Sunday, March 25, 2012

A convergence of events

On our journey towards a more sustainable life, one by one we are addressing areas that concern us. A recent convergence of circumstances has highlighted issues related to our meat intake, and prompted us to make some changes.

Some time back we decided that we would rather not kill our own animals for meat. This meant that we were leaving that unsavoury task to others, and from the frequent reports in our media, the process can be very inhumane. On a more practical level the commercial meat supply system from farm to homes can be hugely energy hungry. Issues include trucking feed to animals, trucking animals to abattoirs, then transporting the processed meat on to supermarkets and butchers and then there is the energy used in keeping the meat refrigerated. There are plenty of other issues too, such as land degradation in marginal farming areas, methane release, pollution of waterways etc. All not very sustainable.
Then, our friend Gavin who writes one of our favourite blogs ( ) published his goals for 2012, which included reducing his family’s meat intake by 80%. We have been steadily reducing our own meat intake for some time, but Gavin inspired us to go a bit further and make a similar reduction each week.

Our Juicer has been very busy
At about the same time we started getting a glut of fruit coming in from the orchard as well as some early vegetables. This lead to Heather’s brainwave of buying a good quality juicer. This we did, and the world of magnificent, nutritious freshly sourced juices opened up to us. Mind you, we do sometimes add a little in the way of exotic flavours (like fresh ginger) to make the most exquisite drinks. And of course, as we started to increase our intake of delicious vegetable drinks, our main meals became smaller, with less intake of meat.

Rice Paper Wraps
The final event in our little convergence of life changing ideas, was the arrival of our Kiwi friends, Tim and Mike. They are both vegetarian, and as mentioned in a previous post, Tim is a superstar at creating stunning meal creations. So since February 6th, Tim and Heather have created a series of “award winning” vegetarian feasts. The awards by the way, are presented by Andrew and Mike who do help out with some of the ideas, labour, washing up and pats on the back.  The meals have been so good that we have lost any desire to consume meat and intend maintaining our vegetarian diet as a regular part of our life.  Protein now comes from tofu, eggs, quinoa, soy milk, different nuts, seed sprouts, other seeds and various pulses and grains
Delicious Salads
This has been another important step for us towards a more sustainable life. Not only are we ensuring that we do not contribute to inhumane treatment of animals, we are also avoiding the meat industry’s energy costs and our rubbish bin does not contain all those plastic meat wrappings that end up in landfill. On the health front, our body weight has improved. We have each lost a few excess kilos that we had been carrying around. An added benefit is having more free space in our refrigerator
Delicious Cakes

The big question will be whether we revert to our traditional Christmas Dinner which has been a big family tradition forever. We are not going to make a big deal about whatever we decide, but in the future we will at the very minimum only occasionally include small portions of meat or seafood in our diet. Sometimes life’s experiences take us along new roads and this is one of them for us.


Hazel said...

I think your palate becomes more attuned to flavours of vegetables and all the wonderful vegetarian options when meat stops hogging the limelight in your diet and on your plate. We do eat meat, but rarely. We always buy locally grown and killed meat, and only eat very small portions. I suppose we eat meat twice to three times a month. I am currently thinking about killing a young rooster, who is strutting around the yard. Although I think this is the 'honest' thing to do, I am not sure I have the stomach for it. We will see.

Andrew and Heather said...

Thanks for the comment Hazel. A friend of ours served up one of their roosters when we shared a meal a few years ago. We were amazed at how much better it tasted than commercial meat. It makes you wonder what goes on in the "meat factories" that produce our food. Even though the rooster was not young it was surprisingly tender too.

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