Wednesday, 30 November 2016

I am not vegetarian. But I like vegetables.

As a German I think I grew up thinking that meat dishes should be part of my diet several times a week, if not daily. I never once questioned my conviction until I was a mother of 2 little girls and we were on our parental time challenge

We started rethinking our cooking entirely because we wanted to save money but at the same time provide healthy food for our children (and ourselves...). We looked into lots of cookbooks and recipes, read about nutrition and obviously checked all that against our budget. So what happened was, that we ate more and more vegetarian dishes, because it was cheaper. My natural minimalist sort of told me all of the time that he had told me all of the time that it was much better to go more vegetarian for various other reasons anyway (having been vegetarian and even co-vegan for some time of his life before he was enticed to move to meat-loving Germany). 
As the cooking is mostly done by him, we took a big turn and our routine since our parental time is, that we have meat or fish once a week (I am talking about the "grown up" diet here) and the rest of the week vegetarian dishes. And I LOVE it.  

We have italian inspired dishes, "veggie  bolognese" (tomato+red lentil sauce, in fact one of our all time favourites) and more mediterranean cuisine, oriental cuisine and use recipes for indian curries or dishes from other asian countries. In fact I think our meal plan has become a lot more exciting since we started to concentrate a bit more on veggies recipes. 

So, what are the advantages? I obviously like to eat meat and fish and have no intention of going full-time vegetarian. But eating more vegetable also has an influence that can stretch beyond just eating differently. 

1. If you eat less meat, you can choose the meat you DO eat more carefully - e.g. from  local butchers/farmers and not from the supermarket discounter with meat from industrial livestock farming (I am not discussing this here, but obviously if less people buy meat from mass production farms there will be less of that). Also by reducing the amount of meat generally means, that you reduce your personal carbon footprint. 

2.  You can get vegetable/fruit from the region when it is in season and support your local producers. Also good for carbon footprint. Or if you have a garden, you can grow your own vegetable! And if it is only a tiny little bit. :)

3. You will get to know a LOT of new recipes if you start making your own veggie dishes from scratch and that means you might cut down on processed food, which is really not healthy. We know that. ;)

4. You will probably eat more vitamins. :) 

5. It is cheaper. At least in my experience.

6. It is much nice to cut a piece of pumpkin than to dice a chicken fillet (again, that is my personal opinion...)

Last but not least, I've found a picture of the food pyramid for you, that I think is good. I know, it's in German, but I am sure everybody can read pictures. :) What I also really like about is that it includes drinks and sports(!).

If you think just water or tea is a bit boring, try some of these alternatives to water:

(If you live in a country where water that comes from the tab has drinking quality, then you can also jsut drink tab water or get a little fizzy water maker, to get bubbles, instead of buying bottled water!)

You can go to your local bookshop and enquire about books on veggie dishes that might suit you. 
As a family of 4 we don't really have the time to spend hours and hours in the kitchen. But others do and love it. Try it out!

I don't really like pictures of mass food production, but these are remarkable, esthetic in a weird way and give food for thought. A lot.

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