Lent & Our Vegetarian Adventure; Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

So we decided on meat. However, if I’m being strictly honest, more pescetarian. The reason for this is that last time I tried no meat and received a small cut on my hand, it didn’t stop bleeding, or remotely heal, for about 2 weeks. I put this down to a lack of protein (remember: no dairy either and very little option in diet in student halls) and so this time decided to keep fish, although limited amounts, in order to keep protein levels up.


Our adventure with this has brought about some interesting observations:
1. Heightened creativity
2. Higher energy levels
3. Lower budget

Our creativity has come out of the fact that before now although we had non-meat food, we didn’t really think about it and they would often be simply things like eggs, noodles, or side dishes. Now that we are strictly no-meat we are having to find ways to keep protein up (when without fish), and find tasty non-cheesy foods that we both actually like.

This has resulted in making homemade garlic & chili hummous and pitta, sweet potato and spinach curry (and a curried soup when the consistency was a little thin), garlic mayo to go with wedges, pasta/noodles/rice with veg and egg mixed in, homemade onion chutney to go with goats cheeseon breads (or sometimes pasta). Even when eating out we are forcing ourselves to choose menu items that we may just have not noticed before:

Simply: YUM!

bruschettas, mediterranean lasagna, sweet potato, mozzarella & herb burgers, red onion and goats cheese tartlets with spinach and rocket salad, I even made a reduced balsamic vinegar sauce to go on chips the other day when we had a small piece of haddock. I am finding it more interesting to cook and more likely that we use the ingredients we buy. We even, when crashing out after a long day, created our own dominoes pizza using only veggie ingredients and it was beautiful (and probably something we’ll make from home from now on!) if a little spicy.

The energy levels is something that I have noticed but my husband has refused to admit (possibly because he doesn’t want me to rebel and never buy meat again). I on the other hand have found it easier to wake up in the mornings, felt more together after meals and have actually got fuller quicker after eating. I would say that the energy doesn’t necessarily last so we tend to be having more frequent, but smaller meals, to keep us going, but in general I like this change.

I have often heard people say that it is due to the energy being passed from plant to animal, animal to us, that gives us less, and that does in some ways make sense. On the other hand I feel like cows (just as an example) eat an extraordinarily large amount, in fact they eat all day, whereas that is not something I have time to do.. so in a way, if they can process me and give a tasty burger at the end of it – I’m ok with that.

The third I was expecting. The meat prices are pretty high when you’re on a charity wage and your husband is still a student. It doesn’t leave much room and when we were having meat I was constantly bulking it out with veggies, partly because they were good for us, partly because if things tasted of meat hubby was happy. I have often been conflicted with meat prices; here’s why:

– I think that in order to eat meat responsibly one must know that it has been farmed well, not in cramped conditions, not pumped with chemicals, not generally maltreated.
– I think farmers deserve a decent wage and work incredibly hard for it, often not getting a huge amount of return.
– The cheap meat in supermarkets is often the stuff that has come from factory-farms, has treated the animals badly, and pumps out a huge amount because of their efficient-but-not-ethical methods.
– The cheap and unethical meat sources often put more pressure on the nice farmers who have to put their prices up to survive and start to use “organic” and “free range” on labels on packages as a marketing scheme when really it should never have not been organic and free range.

It's amusing how many of these cartoons I could find..

Therefore, I end up with a situation where a lot of people near the poverty line, those who are in higher education, and those who simply have a lot of dependants, can’t afford decent meat.. including yours truly. So going veggie hasn’t helped the farmers, but it has taken at least a couple of customers away from the only meat we could ever really afford to buy, the cheap supermarket type.

So our adventure continues. I’m already surprised to realise that we’ve actually been going on this for the last two weeks – it feels shorter. I do think it has also been good for both of us to try new things, and I hope that this will help us make better decisions in the future.

Maybe, in 5 years time, I will be talking about a couple of chickens we get eggs from running around the gardens destroying the flowers. Maybe, I will be in a better position to support farmers who do their job responsibly and well. Maybe, I will be being a better Christian steward. But for right now, this is pretty exciting first step and one I am quite enjoying.

As for prayer and our neighbour: I’ve been using my extra energy to pray an hour a day for Tayside YoungLives, I’ve been looking after our finances better so we might tithe a good amount to our church, and we continue to look after anyone who might come to our door or need our help.

I’m not perfect, but if there’s one thing Lent can do, it is mould you into something a little closer to what God intended.

Update: After asking hubby whether I could write the above with him mentioned, he agreed that he does feel more awake – score!
Also if anyone has some wonderful veggie recipes I will be more than happy to make, eat and maybe write about them!

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