Guest post by Lisa Fawsitt I recently watched a Ted Talk about weekday vegetarianism and it struck a nerve. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13, and although I don’t go around harassing carnivores, I can’t help thinking I should at least try and educate people. It’s not about cutting meat out from your diet entirely; it’s about eating meat responsibly and ethically. The speaker on Ted Talk went into details about the carbon footprint of a meat eater, how cow “emissions” are more damaging to the environment than CO2 from cars, and if only we were to change our relationship with meat it might actually solve the problem. This also means that you’re not ruling out burgers for the rest of your life, if anything they become more of a treat! It also means that the mass production of meat will reduce substantially because there will no longer be the same demand for meat heavy meals, 7 days a week!
Vegetarianism is growing more than ever. When I first started to label myself as a veggie I was greeted with a number of disapproving looks. In Ireland it was unheard of not to eat meat, especially when the staple meal is “meat and 2 veg”. But it was thanks to my Swedish vegetarian mother that I stuck with it and didn’t let labels like “fussy eater” and “rabbit food freak” bother me. Now I’m one of the “trendy kids”. Apparently the Vegan Society in the UK has jumped from 150,000 to 250,000 since 2006, which says a lot considering vegans were never cool, even amongst the vegetarian crowd. BUT regardless of all these pointless figures, vegetarianism shouldn’t be deemed as cool or used as a way to monitor food intake; it should be an ethical approach to food, and that’s why I have to applaud the modern day weekday veggie. Meat should be a treat! Meat should come from a healthy animal. Why oh why would anyone want to consume a corn fed, E coli riddled cow, only to sit there undigested in the gut for weeks?
If anyone needs a quick reminder I recommend watching a doc called Slaughter House, after 5 mins your attitude will change. Or even Jamie Oliver touches upon chicken farming revealing some extremely disturbing images of baby chicks on a conveyer belt. It might be easy to ignore this image while momentarily gobbling down a chicken burger...but fear not, I'm here to remind you!
Let’s take control of this and start eating the way we were supposed to eat. The Guardian’s recent documentation on the extreme Loss of Wild Life was a clear reminder of the damage that's being done due to mass consumption. According to a new analysis the number of wild animals on Earth has halved in 40 years. This is due to poaching, over fishing, deforestation and every way that “humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers”. Vegetarianism is just the beginning. As a species we do everything in extremes and constantly mess with the environment to make profits that circulate in the worst areas. Saving the world might feel like a task too difficult for one small person, but if we start locally…start with what we ourselves as individuals eat and consume it might start having an effect on supply and demand!
There's a wonderful documentary on Netflix at the moment called Chef's Table. Episode 2 is all about sustainable farming and eating food that tastes the way it should. I highly recommend!
And for anyone who would like to attempt weekday vegetarianism here are a few of my favourite veggie friendly restaurants: