It’s Meat Free Week in the UK and Australia this week (March 23-29).
I try my best to be vegetarian. Really I do.
I completely, wholeheartedly support the ethical ideal of non-violence towards all beings. I love animals and grew up rescuing injured wildlife in the Australian bush, where we knew how to hunt and what it meant to take a life.
But here’s my problem:
I was also raised eating meat every day.
I simply love the smell of bacon.
Christmas ham has always been my favourite meal of the year.
That’s really the biggest challenge—meat cravings are my default setting from 32 years of eating habits. Watching the movie Earthlings cured me of this for some time, but the cravings creep back. Especially when I am busy or tired.
Then this year I received the best eating advice I’ve ever heard:
“If I give my body everything it needs at every meal, I won’t have any cravings at all.”
It makes total sense. Cravings are my body saying, “Quick! I need energy/power/lubricant!” and aiming me towards the fastest thing it knows that will meet the need. Hello chocolate addiction.
The advice came from my qualified nutritionist friend Fur Wale from ArtOfExpression, who was raised on a vegetarian diet and finds this stuff super easy. Together we wrote a cookbook for my Mum to help her manage autoimmune disease, but I think I refer to it more!
So, here’s how to stay sane and keep a full, happy belly this Meat Free Week.
Every Single Meal Must Include:
Sounds simple right? But what are the right kinds of each?
Here are some great, meat free options (portion sizes for a woman, increase for a man).
3 eggs (organic/free range)
100gm organic quinoa (porridge, flakes or grain)
100gm organic tofu (organic is essential to avoid nasties)
1 part brown rice, 2 part legumes (200gm total)
Big handful of mushrooms
2 tbsp hemp seeds or powder (great in a green smoothie)
Vegetables: best are leafy greens, green beans, sweet potato,
eggplant, broccoli, okra, Brussels sprouts
100gm brown rice
1 tbsp coconut oil, flax seed oil or good olive oil
Half an avocado
2 tbsp nuts (cashews, walnuts)
2 tbsp seeds (pepitas, chia, sunflower)
Luckily for us, there are some ingredients like quinoa and brown rice that cover two categories to make things easier.
For me, breakfast is where I’ve had to make the biggest and most difficult change, as I rarely used to include protein.
I now eat a nutrition packed frittata for breakfast every morning, which I make in advance twice per week.
Happy, animal friendly eating!
Author: Crystal Davis
Editor: Travis May