Now, perhaps that I am broaching the topic of reducing meat in the diet is a little unfair. I’m not vegetarian, but meat is just not something that I ever crave. I could go weeks without it and not even notice. Perhaps after a few months I might start to crave a lamb chop, but that would go away by upping my intake of broccoli and chocolate. Mr Eleanor, on the other hand, whimpers a little if I inadvertently cook 2 veggie dinners in a row.
I am, however, keen to reduce the meat in our diet for all sorts of other reasons – health, environmental impact, concerns about animal welfare and, not least, cost.
A really successful and admirable campaign, quite brilliant in that the knock effect is to make people give more consideration to everything they are eating, not just the amount of meat. Founded in 2003 by Sid Lerner, with John Hopkins School of Public Health, it has become a global phenomenon. It even made its way to Oz in 2013! That’s gonna be a tough fight: Global meat consumption per capita
Did you know that, each day, each of us needs about 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight? That varies slightly according to age, sex, activity, and whether pregnant.
So just to get this into context, 1 whole chicken breast (170g, and 56g of protein) is more enough for a whole day! ONE chicken breast! Mr Eleanor would eat the whole chicken if I let him …
In my mind, the veg are always the stars, and the meat is the side – eg, leek and sweetcorn risotto, with a chicken drumstick. A little bacon crumbled over an otherwise veggie salad. Or a few pieces of chorizo in homemade baked beans for that umami hit.
An interesting aside:
The ‘Biological Value’ of Protein: … is a measure of the proportion of the amino acids that are absorbed, retained and used in the body. The food source that has the highest biological value is whey protein, the second highest is eggs.
Quality over quantity
Organic chicken, free-range pork, sustainable fish. These animal products tend to have the least impact on the environment and the best quality of life for the animal. It can be a little more expensive, so the upshot is that I buy a little less of it. Win-win.
Respect the animal, snout to tail
Now, for me, this is more difficult to approach. Not sure I’m ever going to cook tripe, or liver, or chew on a chicken foot. But I do like haggis and pate, not that either are something I eat often. Perhaps the easiest place to start is with a whole chicken, instead of portions, where you use the whole bird and are left with a carcass from which you can make your own stock.
You do what you can, right?