Meat Free? How Hard Can It Really Be?


Author: Beth Halligan


I’ve recently decided that I’m going to make a conscious effort to cut down on the amount of meat in my diet. Those that know me well, will probably scoff at this idea and rightly so, I’m a big meat eater. But that doesn’t mean I can’t cut down on the amount I eat and you could do it too.

I think when it comes to vegetarianism and vegans, opposed with meat eaters, there’s very much an ‘us and them’ type of divide, at least from a meat eater perspective, and there really doesn’t have to be! It’s a shame actually because it all comes down to personal preference and we’re all human at the end of the day.

The constant tirade of “Enjoy your lettuce” and “what do you eat? Grass?!” Is more than old now and quite frankly I think this mentality and opinion comes from being uneducated. The only reason I say this is because way back when, this was the mentality that I had, and I’m quite ashamed of that. Though I know it comes from a place of not knowing, and trying to fit in at school it still doesn’t excuse it.

I’m still learning ways and means of cutting my meat consumption down and while I’m not so sure I’ll ever cut it out completely, there’s no harm in seeing where the road leads.

I know that when people find out that I’m cutting down, my parents especially, will come at me with questions of Why? who’s put this idea in your head? How long is this going to last? and so on. Which is fine, because I’m kind of wondering that too but it’s all part of the fun and hopefully it will last a long time!

So why am I cutting meat down/out?

Twitter is a fairly influential place if you spend enough time there and I’m definitely guilty of that. There’s quite an emphasis (this is just my feed based on the people I follow) on cutting down meat consumption, becoming vegetarian or vegan and recently schemes/challenges like #Veganuary. What I like about it is there’s no “you should” when people talk about being vegan/veggie, it’s all “you could” which I think makes a big difference! There’s no pressure, but if it is a step you decide to take, you’ll be supported every bit of the way!

As well as general promo for being veggie or vegan, there’s a lot of people out there who share the food they eat on their social platforms. A friend of mine, L is vegan and she shared a thread the other day of around 10 meals that she’s made from scratch at home, all of which are vegan and they looked delicious and so easy to make!

As I mentioned just before, there’s no pressure on you if you decide to be vegetarian or vegan and one thing that I love about people who share and emphasise doing so. I read a blog post the other day about people who have become/are becoming/ have a mainly vegan based diet and one of the questions asked was ‘do you ever slip up’ and everyone who answered, answered yes, In some way or another, be it by accident because they didn’t know/forgot or because they were just craving, and that is fine, no one is perfect and every little bit helps. I think it’s quite important to keep this up, and to make sure people know it’s okay to make mistakes, in everything we do, not just our diet choices. We’re only human at the end of the day and no one can expect any more than your best from you.

I’m quite enthusiastic about exercise and keeping fit particularly by doing CrossFit, and so I’m really looking forward to seeing what health benefits I gain from cutting down on my meat consumption. Quorn provide a massive range of healthy alternatives to meat and is well worth the price you pay (if you buy it at the right places) even if you just have it once a week!

Well, why not? A lot of people question why you do something and the simplest answer I can think of is why not? Maybe that’s a lazy answer, maybe it’s not. I often as myself ‘are there any cons to what you’re doing?’ If there is I ask myself ‘How much do they affect me?’ if the answer is  ‘Not a lot’, the outcome is ‘Lets do it then!’ And there you go, why cut meat my consumption down? WHY NOT?!

How did I get on?

The first week of cutting down my meat consumption wasn’t as difficult as I thought, I didn’t manage every day meat free. Out of 8 days,  there were 3 days – though not consecutively, where I didn’t eat meat and actually that’s something i’m quite proud of. And on the days I did eat meat I ate a lot less than usual. Most of the the days where I did eat meat, it was just in my evening meal, not breakfast or dinner which for me is a big cutdown.

Living at home with my parents means that normally I eat what’s cooked for me, so one of the main changes was cooking for myself! On the up side, it meant that I could cook extra of whatever I was having for tea, and take it to work for lunch the next day which in turn has stopped me spending money on food on the way home which is usually a McDonald’s! So it’s a win win if you ask me! I’d show you some pictures of what I cooked that was meat free, but i’m the ‘Chuck it all in the pan and see what happens‘ type of cook, so while it tasted amazing, it didn’t always look so nice!

It did make me realise I’d probably struggle going vegan, and while it’s not something i’m going to even try and do just yet, being vegan isn’t completely off the cards so soon. I’ve been buying vegan milk and I really like it so thats something I think will be a permanent change!

I’m excited to see how I continue to get on with cutting down my meat consumption. I’m also going to be making the choice to buy from retailers/ small businesses like NoFauxVegan because if my needs can be satisfied without harming anyone, or anything, why wouldn’t I? (WHY NOT!!) Not only that, but i’ll be supporting smaller businesses too which always makes me happy!

That’s all from me!

Happy meat free eating,

Beth x

Great sources of information on the mistreatment of animals can be found on Peta's website and The Vegan Society has a wealth of knowledge regarding anything vegan!

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