Wednesday, 21 April 2010

"Don't eat my family, man."

I stopped wanting to eat meat recently. Something has happened to my head ever since I got cats. Basically, I've gone all mushy and, having seen their personalities develop and how attached to me they've become, it has totally put me off the idea of eating meat. I was a very happy meat eater so it has been hard. But the thought of eating a piece of rare lamb or a chewy sausage is really not appealing to me these days. I even turned down chorizo in the pub last night. Serious.

I think the turning point came when I was chatting to a friend who works in sustainability and mentioned that I was toying with the idea of cutting out meat, or just eating meat that I can be sure is from a good source. She pointed out that that was why she hadn't shared the meat dish in a sushi restaurant we'd just been to. When you think about it, who knows where a lot of restaurants, with their eye firmly on the bottom line, are getting their meat?

I decided it had to be all or nothing as that's just how it goes with me. I've done a few weeks now and am feeling quite happy about it. But I do occasionally think about Bodeans. And I'm still eating fish. I haven't worked that one out just yet.

As it's just an instinct at the moment, I really want to do a bit of reading and am keen to watch Food, Inc. to clue myself up about the broader picture. Any suggestions on reading? Why did you turn vegetarian? Or, why are you a happy meat eater? Oh, and recipe resources would be good too, if you have any to share?

PS: Sorry for the ridiculously cutesy picture. But this is the kind of thing that's taking me down these days! Alice's lamb pictures also took me down, recently.

[Another Youneak pic steal. Sorry you guys! But I am a fan of your work.]


  1. YAY! i'm so proud of you!!!

    i was a VERY happy meat eater until the age of fact meat in all forms was my very favorite food. but then the same thing happened to me that happened to you: i started thinking about what i was actually eating. once i made that connection, it was all over. i just couldn't do it any more.

    please feel free to e-mail me with any and all questions you have...not only did i do a bunch of research when i became a veg (fyi...i think you're doing the right thing by slowly weaning yourself off of animal protein and not going cold turkey (HA!) b/c it can be a real shock to your system and we can talk more about that offline...), but you know my recent saga with trying to return to the dark side. i'd be happy to send you lots of recipes and food ideas, so just let me know what you need!


  2. This picture is adorable!!! I try not to eat meat, i only eat chicken! but still meat- feel very guilty now. Must learn to cook some veggie dishes first!! good luck with it! xx

  3. Gorgeous dog picture! I've eaten meat all my life but something weird happened to me last weekend. I had a turkish takeaway and was eating some (well done, that's how they come) lamb chops whilst looking for a picture of Stella McCartney on my laptop. I'm not sure if I was getting some subliminal veggie message from Stella but I spat out my piece of lamb chop and had to throw the rest away. Most odd. My current favourite dinner is cauliflower cheese... Maybe I'm turning veggie at my age! xx

  4. A meaty post...

    Funny, though.

    I've been having awful guilt pangs about eating meat over several months now.

    Mostly because of feelings of fondness towards various furry/feathered friends being tempered by sudden realisations that I'd be quite happy to eat them under different circumstances. Ducks, especially, really get me squirming.

    Still not really worked out where I stand on it all. Keep thinking that nature is basically predatory, so what's the harm?
    (Your cats would probably laugh at you.)

    But, yeah, I kinda know what you mean.

  5. I'm a pescetarian - I haven't, as yet, justified eating fish to myself :-)

    But it's amazing what you can do without meat, and how easy it is to do it - quorn and soya are good subsitutes, especially for chilli, lasagne, moussaka and breakfast dishes (and no grizzle..hallelujah).

    Aside from meat substitutes, really good sources of protein are beans and tofu/tempeh. E.g chinese style tofu, beanburgers, rice and beans with vegetables.

    You can try to include yoghurt with other dishes to up your protein intake, e.g. yoghurt and oatmeal with berries for breakfast.

    And then there's cheese...I love cheese. Goes with most things.

    But then I'm a pescetarian, so I'll stop there.

  6. I became vegetarian at the age of 13, for the same reason as you, the thought of it just began to disgust me. I do eat fish sometimes but I have had long periods where I couldn't face it (often after seeing fishing on tvm ugh, don't want to think about it). I only try to eat fish because I am not a very good vegetarian in terms of getting nutrition from lentils, pulses etc, and I have actually found out that I'm anaemic now. I'm a bit ashamed of that because I think you can have a really healthy vegetarian diet, so it's good you're getting advice. Hopefully from someone more helpful than me, but good luck!

    ps if you try tofu, don't give up if you don't like it, it's all in the preparation and if you marinade it with a mix like ginger, lime, lemongrass it is really nice in a stir fry. Also if you suffer from the odd meat craving quorn sausage rolls or quorn picnic eggs are good - my Auntie was furious the other day because she ate some of my quorn scotch eggs and didn't notice they weren't meat!

