There is National Vegetarian Week next week, starting on Monday, 19th May and finishing on Sunday, 25th May. This is my first year I am participating and I am quite excited about it actually! There are several reasons why you should give up meat and one of them is for your health and wellbeing and this is why I decided to go meat-free for a week. Vegetarians have a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease and they also live longer.
I am telling everybody I am having no meat for a week, so there is no changing mind now and I am 100% doing it. Hopefully this will be a start of something more long term and not just a one off challenge.
What I am giving up
Luckily, I already eat lost of vegetarian meals as they are healthy and nutritious so I am not giving up these that’s for sure. You can find vegetarian meals I consume on a regular basis on my blog in the ‘Healthy meals‘ section.
Meat and fish
I normally don’t eat pork, beef or lamb anyway, but what I do eat is chicken once or twice in a fortnight. So this will have to go. Another sacrifice is fish. Real vegetarians don’t eat fish, so goodbye salmon! (I normally eat it once a week)
But being a real vegetarian it’s not just about giving up meat. You have to start reading labels and identifying products which are suitable for vegetarians. On Vegetarian Society website you will find a list of ingredients that are never vegetarian and should be avoided:
- Gelatine – made from the bones and skin of slaughtered animals (cows, pigs and fish). Gelatine is most commonly found in some spreads, sweets, desserts and yoghurts.
- Animal fat
- Fish oils
- E120 – a red colouring also known as carmine or cochineal, made from crushed insects and sometimes used to colour food.
- E-numbers are additives and there are a few more that are unsuitable for vegetarians. Head to www.vegsoc.org/enumbers for more information
Health and beauty products
Did you know that some health and beauty products contain animal ingredients? If you want to be a real vegetarian you have to ditch those! Vegetarian approved cosmetics will normally have a logo or some kind of statement to say it’s suitable for vegetarians but ideally it would have an approval from an official organisation. The same goes for supplements. If you are taking fish oil, this is out – replace it with vegetarian approved omega 3 supplement.
I already checked supplements I take daily and I am quite happy to see that they are suitable for vegetarians. These are as follow:
- Bee prepared immune support
- Pukka’s natural vitamin C
- Joint complex supplement from Viridian
- Together’s omega 3 capsules, vitamins & minerals
When it comes to beauty products I have some products which are clearly for vegetarians and some which I am not sure of, so I will leave those out.
Preparations for the veggie week
I am currently looking for more vegetarian recipes, so when the week comes I am very well prepared it. On my Pinterest account I created a ‘Vegetarian’ board and I am slowly adding vegetarian foods and recipes to it which I like. I am a bit fussy so you won’t find any curries or spicy food on there. I also don’t like peas and beans although I am aware of their health benefits.
I am also trying to find good websites dedicated to vegetarianism and I am adding them to my Twitter list so I can easily follow them and get tips from them. I am looking to expand this over time so if you are not on the list please get in touch! Please do let me know if you know of some great websites which I should follow.
Going meat-free for a week could be a big challenge for people who eat meat every day. Luckily I am not one of them! However, if a week sounds too much for you, you can always try to be a vegetarian for a day. You could then introduce new vegetarian recipes every week and slowly increase a number of days you eat meat-free. If you do it gradually and over time it will be much easier I believe.
It will be a bit of challenge for me as well but I am determined to pull it together!
Have you ever participated in National Vegetarian Week? What are your thoughts on going meat-free for a week?