So about 11 weeks ago I decided that I wanted to become a vegetarian. More specifically a pescatarian but I will just use veggie for this article for ease.
One of the main reasons I decided to go vegetarian was because of the lack of enjoyment I was getting from eating meat. It was very rare that I would eat meat and I don’t feel like it was adding a huge amount to my meal. Also due to where I used to live in the Netherlands I rarely bought meat, it would take me at least an hour (often more) to get home from the grocery store, meaning if I was delayed at all I started to worry about the meat not being chilled etc. Another reason was that many Dutch meats are smoked which I dislike and so was only buying chicken, not beef or pork anyway. Therefore before moving back to the UK my meat consumption had decreased dramatically anyway.
The second reason was something that I have been contemplating for a long time, which is the environmental impact of eating meat. This video below explains a lot of the environmental reasons why I want to become a vegetarian. Please be aware I did not make this so cannot guarantee all statistics are accurate, also this takes it to the extreme with the whole globe becoming vegetarian but it still contains a lot of valid information!
To sum up the video, some of the main reasons I have become a vegetarian and wanted to reduce/eliminate meat from my diet are:
- Reduced water consumption from reduced meat production
- Increased land for crop production (from animal grazing and animal feed production)
- The possibility of reduced land clearance for farming
- Reduced greenhouse gas production from animals
- Moving further down the food chain means less energy wasted
I do understand that one person cannot save the planet and by me not eating meat this will likely not change any of the above but every movement needs to start somewhere and I have chosen to join this movement in diet. Hopefully eventually enough people will become vegetarian or reduce their meat consumption that we start to see some of these changes.
I am trying to continue to improve the sustainability of my lifestyle and find ways to reduce my impact on the planet. I feel that being veggie allows me to feel like I am doing my part within the dietary aspect of my life. (See a few recipes I’ve been loving below).
Now I don’t believe that the whole world population should become vegetarian, having the ability to choose your diet is a luxury not everyone has, I know I am very fortunate in this respect. Also in many places across the globe there is land which can be used for animal grazing but would not necessarily be suitable or productive for crop growth. Some populations also would not be able to survive on just foraging, for they rely on wild animals for food for example in the Arctic and remote locations in Alaska. I personally feel that as I have the luxury of choice, I should make the decision I feel is best for the planet and for myself.
I am currently a pescatarian who doesn’t eat dairy (due to lactose intolerance). I decided on pescatarianism instead of full vegetarianism for the moment for a more gradual change. Due to many vegetarian meals containing dairy this would give me fewer options therefore being pescatarian allows me time to find my feet and ensure I am meeting my nutritional needs before becoming a full vegetarian. I’ve been doing well so far, only slipping up once by buying a marshmallow bar forgetting about the gelatin (oops!).