World Meat Free Day revisited. And I’m injured.

Again.

As the title suggests, I’m out of action. I suspect the problem is with my Achilles. I was meant to be seeing a doctor today, but woke to a text message from the surgery saying my appointment has been cancelled without explanation. I really need to change to a different surgery, because this happens far too often.

Anyhow, that’s meant no running and, aside from limping around at work, no walking this week. Combined with a shedload of problems in other areas of my life, it’s led to me having no drive to do anything productive at all. I’ve come home from work every night late because of traffic, stressed to the teeth, and just eaten junk food in front of the TV.

I’m going to use this weekend to try to just relax and reset my brain, as well as rest my stupid injury. I have a 10k coming up in a fortnight, so I need to get it sorted.

And now, a quick nod to World Meat Free Day last Monday. I meant to do a full-blown recap the day after, but Tuesday was really the start of my bad week and I thought if I couldn’t say anything nice, best not to say anything at all.

You see, I encountered a lot of negativity on Monday regarding World Meat Free Day. Personally, I didn’t find anything about the World Meat Free Day website preachy or pushy. If I had, I can guarantee I wouldn’t have been into it at all. I hate being preached at, whatever the topic. I’ve cut people off mid-sentence, unfollowed many people on social media, turned off documentaries, and stopped reading articles that I feel are trying to push something onto me or guilt me into doing (or not doing) something.
I felt that the whole thing was presented as more of a suggestion and a way of raising awareness of the difference people could make to the planet and to their own health. I found it interesting. Of course, how other organisations and individuals chose to present it may have come across differently.
Anyhow, that made me reluctant to tackle a blog post earlier this week.

How did my meat-free day go? Pretty well.

Breakfast was easy. I rarely eat meat with my breakfast; a bowl of cereal with strawberries (from my garden – so delicious), cocoa nibs and coconut milk is my usual breakfast at the moment.

Lunch was supposed to be mango and black bean salad. Slight hitch – I couldn’t get black beans. Welcome to the Valleys… I stood in the kitchen, running out of time to make something before I had to be somewhere, totally uninspired. I ended up throwing together a bowl of pasta with pesto, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. It was delicious.

My snack was a Cadbury’s Caramel donut, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Dinner was my favourite meal of the day. I’d been looking forward to trying this dish since reading about it in this post on Peanut Butter Runner’s blog. Avocado and scrambled egg on toast…with sauerkraut. I hadn’t been able to get hold of sauerkraut, despite trying three different shops, but my parents got me a jar when they went shopping, so I could finally try the meal. It was amazing. I love it! So much, in fact, that I’ve had it twice more since. If I leave off the eggs, I can make it at work for my lunch. I’d forgotten how much I love sauerkraut. Fun fact: the first time I ever had it was on a hot dog on Main Street at Disneyland Paris.

So delicious!
All in all, an excellent food day, and easy to avoid eating meat for 24 hours. I often have days where I accidentally don’t eat meat, but I’ll be making more of a conscious effort to plan meat-free days more often.

Now I’m going to make another conscious effort to get myself back on track with exercise. I may not be able to walk properly, or stand for long, but I can grab some dumbbells and do some seated upper body work.

I’ll probably do it whilst listening to Yazz & The Plastic Population to try and remind myself that yes, the only way is up. Oh yes, I did…

World Meat Free Day 2016

Going meat-free for a day

Monday 13th June 2016 is World Meat Free Day.

I’m not vegetarian. I’m a meat-eater who struggles most days with her conscience. I realise the hypocrisy of calling myself an animal lover and then sitting down to a meal that includes meat. I’ve tried giving up completely in the past, and let’s just say it doesn’t work.* Placing that sort of restriction on my diet just makes me miserable and angry. I’m not pleasant to be around when I’m like that.

However, I do eat less meat these days than I used to. I probably eat a greater variety – in the last few years I’ve become far more adventurous with food – but less often than I used to.

I don’t eat lamb, simply because I can’t stand the smell of it cooking. And recently (65 days ago, in fact), I stopped eating pork. I love pigs, and I’ve felt a lot of guilt over the last few months about eating them. So I stopped. I won’t lie, it’s been challenging. Ever notice how many pizza toppings are pork-based? Most of them. And hidden pork in a lot of dishes when eating out has threatened to trip me up a few times. But I don’t feel as though I’m missing out, really. It’s a choice that I’ve made, and that makes it a lot easier to stick to than if I’d been told I must give it up. Plus I’ve discovered that Linda McCartney sausages are brilliant, so no worries that I’ll miss out on hot dogs when we have BBQs!

So, back to World Meat Free Day. What’s it about? Why are we being encouraged to take part?

According to the World Meat Free Day website, it’s about saving the planet. Population growth and the demand for meat is having a huge impact on the environment. If a family of four goes without meat for one day, the water saved will be the amount that one person would use in a month.
It’s also about health. That same family of four going meat-free for one day could save the amount of dietary fat found in 26 teaspoons of butter.

Check out the sustainability calculator to see how much of an impact one meat-free day for you, your family, or even your colleagues could have.

It may be easier than you think to go a day without meat. There are a lot of great vegetarian recipes out there, or you could simply substitute ingredients in your favourite recipes to make them meat-free. Here are some ideas:

Have an omelette for breakfast. They’re quick and easy to make, and you can fill them with just about any veggies you have in the fridge. My favourite is a simple omelette with warmed cherry tomatoes and a little sprinkling of cheese.

A big, filling salad at lunchtime doesn’t have to include meat. Try adding chickpeas, mixed beans, or eggs to your leafy greens. Give it a kick with a simple lemon, olive oil and garlic dressing, or try balsamic vinegar mixed with olive oil and some dried mixed herbs.

What about a wrap for lunch? Wrap sliced avocado and sundried tomatoes in tortilla smeared with cream cheese. Or make coronation ‘chicken’ with Quorn pieces instead, and pop that into a wrap with some lettuce.

Use mushrooms as a substitute for meat. Chopped mushrooms are great used in place of meat in casseroles, and big portabellas make lovely vegetarian burger alternatives.

Having chilli for dinner? Try using lentils instead of the meat. You can get quick-cook lentils that don’t require soaking, or use tinned, to make things easier.

Tofu isn’t for everyone (personally, I prefer it to be cooked for me in a restaurant), but if you haven’t tried it, it’s worth a go. Pinterest is a gold mine for tofu recipes that look mouth-wateringly good!

If you’re in a hurry, you could try a meat-free ready meal. I’m fond of a Quorn cottage pie, and their toad in the hole is pretty good, too. Linda McCartney kievs are on my ‘to try’ list, and lots of supermarkets have their own meat-free ranges in the chilled and frozen aisles.

Finally, here’s the link to a recipe that I absolutely love. Fiery Welsh Dragon Hash Browns, from Independent Kitchen.

Image courtesy of Independent Kitchen
It’s worth the effort to make them from scratch; a crispy, spicy hash brown topped with a poached egg is delicious, filling, and you probably won’t even notice there’s no meat on your plate!

So, are you in? Will you be going meat-free on Monday 13th June? You can pledge your support on the World Meat Free Day website. I’ll be updating after the day to tell you how it went in my household!

* Polite footnote to say that this isn’t an invitation for unsolicited advice on becoming vegetarian or vegan. You eat your way, I eat mine.