- Linda McCartney
Turning vegetarian or vegan is the easy bit, the hard bit is dealing with the family and friends.
We both went through it. Both our mums told us they would not cook a different meal to the rest of the family, thinking that this was just a 'stage' and we'd soon come around, it was just a phase. How wrong they were!
Then there's your friends to deal with. Whilst our friends now accept us not eating meat and animal products, it was difficult in the beginning, most with a lot of questions like 'what are you going to eat'? 'Are you going to live on salad'? and most found it hard to associate hidden animals ingredients such as Tallow which can be used for hot chips.
Even though many shops, cafes and restaurants are now cooking their hot chips in vegetable oil, the chips are usually pre-cooked in tallow (animal fat) by the manufacturer. So ask them to check the labelling on the box.
Then there's gelatine which is found in most lollies. (like Allens lollies, The natural confectionary company and marshmellows) which contain the ingredient gelatine that is extracted from the collagen inside animals' connective tissue. (how gross does that sound!) The fact is, gelatine is a thickening, stabilising, emulsifying agent made by boiling animal skin, ligaments, bones, sinews or other connective tissue (usually cattle or pigs).
THREE REALLY GOOD REASONS
Its better for your healthCholesterol (which is only found in animal products) and high levels of saturated fats have been linked with heart disease. Removing animal products from your diet, or reducing your consumption of them, can considerably reduce your chances of developing heart-related problems. Reducing your consumption of animal products can also help reduce the probability of developing certain forms of cancer. For instance, studies have shown that vegetarians have up to 40% less chance of developing bowel cancer. With heart disease and cancer being the leading causes of death in western countries, the importance of reducing our consumption of meat and animal products cannot be underestimated.
Its more humaneVery few people could watch animals be slaughtered at an abattoir, watch the carcass be skinned, gutted and carved up, then sit down straight away and enjoy a steak. Most of us have an innate sense of compassion and concern about suffering, it is often just that what is out of sight is out of mind. So we challenge you to visit an abattoir, a local intensive piggery or chicken farm, or see some of the cruelty involved in modern livestock production by checking out MEET YOUR MEAT (ask us for a free copy and maybe show this to the parents? 99% of ppl who watch this video never eat meat again). Then you will be able to make an informed decision! Check out our nutrition page where you'll find out all you need to know about healthy eating so that you'll never miss out on what your body needs to stay healthy.
Its better for the environmentThroughout the world vast areas of natural habitats have, and are, being destroyed to create grazing land for livestock. There are also issues of erosion, salinity, effluent disposal, methane production and wildlife extinction (due to habitat destruction) associated with livestock production. And when only 7-10% of the food energy of grains and other food fed to intensively farmed animals is converted to the food energy available from meat, issues of wastage in an increasingly over-crowded world are also of concern.
SO YOU WANT TO GO VEG BUT NOT SURE WHERE TO START?The most important step is take it slowly. Try cutting out animal products one at a time.
Why not have Meat free Monday, Tofu Tuesday, Wok on Wednesday, Thoughtul Thursday, Fish Free Friday, Soy Sausage Sizzle Sunday and involve the whole family!
Luckily, thanks to the increasing number of people reducing their intake of animal products, and the rise in products catering to the needs of vegetarians, going vegetarian has never been easier. There are hundreds of delicious, healthy vegetarian foods to satisfy every taste. You'll discover foods you love, and you'll look better, feel better, and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that animals are not being killed for your food.
Beginning any new lifestyle can be challenging, but why not give it a go? Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to create complicated, gourmet vegetarian meals right from the start. Start by "vegging up" meals you already eat by replacing the meat in favourite recipes, like lasagne, with textured vegetable protein (TVP). Try some of the meat alternatives like Sanitarium's Vegie Delights range (Hot Dogs; Curried Sausages; Soy Rashers; Not-Burgers; Deli Luncheon 'meats', BBQ Sausages; their Casserole Mince, Tender Pieces etc; and their Nugget Mix, Sausage Roll Filling and Vita-Burger), the Zoglo's range (Crispy Vegetarian Schnitzel, Tender Vegetarian Meatballs, Vegetarian Nuggets etc.), the various brands and types of plain tofu, marinated tofu, tempeh, and the wide range of pre-packaged burger varieties etc etc. The list goes on... Many of these meat alternatives taste like the real thing! It is recommended, however, that you try several brands so as you are able to find ones you really like the best.
THREE SIMPLE STEPS(1) Think of some dishes that you enjoy now. With a little know-how, many of these can easily be adapted to being vegetarian. The meat in many dishes can be replaced with meat alternatives without compromising on flavour. Replacing meat in a few meals each week can contribute to reducing your overall intake of cholesterol and saturated fats. For example, the mince meat in spaghetti bolognese can be replaced with TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) or Sanitarium Casserole Mince; sliced meat in a salad roll can be replaced with Vegie Delights Smoked Deli Luncheon; meat in casseroles can be substituted with chunky TVP or Sanitarium Tender Pieces.
(2) Sample various dishes at vegetarian restaurants to get some ideas for new and tasty meals.
(3) get your hands on some vegetarian cook books or look recipes up on the internet.
"I couldn't possibly give up meat..."
Why couldn't you? It is not because you can't get enough food or be as healthy without meat. It is not because you couldn't afford the alternative foods. Embarrassment is not a problem because vegetarianism is a more than an acceptable lifestyle choice these days. What is left then? Taste. Basically mllions of us can't give up meat because we like the taste. To put it bluntly: we are happy for animals to suffer and be killed to satisfy our taste preferences.
Have you ever tried to give it up? Or have you just pictured a vegetarian meal as being what is on your plate now minus the meat? There are so many meat substitutes available. You can get meat-free steaks, hamburgers, sausages, pies, hot dogs, schnitzels, chicken and just about whatever else you desire from your supermarket. Why not sample some dishes from a vegetarian or vegan restaurant and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how tasty and how varied meat-free cuisine can be. Or try any of the thousands of vegetarian and vegan recipes obtainable from your local library or on the internet.
Even if you start by gradually reducing the amount of meat you eat, you are making a positive step towards reducing animal suffering. As for living without meat completely, you can live without it. Indeed, expect to live longer (and healthier) without it!
Want more great reasons to go veg? how about all the really cool musicians, actors and celebrities that already are and look great? we're talking Benji Madden, Daniel Johns, J.D Fortune, John Butler, Toby Maguire, Joaquin Phoenix, Jared Leto, Andre 3000, Stella Mcartney, Sophie Monk, Peaches Geldof, Naomi Watts, Missy Higgins, Elle Macpherson, Abbie Cornish, Jacki O, Josh Stone, Pamela Anderson, Alyssa Milano, Alicia Silverstone and Carrie Underwood just to name a few. For a full list click here.
Two of the best sites we've seen for beginners are:
L PLATE VEGETARIAN
L PLATE VEGAN
Dont forget to check out the best veg site ever that will answer everything you would want to know about a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle VEGETARIAN NETWORK VICTORIA