I am often asked if I think eating meat will have a positive or negative effect on problem skin. In truth, relinquishing meat to heal my skin was never an issue, because I haven’t eaten it for twenty five years! I stopped eating lamb as a teenager due to the cute, fluffy new borns in the field behind our school and, aside from eating fish, became fully vegetarian by the end of that same year. For me it was always a matter of ethics as oppose to health, now it’s very much both. Meat, especially red meat, is highly acidic on the PH scale and our body’s have to work incredibly hard to process it. Fresh fish is much less acidic but there are the potentially high levels of mercury to consider, which can negatively affect our brain and kidneys. Tinned fish and seafood are definitely best avoided as they’re at the highly acidic end of the spectrum. In fact seafood creatures such as shrimp are known as ‘bottom feeders’ because they live on the sea bed feeding on parasites and skin that they pick off dead animals. Definitely not the sort of food we want to nourish our own body’s with.
For me, eating a plant rich diet full of colour and healthy, live greens radiates life. Vegetables graciously drop to the earth when they’re ripe. Conversely, the horrific treatment of animals bred for human consumption denotes negativity, fear, anxiety and aggression. Meat is no longer the occasional wild beast caught by our hunter gatherer ancestors. These days it’s become a highly consumed staple of the Western diet. Over 53 billion land animals are farmed and killed every year by humans*, many loaded with chemicals, antibiotics and disease. These shocking figures do not even include fish and other sea creatures whose deaths are so great they are measured in tonnes. Global fish stocks are depleting at alarming rates, our oceans are in big trouble. 90% of the big fish are gone. Tuna, swordfish, halibut, cod, and flounder populations have been devastated by overfishing. We’re at a tipping point, oceanographers suggest our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.
I don’t believe recycling energy from dead flesh can be conducive to good health, glowing skin or a peaceful mind. The consumption of plant-based foods has been linked to better cardiovascular health as well as a decreased risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and obesity. There are so many brilliant sources of plant protein, eliminating meat from your diet should not leave you lacking in anything, in fact quite the reverse. A well balanced plant-powered diet will successfully meet the nutrient requirements of almost everyone and wholly nourish the mind, body and soul.
*Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations for the year 2003.
I always used to think being vegetarian meant finding artificial substitutes to replace meat. These days I can’t actually remember the last time I ate anything Quorn – it must be years. The thing is with meat substitutes, more often than not they’re filled with lots of flavourings and chemical textures designed to mimic meat. Yes, for the most part it’s mushroom protein – but usually with lots of added other stuff. I also realised I don’t actually miss the taste of meat ever, so why would I bother trying to replace it?! I much prefer healthy grains and tons of vegetables. I never feel I’m eating a meal with anything missing.
If you’re looking to include more vegetables in your meals or move towards a plant powered diet, the key is to make vegetables interesting and exciting. Vegetarian or not, nobody enjoys a plate of soggy, overcooked broccoli.
This week to kick start a healthy new year on the blog, I’m going to introduce five dishes, each designed to make regular vegetables more exciting! From Swedish Spiced Red Cabbage to Honey and Orange Roast Parsnips, I hope these beautiful, simple, tasty ideas will have you piling your plate high with veg in 2017 🙂