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Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescetarian or Flexitarian?

The majority of meals in Britain focus around meat. In our gastro pubs and gourmet restaurants we see lamb, pork, chicken, salmon, and the rest. We're renowned for fish and chips, pies, and carveries; we are a nation

vegan-vegetarian-pescatarian-flexitarian

The majority of meals in Britain focus around meat. In our gastro pubs and gourmet restaurants we see lamb, pork, chicken, salmon, and the rest. We’re renowned for fish and chips, pies, and carveries; we are a nation that loves meat. However, the amount of meat we consume is grotesque. We eat more meat than double the world average and consume a sickening, and saddening, one billion chickens a year. As trends come and go, people are becoming more aware of sustainable farming, and the question stands: vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarian, which defines you?

Jamie Oliver is preaching about Meat Free Mondays and some celebrities swear by a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Now, with fresh information on the negative effects meat has on our body, the world is becoming obsessed with being meat-free. By cutting the meat intake in our diet, it not only minimises our risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but it also saves the planet. Hoorah!!

Bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the UK and too much processed meat plays a huge part in this. I’m not saying you have to put down your knife and fork and bin your beef dinner, but by cutting down once or twice a week, it’s sure to have a positive impact on our bodies and our lovely planet.

Agricultural emissions are thought to account for around 30% of global emissions – with livestock responsible for half of these. By cutting down on livestock reproduction, we’ll essentially cut down on the emissions that are responsible for global warming. This could have a huge impact if everyone decides to reduce their weekly meat portions.

Recently, vegetarianism has exploded with a recorded 1 in 8 being veggie in Britain, most aged 16 to 24. Is it that we’re all becoming more aware of the impact meat has on our health and the environment? Or is it due to moral principles and the fight against animal cruelty?

Two years ago, I joined Meat Free Week in aid of Compassion In World Farming Charity – an organisation campaigning against the live export of animals, cruel methods of livestock slaughter and factory farming. I heard about Meat Free Week through a friend and through Jamie Oliver’s Instagram account and loved the idea of this global campaign. After my week of being completely meat free, I not only lost some of those pesky pounds, but also gained some pounds, as my weekly shop was pretty much cut down by a third.

I felt more energetic and felt great inside and out. When I say I felt great inside, I actually mean my insides felt clean. I was less bloated and felt really good. And I found it really easy to change from a meat-based diet to vegetarian as I was cooking only for myself.

Eating out was easy as there are a huge amount of veggie options, and if you know your stuff and are willing to communicate with your waiter there’s no reason you can’t explore even more delicious options. Another great thing is that you become so much more aware of different ingredients and your meal isn’t solely focused around meat. So, even though I initially joined in Meat Free Week to raise money for a charity that I feel quite strongly about, I also felt the benefits of doing so. I would say that was a win-win situation.

Now, you don’t have to go full vegetarian, even if you simply become more aware about the amount of meat you’re consuming and perhaps cut it in half, your body will thank you as will our planet. The term ‘flexitarian’ defines those not wanting to go the whole way, but still wanting to substantially cut back. So whether you decide to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarian, just always be kind to your heart, body and our Earth. 

If we can all make an intentional effort to reduce, we’ll all be around for much longer. As the Meat Free Week team say ‘eat less, care more, feel better’

hannah@theblackandwhiteedit.co.uk

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