This week it is National Vegetarian Week and this means that thousands across the UK are eating a meat free diet for a week in aid of both fun and also, for an interesting challenge. I thought I’d share with you over the next few days a selection of posts, with hopefully some guest posts too including recipes, thoughts and experiences all about vegetarianism. The Vegetarian Society says that some 4 million people in Britain are vegetarian, and together they are making a difference in the way we think about food in the UK.
For those of you who aren’t sure The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as: “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of slaughter. Vegetarians also avoid the by-products of slaughter such as gelatine which is found in some sweets, biscuits and ice creams and animal rennet which is found in some cheese.
For us (Myself and the Children) this is something we do every week. We are vegetarian and so do not eat any meat, fish or animal derived products at all. I have been vegetarian since I was nine and it all began after meeting like-minded animal loving (and vegetarian) friends at a drama club. Up until the age of nine I hadn’t considered turning vegetarian, but as soon as I considered it, I knew it was right for me.
Why am I vegetarian? This is a strange concept for me to write about, because it’s not normally a conversation I have or topic I cover. I believe in choice. So I don’t rant and rave at meat eaters, I don’t attend rallies supporting the cause. But this does not mean I am not passionate about vegetarianism. Put quite simply, I do not eat meat because I think it is cruel and also unnecessary.
The thought of anything suffering makes me feel ill. Whether human or animal. 2.5 million animals are slaughtered and over 600,000 tonnes of fish are killed EVERY DAY in the UK and I find that very, very sad. I also don’t eat meat because I think it is a grotesque injustice to keep the animals in the horrendous conditions that they are kept in, and even worse to then slaughter and consume them.
I can’t remember what meat tastes like and to be honest, I do not want to remember. I am more than happy with my delicious vegetables and also tofu or meat substitutions such as Quorn or Linda McCartney products.
So then, the main question. The question I am asked so very regularly. Are vegetarians missing out on essential vitamins?
My answer is ALWAYS the same. No.
A balanced vegetarian diet can provide all the vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy! The key to a healthy vegetarian diet, as with any other diet, including a meat-eating one is to eat a wide variety of foods including proteins, vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits, plenty of greens, whole grain products and seeds. I have been a vegetarian for 22 years and never once had low iron or any diet related illnesses.
I love being a vegetarian and if it’s good enough for tortoises, rhinoceros and gorillas then it’s good enough for me!