Coming from someone who doesn’t eat any meat for, initially dietary but now also ethically driven reasons, I’ve become much more aware of the benefits of not consuming meat. It can be easy to see it as an all or nothing decision to make, however with more and more people becoming interested in the reasons behind the growing meat-free food available (and the absolute deliciousness of it), exploring the ways in which small changes can be made to a meat-eating diet can do wonders for your digestion, health, and overall wellbeing. With ‘Meat-Free Monday’ becoming something of a small phenomenon, when better to follow in the foot steps of Jamie Oliver (advocate of MFM) and discover ways of enjoying Mondays, meat-free, once and for all? …well, for those who don’t wish to give it up every day of the week.
EXPERIMENT WITH SIMILAR TEXTURES
It’s surprising how many foods can act as a decent meat replacement with a higher nutrition content, and hold just as much flavour as its meaty alternative. Take tofu for example, when cooked in a certain way, it can act easily as a meat substitute, served with buckwheat pasta, as part of a hot pot style meal, or simply seasoned with some local veggies, it’s absolutely delightful and contains 8g of protein per 100g. Another great alternative is the collaboration of beans with flour and other binding ingredients to create ‘meat’balls for a pasta dish, just like my Spaghetti and Bean Balls (http://www.naturallysassy.co.uk/recipes/spaghetti-bean-balls), or my beet burgers where mushrooms play a big part in creating the meat-like consistency (http://www.naturallysassy.co.uk/recipes/beet-burgers). Once you begin to experiment with ingredients like these, the possibilities you can create become a lot more apparent, and you can really begin to have fun with your tasty meat free meals.
TAKE IT ONE STEP FURTHER
You may just find that once your meat-free alternatives become firm favourites within your diet, that you want to expand from maybe one meat-free day to two or three per week. A lot of meat, especially that found in the supermarkets, has been pumped with lots of unwanted chemicals and hormones, which is completely unnatural and ultimately, bad for your body. However by reducing the amount you consume each week, your also decreasing your intake of these unwanted extras that come with it, giving you better digestion and allowing your body to thrive off the plant-based ingredients you are consuming instead. We collectively love to challenge ourselves when it comes to improving our health, with initiatives like ‘Dry January’ becoming something people aim to complete to better our health, ‘Meat-Free Monday’ is a great thing to adopt if you are aiming to transition to a more plant-based diet.
GET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY INVOLVED
When you are making a change to your lifestyle in any way, it’s vital you tell your closest friends and family, as without their support (if you are finding it difficult) you might feel demotivated about the decision you’ve made. Don’t just stick with standard recipes you’ve found, explore other meat-free options and the wonderful flavours that come with them, as you may find you want them more than just on a Monday. Something like this can only bring positive change too, you may sow the seed in someone else’s mind about taking on Mondays without meat, and they may even thank you for it. If you are going for a meal and there are limited options on the menu without meat (nowadays, there are rarely places that don’t have a variety of meat-free dishes), look ahead of your dinner date at the menu so you don’t stumble when you arrive, or ask them to add or take away certain ingredients in the dish. Generally they won’t mind, however if they can’t change it for you, perhaps the dish wasn’t too fresh anyway!
So, get creative and, if you haven’t or feel that you don’t want, to eliminate meat from your diet completely, try out Mondays meat-free, and you may just find that you want to try it for more than one day a week. There are plenty of recipes in the recipe section (well actually, they’re all meat-free), so try them out, and when Monday comes around, think about enjoying it, meat-free!