With National Vegetarian Week ,run by the Vegetarian Society, wrapping up, here are our views on going vegetarian and why it's worth your while to have a go!
The food we eat, and the diets we follow have a massive impact on the communities and planet around us.
Sustain’s Food for the Planet campaign indicates that the food system contributes to around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. They, and we, advocate for a food system which is focused on less meat, and that this meat should be of a high quality which maximises animal welfare and minimises negative impact on nature and biodiversity. Whilst not an invitation to go vegetarian or vegan, transitioning to more vegetarian or vegan meals can have a positive impact- on you, and on the planet.
With the Vegetarian Society’s “National Vegetarian Week” wrapping up, the campaign has been encouraging exactly this- giving veggie a go, at the level which works for you. Whether one meal a week, or committing to a vegetarian diet, the campaign is clear that eating veggie can cut carbon and drive real change.
Here at Granite City Good Food, we are huge advocates for healthy, balanced diets – which work for you. This National Vegetarian week, we wanted to break down form of the barriers to ‘giving veggie a go’. And who knows – you might even have fun!
1) It’s Tasty and Easier than Ever
Vegetarian food options can be, and often are, delicious. Adding some vegetarian meals into your diet opens a diversity of products to meals. Bringing vegetables, legumes and more to the forefront, provides variety in mealtimes and can even prevent potential boredom. There are loads of alternatives to choose from. Adding beans, lentils and chickpeas to dishes like ragu can bulk out meals for cheap and provides all the protein needed (we often need less than we think!). Falafel is an amazing snack or wrap filler, and of course who can forget eggs and cheese! If you’re still craving that meat component however, there are alternative products available. Often derived from soy, seitan, tempeh or tofu, these products can be a fun alternative that gives that ‘meaty’ texture. Around 4.5% of the UK population are already eating a vegetarian or vegan diet and according to Eating Better, one in five ready meals are already plant based or vegetarian – so who knows, you may already be giving it a go!
2) It’s Healthy!
A vegetarian lifestyle, when done properly with lots of gorgeous fruit and veg packed with nutrients, and a variety of non-meat-based protein, can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables has been linked to an abundance of health benefits such as lowered blood pressure. Other benefits include:
- 37% less risk of developing diabetes
- 22% less risk of coronary heart disease
- 12% lower risk of cancer, especially stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and blood cancers.
So even if you don't want to go completely vegetarian, eating a higher proportion of veggie meals will do you some good!
3) It Can Help Mother Earth
We are living in a climate and nature emergency and our diets play an integral role in how we mitigate it. Increasing the quantity of vegetarian meals and snacks into your diet can be considered an accessible way for you to cut down on your carbon. This aspect is especially prevalent in the younger generations with a YouGov survey in 2019 found that a quarter of 18-year-olds are now vegetarian or vegan, with concerns about climate change and nature loss, driving the shift to more sustainable eating.
4) It’s (Often) More Cost Effective
Studies have found that a vegetarian diet can be healthy for your purse too. In fact, a study by the University of Oxford found that ‘in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and across Western Europe, adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet could slash your food bill by up to one-third’.
So why not give it a go! Adding some veggie meals and snacks to your diet is great for your taste buds, your health, the planet, and your purse. This National Vegetarian Week take some inspiration to try meatless meals and why not ease into the meatless lifestyle by taking on Meat Free Mondays. There are so many wonderful recipes and resources out there to help you on your journey and the best part… you can have so much fun!
Check out these resources for inspiration and give it a go!