Why I want to become a ‘Weekday Vegetarian’

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When I was about ten years old I told my parents that I wanted to be a vegetarian. In hindsight it was probably because the family friend’s daughter we were on holiday with was a staunch vegetarian, and I was easily influenced as a child. Anyway I’m pretty sure my meat free diet lasted less than a few days, and since that time the idea of turning veggie has never seriously crossed my mind.

The truth is I love meat. I don’t necessarily eat it every day, and I am certainly not someone who thinks a meal isn’t a meal without some, but I would say 80% of my meals contain some kind of animal product. Steak would always be my first choice in a restaurant, and my idea of treating myself is a string of posh sausages, or a pork pie, from the local butchers.

However, I have recently had a change of heart, or perhaps a pang of conscience, and this was mainly due to the following:

  • Firstly I watched this documentary. As well a passion for eating good food, I am interested in how food is produced and generally in trying to live in a more sustainable way. Food, Inc. by Robert Kenner made it very clear that an insatiable appetite for flesh is environmentally unsustainable and brings about a cruel and dangerous meat trade. Granted, it was based on the American food industry, and I live in the UK, but the documentary’s conclusions can be applied universally.
  • I also read two articles in The Guardian, available here and here.
  • And finally I watched this TED talk by Graham Hill, after which everything seemed to fall into place.

Like Graham, I was never going to become a full time vegetarian, but I could definitely see myself as a weekday vegetarian. And as he said in his TED talk, [If you eat meat every day] ‘Cutting 5 days a week is cutting 70% of your meat intake’ so ‘If we eat half as much meat if would be like half of us are vegetarians’.

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