I’m too old for new years resolutions, what a load of guff. I’m not, however, falsely confident enough to say I’m 100% happy remaining forever the exact same lump of middling to average human being that will shuffle off to bed some time in the first hours of the new year. I need to up the jogging and down the caffeine and I really need to keep up on the good habits that came in over the last twelve months. The best of these habits has been changing how much animal I eat.
I’m not going to have a vegan rant, I’m not going vegan and I don’t want you to either. If you live on this planet, you’ve heard about the impact of commercial farming on the global environment and the impact of processed animal on your own health. Eating a bit less creature is not difficult in this age of plenty, and it doesn’t have to be a chore when Flexitarian (dreadful word) food trends abound.
So here’s my self righteous advice to cut your animal consumption, suffer less the little creatures and clean out your own body a wee bit in 2020. Happy new year!
1- Eat Good Meat.
Sorry, what? Yes, my first tip to eat less meat is to eat meat.
I shall explain: In the last week I have eaten more meat than I probably have in the last month before that, and every bite of it was delicious. Every bite of it was high quality produce, much of which had available welfare information and it was cooked with care and enjoyed by all. Meat is a slice of dead thing. Honour that thing that died by paying attention and preparing it well. Honour all living things by refusing mass farmed, cheap meat that comes from abused, over crowded and sick animals. Ah, I hear you cry, but how can you know?!?!? Simple, if you don’t know, don’t eat it.
Slice of ham in a supermarket sandwich that you barely even notice eating at your desk? Go for a veggie option you wont notice instead, what have you lost?
Nondescript sausage and mash on the pub lunch menu that could be more cereal than pig and more salt than protein? Try something new, or just have double chips.
Huge family gathering for the feast of midwinter/Nan’s birthday/Sunday lunch? Get to a butchers and get a quality, welfare bred bird to roast. Or a rib of beef from a happy cow that saw plenty of daylight in it’s time. Spend the extra fiver, taste the extra quality and be sure to eat every last scrap and make some stock for the freezer. Make it worth it.
2-Watch The Dairy
I have seriously limited my dairy for Dr given reasons this year and once I got past my cheese addiction it hasn’t been too hard. On the occasions when I have some stealth milk or my will power fails (see creme fraiche laden Christmas canapes) I notice some seriously unpleasant kick backs from my body to confirm that me and the cow juice are a bad match.
The dairy industry has a huge carbon footprint and a shadowy welfare history for those creatures bound in it. If you must buy milk, research your supplier and if at all possible buy direct or from smaller sellers. When you buy from one of the big supermarkets the chances are that as well as the cows, the environment and your innards suffering the dairy farmer is getting a pretty cruddy deal from it too.
Check out how they do it on Nunton Farm by clicking here.
The fishing industry is one of the biggest sources of plastic in our seas from discarded and broken nets and equipment. That plastic then ends up inside the fish they sell you to eat, not to mention buggering up the scuba diving photos of those poor rich people on exotic holidays you like to stan on Insta.
If you don’t want to give fish up, see point no 1 and eat good, sustainably sourced fish and don’t eat it that often. Do a bit of research on farmed salmon and the associated pollution and (eeeerk) lice. Look at some of the common environmental practices in the origin countries of your cheap tilapia fillets and consider if you want to consume something that has been swimming around there.
Most importantly if you see some litter anywhere in the world there’s a big chance it is going to end up in the sea at some point if you don’t pick it up and dispose of it responsibly. Recycle your plastic, don’t make others eat it.
4- Think Eggs
Eggs are a good source of protein and the ultimate fast food in this fan’s opinion, but not all eggs are created equally. Battery farming is thankfully out in the UK now but that doesn’t mean all of our chickens are living it up in the Avian Hilton.
Do a little experiment for me and buy half a dozen budget mass-supermarket eggs and splash out on another half dozen organic free range eggs. Make two lots of your preferred egg dishes and come back and tell me there isn’t a difference. Better still go and hang out with someone who keeps some chickens and see the personalities of those birds and how good they are at eating slugs and have a good think about whether or not you’re cool with them being crammed into tight spaces without daylight so that you can enjoy a cheap omelette.
5-Don’t Be So Boring!!!!!!!!
Ye gods, will you just try something different! You might like it. The days of powdery meat alternatives and endless beanburgers for the meat-free are well and truly over. Some of the best and filthiest comfort grub out there is animal free these days. Some of it, like chips, always has been. And so also goes some of the freshest and tastiest high protein health food. It is a universally accepted truth that vegetables are good for you, stop being such a baby and eat a few more of them.
Squeaky Bean make blinding nuggets, fishless fingers and the genius Satay Kiev, all yummy and all totally plant based.
Violife present you with some of the best soya free no dairy ‘cheeses’ going and their Block melts better than your average half fat cheddar into an ooey gooey treat on toast or pizzas.
They make some great sausages and falafel bites but seriously, you need a Gosh! beetroot burger in your life they are fantastic.
If you’re eating out there are no meat and full vegan options everywhere, from Pizza Hut to Pont de la Tour and everywhere in between. M&S have a brilliant plant kitchen range from takeaway sarnies to fakeaway dirty dinners. You have no reason not to. Just try something.
So don’t go vegan, you don’t have to, but don’t stick your fingers in your ears and ignore the world moving on and leaving you behind. It can’t stay meat and two veg forever. Get with the times and get flexi this new new year.
Happy 2020 readers.