Ever since I introduced my lifestyle change, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a responsible meat eater. People can sometimes get confused about this topic, so I thought I’d make my own guidelines. They are of course all subjective.
If you’re looking for a foodie new year’s resolution, maybe this could be it.
I therefore present to you… The Seven Meat Commandments:
- Practise meat in moderation. Changing your attitude to meat shouldn’t just be about the quality of your meat. It’s ultimately about your quality of life too, and, if you care, about preserving the environment. Without sounding too Daily Mail, eating too much meat could lead to heart disease – government advisers say we should eat no more than 500g red meat per week. SHOCKING FACT: Brits eat on average almost twice that amount.
- Worship local, not global. Meat is one of the industries, unlike technology or apparel, where we could easily reject global for local produce. Not only does eating local reduce some element of food miles*, it also supports the local economy. I believe this is called <insert trendy buzz word> GLOCALISATION. And if you are lucky enough to live in one of Britain’s verdant agricultural regions, you could even worship at a micro-local level by literally buying your meat from the farm next door. (*I recognise there is an argument that food miles are marginal when you make the decision to eat meat, just because of the sheer amount of CO2 invested in producing an animal).
- Love thy animal. Get savvy on the animal you’re eating. Be sure it was raised with love. That can be hard when you’re standing in a supermarket aisle, staring at the packet and deciphering the label – so understand the difference in terminology, such as free range, organic and rare breed. And if you really want a taste of your dinner, why not visit a farm to see what it’s like?
- Also love thy farmer. If you object to the Tesco food supply monopoly, instead of throwing bricks through windows at new store openings, why not actually do something about it? There are lots of ways you can buy directly from suppliers without giving the profits to middle men. Buying meat boxes are the equivalent of shopping at farm shops, and are the easiest way to show your love. Even better for you, buying organic etc. meat direct from farmers is around 20% cheaper than buying it from the supermarket.
- Appreciate nose to tail. = Respecting animals in the fullest sense. Throw off any preconceptions you may have and open your minds and stomachs to eating every part of an animal; from marrow to brains, to tripe to chicken feet. Not only are these parts cheaper, they are also nutritious, diverse and tasty.
- Waste not, want not. We live in a generation of throw away, but our grandparents would be so disappointed if they knew we wasted food. Make your meat go the distance to avoid wasting anything. Cook large stews and freeze portions for later. Use leftover cuts in sandwiches and next day stir fries. Make stock with carcasses and bones.
- Meat-free Mondays.. Wednesdays.. and Fridays… Some people have meat-free Mondays. I would go further and encourage you to have at least three meat-free days a week. It’s a wonderful way to explore vegetarian or fish-based recipes and increase your intake of fruit and veg.
What do you think? Would you make a NY resolution to be a more conscientious meat-eater?