Reflection – 30 days with less meat

As I mentioned in the launch post for this one, the concept of being a weekday vegetarian intrigued me when I watched Graham Hill’s talk in late 2010. It’s such a simple concept, and yet it is so powerful. Imagine the impact on our environment if we all became weekday vegetarians.

It’s not that hard
Let’s start with this point, for the last four weeks I have been a weekday vegetarian, and it really was not that hard to achieve. The only time I had a problem was when we went out for a pub lunch one Friday. The closest thing to vegetarian was a caesar salad, and although I did eat some of the bacon bits I felt it wasn’t right to waste them when they had already been used on the dish.

But on the whole, we ate some wonderful food during the 30 days, and I didn’t feel deprived of anything in the process. If anything, I think that I enjoyed my carnivore meals on the weekend more than usual, because I wasn’t eating meat everyday of the week.

It’s good for the wallet as well
I can’t tell you exactly how much money we saved during this activity, but I do know it was at least $20 a week cheaper for us to eat this way. And I know that it could have been even cheaper still if we planned our menus a lot better.

It’s not just cheaper to do, but there is the added bonus that for most of the meals we didn’t need to be as concerned about refrigerating the left overs quickly, or eating them within a couple of days. Removing the issues around meat safety added a layer of simplicity to cooking and keeping food – and we all know how much I love simplicity 🙂

I am an omnivore
I feel that it is important for me to note that I could not give up meat entirely. As much as I enjoyed the weekday break from meat, it will continue to be part of my life. Some people may find this disappointing, but I can’t imagine not being able to have lamb roast, peri peri chicken or even bangers and mash in my life.

The bonus is that if we are eating less meat then we can become even more conscious about choosing organically farmed animals, improving the quality of the food for us, but also the quality of life for the animals we are consuming. This also aligns with the slow food concept, so it keeps another activity in my focus as well.

I know that this will not be enough for the true vegetarians/vegans out there, but be happy with a partial convert 🙂

So where to from here?
I’m sure that you can all guess that this one is going to stay. I feel healthy, I’ve really enjoyed the food, it has been financially beneficial and I think that it is a socially conscious thing to do.

Having said all of that, I am going to make a slight amendment to the rules that Friday can be flexible. The reason for this is two-fold: Friday is usually when I go out for lunch with friends and it can be a little limiting to not be able to have meat; and, whilst Derek has been wonderfully supportive with all of this I know that he would’ve appreciated being able to have meat one more night a week than we did.

So I will remain vegetarian from Monday to Thursday, and will probably stay vegetarian on Friday more often than not. And if anyone else has any great vegetarian recipes they would like to share please let me know. The recipes I got from friends for this activity were well used during the 30 days.

Thank you Graham for an incredibly simple, but very powerful idea.

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