Over one month ago now, I was in a taxi on the way home from Paddington Station, having just got back to London from a trip home, and I decided to stop eating meat. In reality I’d had this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach for a while that I needed to do something, and stop eating it, but the idea of labelling myself as veggie or vegan just seemed like such a massive deal that I didn’t really want to have anything to do with. I was scared for a number of reasons; what would I eat? I was so used to making a piece of meat the centre of my meal, I had no idea how I was going to completely change and stop eating meat. I’m not the sort of person to do something gradually, it’s not my personality, I’m in or I’m out, and I had decided I was out.
The reasons why I decided to stop eating meat are pretty simple in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat. I love eating meat. I love all meat. I have my steak rare, I like it as red as a firetruck, I am definitely not one of those people who could easily give it up. I pretty much had meat twice a day, every day. But my conscience started getting the better of me. Whilst I love meat, I also love the environment, and the older I get, the more I am actually thinking about the planet I live on. And one of the biggest contributors towards climate change (aka biggest emitor of CO2), is the rearing of livestock. The United Nations released a report back in 2006, outlining how the meat industry is a bigger contributor to green house gas emissions than the emissions from cars, buses, trains and planes all put together! I remember reading this report and being genuinely horrified, and thinking “I can’t do this anymore”. As the meat industry grows, so do the effects that it has on the environment, and I just realised in my mind I actually care more about the environment than I thought. Also, I am an animal lover, and whilst I do believe that in the UK a lot of farmers and agriculture treat their animals well, I also know that many animals that are farmed spend their lives in tiny cages, and are pumped with hormones and chemicals, and I just couldn’t ignore it any longer. This isn’t meant to be a guilt trip for anyone, I promise I am not trying to make anyone feel bad, I am just explaining my reasons. I used to tell myself I was ok eating meat because I would happily kill an animal were I hungry and desperate. This is very much still true, but the reality is, the way animals are farmed isn’t like that, and my little excuse didn’t cut it anymore for me or for my conscience, or really for the planet.
So after this decision I made on a Sunday evening en route back to my little London flat, I decided I would just stop. I wasn’t prepared, but that next day I went to a Prêt-A-Manger after my gym session and got the only vegan/veggie option (a very delicious hummus wrap), and for dinner I made a way-too-hot vegan chilli, but since then, I have only had meat a hand full of times. Five weeks later, I am still doing quite well in my opinion. I didn’t eat a lot of dairy anyway, but I am still eating eggs and Greek style yoghurt. I use vegan protein powder (Missfits Nutrition and Neat Nutrition, both great brands). I count myself quite lucky that I live in London, where the health and fitness industry is thriving and where dietary requirements of all walks of life are catered for. Vegan and veggie restaurants are a plenty. I’m saving money because meat is so bleeding expensive (didn’t intend the pun but I am leaving it in there anyway), and it’s also forcing me to prepare my food at the weekends ready for the week ahead. Luckily a lot of vegan options involve making big dishes that can be put into tupperware and kept in the fridge. Best of all, I get to up my carb intake, and everyone loves carbs right?
I will say that for the first two weeks, my body was so uncomfortable. All the added fibre that I definitely wasn’t used to having didn’t go down all too well, and I am still in the process of sorting my stomach problems out, and going to see a nutritionist, but I am certain that I will be able to sort it all out and still not consume meat and whey. I don’t weigh myself, but I am pretty certain I have lost weight, which was never my intent, I have lost most sign of my abdominal muscles, but I put that more down to my stomach issues, and getting used to the new diet, as to be honest, 5 weeks isn’t long, when I have been eating meat for most of my life. I don’t lack energy, I am still as tired as ever (ha! kinda joking), and I have only craved meat a few times. When I did crave it, I had a burger, which was good, but certainly not the best thing I have ever tasted in my life, and coming from a meat lover like me, that means a lot! This is the mindset I am going to continue having. If I do want to eat meat, then I will, not everyday, and probably not every week, but when I feel like it I will!
A favourite vegan spot of mine ‘Redemption’ in Shoreditch
If you’re interested in transitioning I would love to hear your thoughts. I have got a lot of recipe ideas from simply googling things, as well as Deliciously Ella’s books, which have some incredible recipes in them, and hopefully soon I can start sharing some of my own meat free recipes with you! I am not using any labels, I am not going to shout it from the roof top, I am just proud that I have made a change in my lifestyle for something bigger than myself. It’s not been to lose or gain weight, it’s not been to build a booty or get abs, I am doing this because I am actually becoming passionate about protecting the environment, and that feels very very cool. Does anyone have any good vegan/veggie blogs that they follow? Let me know!
Here are some interesting articles on the environmental side of things for anyone who is interested: