About two years ago I decided to eat less meat. It sounded like an easy enough thing to do that has a big impact on the environment. I just wasn’t willing to become what I considered a “complicated person”, which was surprisingly difficult.
Ironically, the physical bit is the easiest part of eating less meat. You can live on a plant-based diet for a couple of days without your body or taste buds even noticing it. But when you try to do it deliberately while buying lunch and dinner in London every day it starts to become a challenge. The local food scene seems to want you to join one of two groups: the full-blown vegetarians or the meat lovers.
At first, I always ended up eating more meat than I wanted to. It’s down to statistics: picture yourself at a restaurant where 8 out of 10 main dishes contain meat or fish. You are more likely to fancy one of those dishes than one of the 2 vegetarian ones. Buying a sandwich for lunch isn’t much better: you either REALLY love falafel, or you eat a lot of meat or fish. Once you get more serious about avoiding animal products, you have to start eating in different places, with different people, i.e. join the ranks of vegetarians.
Eating less meat is more a journey than a decision..
Even if you aren’t trying to go fully vegetarian you need to show some commitment if you want to get anywhere. It starts with at least reading through the vegetarian options on the menu, you eventually order them unless they are terrible, and then you might even select restaurants because of their vegetarian dishes. For those of us that don’t like to ‘identify’ as vegetarian or vegan (or ‘flexitarian’, ‘reducitarian’, ‘pescetarian’, or whatever) going through this can be tough.
Thankfully this story has a happy end:
I now only eat meat or fish when I crave it, which isn’t that often. I only had to change some (small) things to make that possible.
Talking to more and more people about it, I realized there was more to be done..… for the last year, we’ve been building More Than Carrots to help others solve this problem. While thinking through my own journey, it’s become very clear that there isn’t really ONE solution for this. The difference between someone who eats whatever she wants, and a gluten-free vegan with a peanut allergy is huge. Needless to say that a lot of us fall somewhere in-between.
Two of the most important experiences for me were the time when I first ate outstanding vegetarian food at a restaurant where I normally wouldn’t have ordered it. That was mind-blowing, it really changed how I think about vegetables. We are re-creating this experience now during our Chef’s Table Dinners.
The other experience was when I started to try and select restaurants that suit my meat-loving friends but offer great vegetarian dishes as well. There are fewer of those than one would expect.We have a great list of the ones in London here
But these solutions we’ve been creating were still lacking context, which is why we are now describing this journey and the bits we find most interesting in our blog.
We’ll be exploring the different reasons why eating less animal products can be so complicated and why we keep ordering the bacon. For curious foodies who love to explore and try new things, adding more vegetables is actually a great way of adding some adventure to our diets. We promise, the journey is a lot more exciting and unexpected than you’d probably expect.
If you’re interested in exploring this with us, sign up here!
The more people help us by signing up and then buying or not buying the products we’ll offer, the easier it’ll be for us to figure out which solutions are most helpful.
• I’m not a socks + sandals kind of person
• I heard that unless I go vegan it won’t make a difference, so why bother
• Unless everyone does it, it makes no difference
• The power of habit: breakfast is eggs or yoghurt, a healthy lunch is salmon or chicken breast and a treat for dinner is beef fillet. Who am I to argue with that?
• Ordering ‘the vegetarian option’ is boring
• When I go out I want a treat
• Too much risk: better safe than hungry & sorry
• I’m not full after eating it
• It doesn’t taste as good
• It’s always the same
• It’s always carbs
• I don’t know what it is
So is it still ok to make fun of vegetarians?
As a principle, we think it’s ok to make fun of everyone and everything. As long as it’s done in a friendly way :)
In this post, we deliberately mixed the concepts of vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, meat-free, and whatever else you’d like to call your diet. At More Than Carrots we buy into the research that suggests that the way our society currently eats isn’t sustainable in the long term.
The more important thing is not what we call our diet, but what we actually eat, right?