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Thoughts on changing diets.

Rachael Forrest

Non-meat options can still be really tasty and filling.

Non-meat options can still be really tasty and filling.

The British Government has just declared a climate and environmental emergency, which is a first step towards doing something about the crisis we find ourselves in. It’s one thing to declare it though and another to actually take action and it’s the big fuel companies as well as airport expansion that have to make the biggest steps.

However, on a personal level something we can do as individuals is to cut down on meat consumption. I looked at this a few years ago, for ethical reasons but, even though I didn’t ever eat huge quantities of meat, it still seemed daunting to give it up completely. After all, it’s so easy … such a useful ingredient with so many options.

Now my (almost) grown-up kids are pushing to go vegetarian as well and we are all making an effort. I have discovered the delights of baked feta as a brilliant and filling meat alternative (might take some getting used to - it’s a strong taste) as well as the multiple uses for lentils and beans. We haven’t missed meat at all, except it’s convenience, and once you have enough alternatives in your repertoire this is no longer an issue.

My current take on it is that we’ll have meat very occasionally, maybe once per month or every couple of weeks. That way, when we do have it, we can make sure it’s good quality, local and organic. I feel like my body needs the occasional dose of B12 and Iron which come from red meat so, for now, I’m not going to give it up completely but will make it a rare treat instead.

This is such an important and vital step towards reducing methane, land consumption and mono-cultures that taking no action is not an option for me personally but I do know that changing lifestyle habits can be difficult. I suggest taking it slowly, informing yourselves about the alternatives and getting family & friends on board so you don’t feel alone in your endeavours.