Paul McCartney recently gave meat-free days a boost, using his fame to encourage people to forfeit the flesh for one day per week, as part of his Meat Free Monday campaign. Taking the concept a step further, March 23 sees the arrival of Meat Free Week – originally an Australian initiative – here in the UK.
I’m a fan of the McCartney dynasty. I adore Linda and subsequently Mary’s photography, The Beatles are one of my all time favourite bands (Wings – not so much) and Stella does lovely clothing for kids (there’s no way in hell I would pay £4895.00 for a dress for myself, love – no matter how great it looks). So I was intrigued by this campaign and further investigation reveals that there is merit in it too.
Chatham House published a report in late 2014 drawing attention to how little public awareness there is regarding the links between livestock production and climate change. Currently, 14.5% of all harmful gases produced comes from livestock production alone. Diary and Meat consumption in the UK is rising constantly and by 2050 it is expected that there will be a 76% rise in consumption based in the increasing patterns emerging now. Meat Free Mondays seeks to lessen our consumption of meat and therefore, lessen our impact on the environment.
Start with making a commitment to reduce your meat consumption. If you’re currently eating a lot of meat, why not begin by taking meat out of your diet at least one day a week. Meat Free Monday’s is the perfect place to start, with lots of great ideas on how to make the leap.
Compassion in World Farming has produced a 24-page Compassionate Food Guide to help make higher-welfare shopping easier. The guide covers Beef, Pork (sausages, bacon etc), Poultry, Salmon and dairy. It really will assist with helping you make better and more informed choices.
When buying meat think about where you’re really buying it from. Whenever possible, shop at local farmers markets or free-range and organic butchers. Always ask questions. Getting answers about how an animal has lived before it was slaughtered will go a long way to helping you make the most informed, ethical decisions. It’s easy to make better decisions when armed with a few simple facts.
One day meat free a week could save you money, improve your health and of course, help lessen emissions.
Now I decided to write this post while the kids played wrestling (that should read wrestled until one of them started crying) so my Meat Free Monday recipe is rather dull. Nevertheless its real comfort food dish in this house and one that we don’t even think about as missing meat.
Broccoli, Chilli and Sundried Tomato Pasta
- 1 lbs any short pasta
- 1 head broccoli
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- ½ tsp chilli flakes (I always add extra fresh chilli, do so if you have it, otherwise just use dried from your store cupboard)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Set a large pot of water on high heat and bring it to a boil, add salt, pasta, and broccoli separated into florets.
- Cook according to package directions, don’t overcook, your pasta should be al dente and broccoli tender but still firm. It should take between 7-9 mins.
- While pasta and broccoli are cooking slice garlic and cook it gently over low heat in a large pan coated with olive oil with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chilli flakes for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Set aside.
- Drain pasta and broccoli, reserving ½ cup of water from the pasta.
- Add both pasta and broccoli to the pan with sun-dried tomatoes and gently toss together with freshly grated parmesan, add ½ reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Serve with additional parmesan cheese.