quorn. I think some meat-eaters can be a bit narrow minded at times and not realise just how many alternatives there are out there. To be fair, I was probably a bit narrow-minded myself when I started out. My overwhelming feeling initially was “ohmigod what am I gonna eat?!” But there is SO much out there and the levels of choice are increasing all the time. I do eat Quorn but I’m also a fan of the Linda McCartney range, The Veggie Kitchen (especially their sausages – yum!) and I love the Wicked Kitchen meals from Tesco to eat on the go.
4) Going abroad can sometimes pose an issue. Last June I visited a beautiful resort called Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria and it’s a bloody good job that I still eat fish. Almost every restaurant there had almost ZERO in the way of vegetarian options and if you were a vegan? No chance! Pretty much the only food available for veggies was margarita pizza and plain-ish pasta dishes. I didn’t really fancy being bloated off of just pizza and pasta for a full week but luckily for me (though not luckily for Nemo and his pals) there was plenty of seafood on offer.
5) I miss meat at times, especially pulled pork burgers and a Nandos! The Linda McCartney range has their own version of a pulled-pork burger and whilst it does taste lovely, it just isn’t the same! However, going meat-free has pushed me into seeking out new places to eat and I’ve since discovered some gems. My favourite being Sanskruti in Liverpool, which is an Indian restaurant serving only vegetarian and vegan dishes. My sister and I visited here back in September and I’m feeling a re-visit coming on for sure. It was delicious – best peshwari naan bread ever!
So that is my experience thus far of eliminating meat from my diet. Are you a meat-eater and do you feel as if this is something you would ever do? If you’re already a vegetarian or vegan, can you recommend any particular meals or ranges which are worth trying? I’m always open to new options!