Reducing Meat Consumption
Over the last few weeks, I have decided to start a process. I want to start to reduce my meat consumption, but for me, I am treating this like a learning process. I want to enjoy the process so by not completely eradicating meat from my diet completely, I can slowly learn about plant-based substitutes, how to use beans, seeds, pulses and where to find the best produce that is not only fresh and good value but farmed sustainably and sold locally.
I felt that suddenly becoming a vegan would be a struggle as I am not educated enough on what I should and shouldn't be doing. I often find that vegans, whilst morally admirable, are often hypocritical (often unintentionally through lack of research). For example, the decimation of local communities and wildlife around the world is rife due to the growth in demand for products like avocados, quinoa etc. have led to an increase in deforestation to supply this demand. Farming such quantities of fruit and veg require vasts amounts of fresh water. Whats more, to keep up with demand, farmers need more and more workers but as farms look to scale up, margins get tighter and often the workers will feel that squeeze.
These issues just scratch the surface really, however, they will be addressed slowly as we work towards more sustainable world with farming technology looking at reducing the needs for ground space by building farming high rises, reducing water wastage by improving irrigation techniques and improving efficiency by introducing robotics.
Whilst there are issues with how we are farming still, the benefits of reducing meat and dairy consumption towards the health of our planet far out-weigh the issues how we farm avocados. Not only are we contributing towards a better environment but studies have suggested that plant-based diet may help prevent, treat, or reverse some of our leading causes of death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Plant-based eating can improve not only body weight, blood sugar levels, and ability to control cholesterol, but also emotional states, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, sense of well-being, and daily functioning.
So, while I know why I am doing it. Its working out how to do it which is an on-going process but I am learning more and more everyday (I discovered nutritional yeast the other day, its a great find. If you haven't used it yet, check it out, its so diverse and useful). Discovering and experimenting with new cuisines is one of my favourite things to do as a chef and plant-based recipes is just one of these. Having vegan friends to help guide me and make suggestions is going to be essential in my journey so if you can, ask for advice and recipe suggestions or alternatively follow people like minimalist baker, deliciously Ella etc. for ideas also, eventually you will be as confident with plant-based ingredients as you are with meat-based ingredients now.