Going permanently meat-free is not for everyone, but even occasional forays into the veggiesphere could cut costs, boost your health and make you a better cook, claims Cook Vegetarian magazine. Urging non-veggies from all walks of life to experience meals without meat during National Vegetarian Week (21st-27th May 2012), Cook Vegetarian offers more than 500 free recipes on www.cookveg.co.uk to inspire and delight meat-free cooks. Need convincing? Check out Cook Vegetarian's top
4 reasons to put more veggie dishes on the menu:
1 Every little counts for health
When it comes to the benefits of vegetarianism on your body, it isn't
just acase of all or nothing. A recent Harvard study found that each
extra serving of processed meat per day increased the chance of
premature death by 20%, while the World Cancer Research Fund has
recommended people limit consumption to 500g (cooked weight) of red meat
a week, avoiding processed meat altogether. So, opting for vegetarian
recipes just a couple of times a week in place of red meat could
contribute significantly to a healthier
2 Money matters
With food prices still on the rise, where we spend our grocery pounds is
more important than ever. While there's no denying that you can eat
cheaply without giving up meat, an unprocessed vegetarian diet can't be
beaten on cost per serving. Top-notch seasonal vegetables are available
at a steal from markets (or you can grow your own for pence); combine
with low-cost grains and dried pulses and you have seriously frugal
food. For example, a scratch-cooked shepherdess pie made with lentils
can cost just 47p per portion for a hearty, balanced meal.
3 It's the future...
With the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimating that nearly a
fifth of global greenhouse gases are caused by meat production,
plus the swathes of rainforest and other rich ecosystems being cleared,
and the water needed, to graze livestock and to grow crops to feed them –
eating less meat offers one avenue to a more sustainable future. Simply
eating less intensively farmed meat on fewer occasions can reduce your
carbon footprint, while opting for an entirely plant-based diet (without
dairy) is the gold standard of eco-eating.
4 Hugh can... so you can too!
But can a foodie really enjoy and savour vegetarian cuisine? Yes, says
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall one of many TV chefs to champion the
meat-free cause in recent months. The former king of carnivores claims
that since launching his book River Cottage Veg Every Day, most of his
meals contain 'little or no meat' but that he now eats 'better than
ever'. Hugh even spent four months entirely without fish or meat to lend
weight to his argument that vegetables deserve pride of place on
everyone's plate, and was surprised just how much he got out of the
experience. So why not take up the vegetarian challenge and expand your
foodie horizons too?