Meat Free Week
No meat for a whole week! I know I know, what are we thinking? You'll be happy to know we haven't lost our marbles. As an official ambassador for Food Revolution comes great responsibility….ok, I’m probably getting a bit carried away but it definitely comes with some important challenges & lessons. This week all ambassadors around the globe have been challenged to go without meat for the week. It’s actually in aid of an official charity campaign called Meat Free Week starting today in Australia & the UK. Now before I go on I want to make a promise that I won't get all preachy on you. I just hope to make you more aware. You can make your own decision based on the info & tools provided....for me the lesson is quality vs quantity.
Why you ask is there such a campaign?Well there are mountains of studies which prove how our heavy consumption of meat is not only impacting our own health, but is leaving a heavy burden on the environment too. This campaign allows us to stop & take stock of our individual impact and hopefully revaluate the choices we make when it comes to eating meat. This campaign is definitely NOT about never eating meat again. It's about enabling us to make small changes & more informed decisions.
If you're the type of person who needs hard facts, here are some of the findings which struck us the most: Fast Facts:
- High consumption of red and processed meat (like bacon, ham and other packaged meat such as turkey and chicken) is associated with bowel cancer and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Eating more vegetables and whole grains will cut your risk of contracting coronary heart disease and strokes (Yessss!).
- Reducing overall meat consumption can also prevent long-term weight gain (High-five!).
- Reducing meat intake and limiting processed meat can help lower high cholesterol (Another big fat yes!).
- All 17 of the world’s major fishing areas have reached or exceeded their natural limits (because of over consumption) yet one-third of the world’s fish catch is fed directly to livestock.
- Our love of cheap meat has led to wide scale factory farming. Globally, 70% of poultry meat, 50% of pork, 40% of beef and 60% of eggs are factory farmed.
Try this favourite meat free recipeOther ideas: For lunch try veggie frittatas (nice hot or cold), a veggie antipasto plate, falafel wraps, pesto pasta salad, beautiful cheese and salad sambo's.. Dinner try mushroom risotto, veggie quiches, veggie stir frys, veggie thai or indian curries, goats cheese butter & sage ravioli, veggie lasagne, lentil shepherds pie... Plan out your week now to make each lunch or dinnertime easier.
Tips to change your habits beyond #meatfreeweekIf you're considering reducing your intake of meat beyond #meatfreeweek, the easiest win is to look at your portion size. This may shock you but for cooked meat, The Australian Dietary Guidelines state serving sizes as being: 65g of lean red meat (beef, veal, lamb, mutton and pork), 80g poultry and 100g fish. Gulp... Another great step is to join #MeatlessMonday. Make it a regular fixture in your diary. The next thing to focus on is when eating meat, choose to only eat ethically sourced and produced meat. When buying meat think about where you're really buying it from. The best options are at your local farmers markets or free-range and organic butchers. The key is to always ask questions. This enables you to make the most informed, ethical decisions. We know not everyone can access local markets or butchers so when shopping in supermarkets, keep an eye out for RSPCA approved, organic or Humane Choice certification. The trickiest challenge arises when eating out. If you’re serious about creating change, don’t be afraid to ask some tough questions next time you’re ordering food. Is it free range, organic, local? In terms of takeaway, Thai is a repeat offender. It’s Australia’s No 1 take away. In the majority of cases, the eggs used are caged and chicken and pork has been factory farmed. The more people that ask these hard question, the more restaurant/cafe owners will feel the need to make the switch. And it’s not just meat we all need to consider. 72% of all seafood eaten by Australians is imported. The questions to ask here are - is it Australian? Is it sustainably farmed or wild caught? Is this species of fish threatened? Do your research and give overfished species a break by making an alternative choice. You can read our recent post on Eating Sustainable Fish here Did you know that nearly all of the world's fishing zones have exceeded their natural limits because of overfishing. Yet, one third of all fish caught is fed directly to livestock. It doesn't make sense does it? Before we finish we can't not mention eggs. The best option when it comes to eggs is buying Free Range Organic eggs. Certified Free Range Organic eggs means that there are only 750 – 1,500 chooks per hectare, with access to shelter, space, organic feed and protected from nasty predators – think stress free. Sadly some of Australia's major supermarkets have bended the rules when it comes to free-range so be wary. Don't forget you'll find eggs in food such as mayonnaise, some pasta & pastry as well as your favourite takeaway like pad-thai. Read the labels & ask wise questions. Really the answer to this is to shop local, be smart & curious. Your health will not only benefit from these small changes but the worlds welfare will. HERE you'll find a truck load of recipes to help you get through this week. Good luck!
We have the power to make a positive difference to our health, the planet and animals #meatfreeweek
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