I wasn't actually planning on writing a post about Meat-Free May because when it first appeared as a to-do idea on my "new things" list (over there in the left hand column under the books) I had quite a lot of feedback about how totally daft it was to do when pregnant.
While I appreciated the genuine motivation behind this discouragement, it did make me a tad more inclined to jump right in. It also made me wonder just how much meat people around me were eating and made me think about the system. How all that meat is grown. Fed. Slaughtered. Packaged.
(Also, as we only ate meat a couple of times a week anyway I didn't feel it was much of a stretch for the rest of the family to cope with, and the deal was that the kids and Adam of course weren't banned from meat, I just wasn't going to cook it.)
I did this for a few reasons. First: the whole idea of eating meat has turned my stomach this whole pregnancy. I know Adam is kinda hoping my aversion is entirely pregnancy-related (and therefore back to bacon and eggs and a lovely roast dinner in about seven weeks time.) He's also been around long enough to know that I have floated in and out of vegetarianism since I was fifteen years old and that I've had a problem with pork ever since I read Charlotte's Web when I was little. I've also never been able to come at veal. So he's not holding his breath.
Second: I suspect, although I am no expert, that rearing animals for (red) meat is not particularly environmentally efficient.
Third: Did buying organic free-range chicken mean we were eating happy chooks? I wasn't convinced. Other 'organic' meat was also all about what the animals were fed, not about how they lived (or died for that matter.)
Fourth: My late grandfather took me aside when I was about twenty (and at that point vegetarian) and instructed me to start eating meat again as the world was a difficult enough place to get along in without making myself more difficult with the terribly unsociable trait of vegetarianism stitched to me too. I can still remember my feeling of shock and disappointment and thinking I'm glad he doesn't know anything else about the rest of my life. I didn't really want him to disapprove of me but I also considered becoming a vegan on the spot. All food decisions are social. All of them. Even just a month's worth.
Last night's dinner:
I think sometimes we get in the habit of particular food. I know I did when thinking about food for the kids. Pretty protein/meat based.
What I have now is a big list of vegetarian meal ideas and I go and look at it when I'm about to do the grocery shopping to inspire me to think a bit broader.
I'll post it, if you'd find it useful?
The growing list of May dinners is about to become a page on the top navigation bar and I'll just keep 'What's for dinner tonight' on the right so it doesn't get too unwieldy.
I hope that some of the stuff we're eating inspires you to drop out meat a couple of nights too if you haven't already.
I also cannot recommend Johnathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals highly enough. He's a fantastic writer and very even-handed with this. I think it's brilliant.
I know there will be be eye rolling and disagreement with this post, but that's what comments are for! Tell me what you think. (Then let me make you my vegetarian moussaka and tell me you still missed the meat! Never!)