Food Lifestyle

It’s been a few years since my mother stopped including red meat in our meals. We mostly ate fish and the occasional meat (chicken, pork). When I left home, I pretty much eliminated all meat from my diet. The one exception to the rule is cold cuts; my boyfriend and I still buy them cuz they’re handy for lunches, ya know. We eat a lot of fish, seafood, legumes, tofu, etc. Vegetarian sources of protein come in such a wide variety nowadays!

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Why do I seldom eat meat? I do it for my health, the environment, the flavour, and because I can’t stand cooking with meat. I can’t help worrying that I might get a Salmonella infection if I touch a piece of raw chicken and that my cutting board and knife will be forever contaminated! I admit to being a bit of a hypochondriac …

That being said, and factoring in the tendency folks have of labelling people, I’ve decided that I’ll never be a vegetarian. Comments like “Yeah, but what about protein?”, or “Okayyy, but meat is SO good!”, or “Uh huh, so you’re telling me you don’t eat eggs and cheese?”, etc. are tiresome, to say the least. What’s more, I’ve seen several of my “vegetarian” friends eat meat when travelling abroad under the premise that they want to taste the local dishes and I’ve also seen them eat meat in their routine lives when in the company of friends. Even then, comments like “Aren’t you vegetarian?” still persist. I don’t want to deal with that anymore. And let’s not forget that if we have the great misfortune of being vegetarian, it must mean that we don’t get enough protein, we want to save all of the animals on the Planet, we ONLY eat seeds, we try to convert everyone to vegetarianism (my fave thing to do in my spare time), and we must be hungry all the time cuz salad isn’t very filling.

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Vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, does it really matter? What does matter is having a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. Of course, people who eat meat don’t have the same way of thinking as people who don’t eat meat or consume animal byproducts. The source of protein you choose to consume, be it in one form or another, won’t necessarily make this planet a better world to live in. If we choose to reduce our consumption of meat, we owe it to ourselves to undertake the lengthy process gradually; after all, we are completely overhauling our customary diet. Finding substitutes for the average meat and potatoes meal can require some research on our part and I, for one, enjoy it! I find vegetarian cuisine more flavourful, more varied, more colourful… The benefits of eating less meat are well documented but are we truly ready to embrace this different way of life?

Have you reduced, or attempted to reduce, your consumption of meat?

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