  7. I gave up meat (and fish) when I was 18. I had never liked handling it to cook and the straw that broke the camel's back was having to remove the bag of giblets from inside a chicken - I went cold turkey (sorry, couldn't resist) from that precise moment.

    I don't do it for 100% ethical reasons, as I still wear leather products, but I just find the thought of eating flesh disgusting and I also feel better about it from an environmental point of view.

  8. Thanks for mentioning my pictures! I don't eat meat but I do eat fish. I find it works best for me :)

  9. I was vegetarian for about 3 years a decade or so ago. I do actually love meat, and I don't get sentimental about it, but I would be a happy vegetarian if I had to be.
    I try and source the meat we eat from local farms, or a national supermarket chain's organic range that is highly traceable, just because it seems more ethical to me.
    In fact, I have a harder time with fish, morally, if I start thinking about the depleted seas and dwindling fish stocks I get all worried. I don't think we'll ever run out of cows.
    Ah! I'm ranting again. Sorry ;)

  10. Thanks Rebekah. I'll definitely be in touch to talk about it more if you don't mind. Especially now you're a lady of leisure, too. (For a short while!)

    Anon - I've definitely decided to indulge myself with cheese if I have to give up meat! And luckily we both love tofu, so that's handy.

  11. hihi, no problem to take our pics ;) as long as you write a credit ;)

  12. I've been veggie since I was about 14 (32 now) and have never regretted it. Similar to others, I just actually THOUGHT about what meat was, where it comes from, etc. I actually don't think humans have to eat meat (can you imagine actually running up to a cow/deer/chicken and sinking your stubby little teeth and "claws" into it? would be a bit difficult...especially versus sinking your teeth into a juicy apple!)I think we have the ability to decide what's best for our own little bodies.

    Good luck to you - there is an abundance of information in good vegetarian cookbooks and online. Whole Foods Market's website has lots of good veggie recipes, too.

  13. I stopped eating meat a couple of years ago just because I stopped liking it, it had a weird smell all of a sudden.

    Only recently I have been craving it again and every now and then I will have something.

    I have been very conscious of where my meat is coming from and only ever buy it from farmers markets or well known butchers. I avoid buying it in restaurants unless there is a statement on the menu about the meat being free range. I have not set foot in fast food shops for about 8 years.

    I do eat fish though but also try to go for the sustainable kind.

    Eggs are also a big thing for me, supermarkets are stocked with free range eggs but the real issue is all the ready products that contain eggs. Luckily big companies like Hellmans changed to free range some time ago but one must be so careful even with buying pasta. I have also swapped large eggs to medium, I read somewhere that large eggs hurt hens. Small change but if it helps I am up for it.

    Another book that is good even though it focuses more on the whole fast food industry is Fast Food Nation.

    As for recipes I always buy regular cook books and go for the pasta, risotto or pulses dishes, Jamie is good as is Skye Gyngell. Or simply adjust meaty recipes replacing it with pulses or tofu Good luck! x

  14. Funny, my 2 cats show me everyday what it means to be a happy meat eater... They bring in mice and birds and all kinds of stuff and even enjoy playing with their food (cruel, I know). I didn't eat meat for 10 years, for all kinds of (ethical) reasons, but have to say I really feel it's good for me and my body (I hardly eat any dairy). We only buy free range and organic though and when I lived in Germany we got our meat directly from an organic farm. Eat and be eaten... I feel it's the circle of life. So no moral pangs for me.

  15. I was vegetarian for a few years, but eventually crept back towards eating meat, but oddly, pregnancy put me right off it again. I eat chicken (only organic, or at worst, free range - it's bad enough eating meat without eating a creature that has been abominably abused during its short life) and fish, but can't remember the last time I had red meat. John is completely vegetarian and has been since he was about 10, so we never eat meat at home.

  16. You have stopped eating meat in the exactly the same way I did 15 years ago. Kind of "let's see how it goes". Well, it went for me - I've never touched it since. My love of animals was definitely a factor but in the end the thought of god knows what being put into meat from badly kept animals was the nail in the coffin for me. I can honestly say I've never missed it - and I was an enthusiastic meat eater.

    Now fish is another matter... I still haven't quite sorted that out.