Meet the veggies *uh!* we're the veggies *uh!* oh, they grow here in my nursery...
My CBeebies posse will have sung that in their heads but for those of you who don't regularly watch Mr Bloom and his crew of tasty chums, (what are you doing with your life?) I apologise.
This week is National Vegetarian Week! A thing I never knew existed until today, which is quite funny to me as two weeks ago, completely oblivious as to what was coming up, I decided to start eating a vegetarian diet.
Why choose veggie?
Personally, the choice to stop eating meat came from many different pathways leading to the same end. I had already started to cut down on meat consumption for a good 4 or so months previous to my big decision. I have a number of systematic conditions that affect how my body react to stuff such as food and digestion and I'd definitely noticed a correlation between feeling ill with gastric issues and syncope and eating a meat-heavy meal. Alongside this I'd recently been reading into the meat trade and feeling more and more like I wanted to really reduce my consumption for ethical and environmental reasons. On top of all of this though, I just wasn't enjoying eating meat any more. It became the part of the meal I looked forward to least or would often throw away entirely, which made me feel even worse as I try to avoid waste as much as possible.
What is there to eat?
I'm lucky enough to enjoy a wide range of non-meat based foods. I love fresh fruit and veg, I still eat dairy products (although this too is something I have cut right down on due to health reactions and ethical reasons) so there are a ton of options available to me. It's a jokey stereotype to think of Linda McCartney foods when thinking of vegetarian meals but they are actually extremely tasty, well balanced meals when you want something quick and easy. This mushroom and spinach burger from the frozen range was amazing. I actually enjoyed a burger with no stomach ache or fainting spells and it was delicious (brioche bun, fillings and sweet potato chips made separately). I have also yet to be disappointed by any meat substitute products - Quorn's Turkey Stuffing Style Slices for example are perfect for a quick sarnie lunch. I can taste no difference at all.
Why don't you go vegan?
This is a question I ask myself a lot. I don't like a lot of things about the dairy trade but I'm not educated enough on the topic to start a debate. I don't like the mentality that drinking cow's milk is completely normal yet breastfeeding is still such a taboo subject. I don't like how the animals are treated not just for their consumables and wearables but for their whole being, things like captive zoos etc. I just know what I feel, and it makes me feel uncomfortable and sad. Dairy also negatively impacts my health through gallbladder issues, so as I said further up I have made a conscious effort to really reduce my dairy consumption. It feels too big of a step for me at the moment mentally to try a full vegan lifestyle but I would never say never. Five years ago I would have never have considered I'd be vegetarian.
Will your children be vegetarian?
It is entirely their choice. I have spoken to both my sons about mine and my husband's decision to eat a vegetarian diet and they are age appropriately aware of why we are doing what we're doing. They have both decided to carry on eating meat for the time being and I will continue to support them in their personal choices. My five year old has been curious and tried a few new things which has been amazing (veggie pasta and meatballs was a roaring success!), anything that gets more veggies into our kids and get them talking about healthy food has got to be a good thing.
Are you partaking in National Vegetarian Week 2017? Do you have a favourite meat-free meal you'd like to share? Drop me a comment below!
Who is Julie?
30 something, mother of two gorgeous boys, lover of one gorgeous husband, perpetually living in a dream world full of wine, chocolate and artsy crafty things.