I like meat, I like fish and I like vegetables. I’m a big egg fan and I’m quite certain I’d be miserable if I gave up dairy products. I don’t do strange diets, I’ve never tried to be a full-blown vegan and I’m still not entirely sure what “Whole 30” actually means.
This is my confession.
Like most people out there, I’m going into the new year with good intentions of eating healthier and losing some weight. But I’m not about to dive into a sufferfest. If I’m going to succeed in the long term, it has to be something that I both enjoy and is sustainable. Not something that has me barking at people, losing my mind because all you can think of is a rasher sandwich or dreaming of cheese because you’ve crossed that off your list of “acceptable foods”.
I fly the flag for free range, sustainable farming and proper treatment of animals, as well as only choosing to eat fish that are in season – no question. I grow a lot of our own vegetables at home in the front garden, my Dad collects honey from our own beehives (leaving plenty for the bees to eat during the winter) and our family is very conscious of food waste, recycling and generally finding ways to promote sustainability and kindness to the environment.
My Dad was a farmer and we were raised to appreciate and respect the food that we were given. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were kids, but they always told us that spending money on quality food was important. We learned about the value of food and the animals behind the finished products. My Dad would tell stories of his farming days in Denmark where he ended up with a pet pig (Oscar) because he couldn’t bring himself to leave him at the Abattoir after he escaped and made a run for a nearby wedding reception, where he was found standing on a table eating the wedding cake (true story).
My Dad is an animal lover. He feeds the birds in the garden every day, talks to the robin who keeps him company as he weeds the vegetable patch and since our dog Molly has died, he frequently rambles down to the local pet shop to see how they’re all doing. Without fail, Molly was always the first in the house who he’d say hello to in the mornings or upon returning to the house. He’s also saved the life of many a bird that has smacked into the kitchen windows, mending wings and carefully nursing a few back to health with boiled eggs and milk.
My Dad eats meat every day of the week. Give or take. So how do you reconcile all of this?
Appreciation and respect.
He has utter respect for animals and in turn, appreciates the sacrifice of animal life and the food they provide to sustain life.
I respect completely other people’s views and how they choose to live their lives. How others choose to live their lives is their decision and I don’t feel it’s for me to judge anyone else. As for me, I have grown up with a man who loves animals, cares for and respects them more than anyone I have ever met. I have grown up with a farmer who acknowledges the value of meat and dairy products, as well as the sacrifice involved. I have grown up with a man who eats meat.
Incidentally, I’m actually a veggie lover and my diet probably comprises 80% vegetables and fish. I eat meat about once a week. The point is I do eat meat and I probably always will. Like my Dad, I’m an animal lover and I’m always conscious of the ultimate sacrifice animals make, as well as the impact on global carbon emissions.
To say that I will never eat meat again would be dishonest and just never going to happen. But what I can do and what we all can do is reduce the amount of meat that we currently eat – if you eat 7 days a week, then reduce it to 6… then 5…. then 4…
And don’t be weird about it.
Not eating meat doesn’t have to equate to sitting down at the dinner table with sad bowl of iceberg lettuce. Who would do that? Have something tasty, like pizza, welsh-rarebit, butternut squash Thai red curry, spaghetti, creamy mushroom tagliatelle or lentil lasagne. Oh, or giant baked potato and baked beans… stuffed jacket potatoes. Now you might be starting to realise why I eat vegetarian most of the time just because I want to…
Eating meat is not something you have to be ashamed of. But not having respect, or an appreciation for it or where it comes from, is. Reducing how much you eat and ensuring the quality of the source it comes from (ie. free range) IS something YOU can contribute in ensuring a better world for animals and human beings alike.
These are just my scribblings on thoughts that regularly rattle around my head and are not intended to be advice or opinions that I would inflict on anyone. It’s just me trying to make sense of my world! Thanks for reading x