Monday has come around yet again; I’m sure weekends feel even shorter in warm summer months but today I’ve kick started my week by going meat free. Not just because it’s a good way to recover from a weekend of indulgence with the family (who doesn’t love an ice cream or two in the sun?) but because today is World Meat Free Day. Today we’re looking to raise awareness of why we need to vary our diet; opting to eat meat less often and eating better sources of protein.
I’ve been adopting a ‘less but better’ approach to my whole diet for a number of years now. It started as a bit of a health kick; you know the drill, post-Christmas you feel the need to cut back following the many, many delicious festive meals consumed. January starts and as a family we look for healthy meals, reducing calories, fats, salt and sugar. Removing meat is one way we have been able to easily enjoy tasty, healthy meals.
We’re not the only ones who have found reducing meat to be better for our health; increasingly sports stars see a performance increase by going meat free. David Haye and Jermaine Defoe have both opted for meat free diets and have credited their improved performance to their better sources of protein.
Aside from the health benefits, eating less and better significantly reduces the environmental footprint of every meal. Fewer acres of land are required to produce the protein needed for a meal, less water is used in food production as well as less energy. In fact just one meat free meal saves nearly 9 days of personal water use or, in terms of carbon reduction, cuts the equivalent of a kettle boiling 388 times. That’s a lot of cuppas!
There has actually never been a better time to opt for less meat in our meals. Long gone are the days of one meat free option on a menu or having to find 1001 ways to cook a mushroom at home. The variety of flavours, ingredients and cuisine on offer is amazing; I find that I can please the kids with a classic family favourite, have a brilliant curry, spicy street food or snacks on the go without having to worry about it being meat free.
One last but surprising reason to eat less meat and better sources of protein is the cost. I never realised just how much a meat based meal could cost vs other protein. The savings to be had are amazing. So tonight, opt for a cost effective, tasty, healthy and sustainable meal. Whether you like something spicy, refreshing or comforting, the core protein doesn’t have to be meat, especially on World Meat Free Day.
By World Meat Free Day Partner and Quorn Foods CEO, Kevin Brennan