Sunday, April 10, 2016

How to reduce your meat consumption, also for the lazy cook

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | | |
Thinking about eating less meat?

Being a vegetarian has become very trendy the past years, especially here in Norway. I'm thrilled that more people have decided to cut out meat entirely from their diets. But what about the rest of the lot that aren't ready to drop the meat entirely?
Ways of reducing your meat intake
Ways of reducing your meat intake


Here in Norway, the politicians are concerned with reducing the emissions from the transportation sector, but when it comes to introducing measures to reduce people's meat consumption, "no one" wants to talk about it.

There's no doubt about it: the production of meat is responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions, while the transportation sector is responsible for 13% of the emissions.1 This is also supported by a report from United Stations, that states that raising cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.2

Even with this information at hand, many of us simply won't give up meat. This is psychologically understandable because A) people are creatures of habit and B) changes in habits takes time.

So, how do you go about reducing your meat consumption slowly?

Easy level

1. Keep it simple - start with your favorite dish

I don't have kids, but strangely it feels like time passes right by and I don't always have the energy to be creative in the kitchen. I've had many lazy vegetarian days and being a vegetarian has taught me that keeping it simple is often the best thing you can do.

So, why not take one of your favorite dishes and turn it vegetarian? The easiest way of doing that is to find a replacement that looks like meat, but doesn't contain any. Replace the mince meat or meat balls if you enjoy pasta or pizza. Replace the chicken with chicken-like meat if you enjoy Mexican or Thai food. You'll even find vegetarian replacements for hamburgers.
Meat substitutes.  To the left: 'chicken' strips from Beyond Meat. To the right: beef strips from Fry's Vegetarian.
Meat substitutes.
To the left: 'chicken' strips from Beyond Meat. To the right: beef strips from Fry's Vegetarian.

Meat-free BBQ sausage, here together with organic beer
Meat-free BBQ sausage, here together with organic beer

Luckily, meat replacements is not a new concept and have been in the market for some time now. If the local grocery store doesn't sell any, then ask for it! :-) It's my experience that they'll accommodate your needs in most cases.

Most of the ordinary grocery shops I've been to sell meat replacements, which is a big deal to me because I save time in the afternoon and don't need to stop by an off-the-beaten track specialty store.

There must be dozens of meat substitute brands out there. Here are examples of brands to look for:
  • Fry's Vegetarian
  • Anamma
  • Quorn
  • Beyond Meat

Which brand should you choose? That's a tough one! All I can say is experiment! Find the brand that appeals to your taste buds. But if I was to recommend something it would be the chicken strips from Beyond Meat and the Quorn fillets. The consistency is very meat-like, and if you fry them properly, they will turn out crispy and delicious! :-)

Read: 11 vegan meat brands that are changing everything.

2. Meatless 'Any Day'

I'm not sure why it is known as Meatless Mondays when you go meatless any day. A brilliant thing is that you can decide to go vegetarian for one day a week, twice a week or how many days a week you want.

Plan the weekly menu beforehand and decide which day you want to eat vegetarian :-) You'll find link to the recipe below the picture!
Baked eggplant with quinoa, vegetables and melted cheese
Baked eggplant with quinoa, vegetables and melted cheese
Fried quinoa cakes with rice and cashew creme
Fried quinoa cakes with rice and home-made cashew creme

Vegetarian quesadilla at Bugge's cafe in Oslo
Vegetarian quesadilla at Bugge's cafe in Oslo

Other websites where you can find delicious vegetarian recipes:


Take it to the next level

1. Weekday vegetarian

Some people call themselves weekday vegetarians. The expression is self-explanatory: you don't eat meat in the weekdays, but in the weekends you can eat whatever you want! ;-)
Vegetarian salad with pasta, fried kale, feta cheese and mustard 

Graham Hill is not just a pretty face. He is the founder of the well-known Treehugger.com and Life Edited: "Why I'm a weekday vegetarian".


2. Flexitarian

A flexitarian or a semi-vegetarian is defined as a person who has primarily a vegetarian diet, but eats meat occasionally.
The best veggie burger in town, at Bun's Burger in Oslo
The best veggie burger in town, at Bun's Burger in Oslo

I stumbled upon the expression when the national newspaper wrote about students at the local university who practiced the flexitarian diet. They were practically vegetarian, but would eat meat once in a while, especially when invited to certain occasions and didn't want to 'stir trouble' with the hosts.

Some would say that being a flexitarian is cheating, a loop-hole and that you're not really a vegetarian.

Well, who cares?

As long as we're reducing our meat consumption, does it matter how we do it? All roads lead to Rome! :-)

3. Pescetarian

As a pescetarian, you don't eat any beef, poultry, pork or sheep. If you're fond of seafood or grew up with it like I did, a pescetarian diet is a good way of reducing your red meat consumption.
Vegetarian and pescetarian tacos from Revolver bar in Oslo
Vegetarian and pescetarian tacos from Revolver bar in Oslo
Noodle dish with fried sea food at a Vietnamese restaurant in Oslo
Noodle dish with fried sea food at a Vietnamese restaurant in Oslo

Eating fish seven days a week, is pretty daring though. I got tired of eating fish four days in a row, and frankly I don't think it's good for the health to eat the same thing for a longer period. Wise people always say that you can eat what you want, but with moderation ;-)



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