Sunday, March 30, 2014

A return, and Meat Free Week

Well, have you missed me? Sorry about the long gap, guys, it's been a crazy, crazy time. But I'm glad to be back now!

There have been a few bookish things happening, but I think I'll leave them for a post next week. You see, this week, I've been doing Meat Free Week - which is a pretty big change for me. I am known in my family for being perfectly content with meat (or fish) and potatoes, and skipping most vegetables. This week, every meal I ate has been without meat or fish.

It has been a lot better than I thought it would be, to be honest! While I certainly haven't been eating all vegies, all the time, it has been fairly simple to do, certainly very delicious, and there were only a couple of cravings I had to deal with. A lot of my meals have been egg based, like the fantastic pumpkin and feta tart I had later in the week, and I had eggs on toast a couple of times. Looking back, I wish I had included vegetables with the eggs on toast - that would have been easy to do, and still pretty quick, which was my main concern at the time I was cooking.

I've really taken a few lessons away from Meat Free Week:

  • Meat free doesn't have to mean it tastes yuck, or isn't a complete meal. While I'm not a fan of a lot of meat replacement products, I have definitely decided that a meat free meal doesn't just mean a margherita pizza and chips! There are plenty of things you can do with pasta and with eggs that feel really filling (even with a reasonable size portion!) and are also delicious. 
  • Going meat free wasn't about losing weight for me, although I have dropped a bit. But there's no point going meat free and eating giant portions of everything else. As with everything, balance is key. 
  • I really want to get more COLOUR into my diet. Even going back to including meat in my diet, I want to aim to have a rainbow on my plate every time I eat. I occasionally get caught up in having the same thing over and over, so making sure to change things up and keep it interesting every meal is really important to me. 
  • Some people get really freaked out by the idea of not eating meat. Although Meat Free Week was about doing something that is good for your health, good for the environment and good for animals, there are always people who can only see the extreme version of your actions. MP George Christensen held a 'Free Meat' lunch which specifically did not include green vegetables (although onions were "allowed"). Mr Christensen says that Meat Free Week is trying to convert people to vegetarianism, and said that not eating meat meant you weren't supporting Aussie farmers, which is "un-Australian". Sigh. I think he's forgotten that not all Aussie farmers raise sheep or cattle, and lots still grow vegetables! If you like, you can email Mr Christensen about this through his website here, or you can leave a comment on his Facebook page about the event, here. Please note that unlike some of the other comments, I do not endorse comments about Mr Christensen's personal appearance, that's really unkind. 

Another part of Meat Free Week was that you could raise money to support one of their three charities, Voiceless (an animal protection institute), the Australian Conservation Foundation, or Bowel Cancer Australia. I chose to support Bowel Cancer Australia, as I am quite concerned about the health affects of too much meat. I was amazed at the donations I received from my friends, and really touched by their support. I even received an anonymous donation, which still has me stumped! If you'd like to donate, you can still do that (up to the end of April, 2014) here

In conclusion, I plan to continue with Meat Free Monday, and maybe even Faceless Friday. I'm never going to be a complete vegetarian, but cutting down on meat has made me feel really good. It's also made me aware of the portion size of the meat that I am eating, which is often more than I should. The Australian 'Eat for Health' guidelines say that a serve of meat should be 65 grams, a serve of chicken should be 80 grams and a serve of fish should be 100 grams. It's always a bit difficult to measure grams like that, so the usual correlation to use is that a serving size should be about the size of the palm of your hand. Not with the fingers, just the palm! I know that I often eat more than that, and I'm going to try and cut back. 

Next week will be a post about the comics I'm reading, and Oz Comic Con in Adelaide which I'll be attending next weekend. It should be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to sharing that with everyone! Expect the post on Monday 7 April. Until then, keep reading! 

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