Over the last few months I have made a conscious decision to become “flexitarian“. The term flexitarian is much hated by some hard line vegetarians and I can see why. The term defines a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat. That in itself is a slight oxymoron; It is like saying that you’re a non-alcoholic who sometimes a gin and tonic – you either are or you are not. But let’s just accept the fact that we live in a definition-fluid world for now and examine the implications of this choice.
Why am I Becoming Flexitarian?
My main motivation behind this decision has been environmental. When you factor in everything involved in buying a steak in Lidl, the overall impact of my purchase on the planet is staggering:
- Land that was deforested to raise the livestock
- Transportation of feed and water for livestock and all the methane produced by them
- Slaughtering, packaging and transportation of the product to my local store
- Non-recyclable black plastics that I have to throw into landfill.
This is not an exhaustive list (scary overview here) nor is it to say that vegetables don’t have a similar impact, if you google “palm oil” you may never buy another pack of biscuits. It is now very hard to make morally sound purchases.
The more I read, the darker my thinking on the environmental motivation went dark. Everything I buy is wrapped in plastic and shipped from the other side of the world. It wasn’t long before my thinking on the environmental implications of every purchase went dark. Real dark.
THE BAD GUYS WERE REALLY THE GOOD GUYS?
I’m going off topic but pretty much everything I do these days hurts the planet somehow. I figured that the most environmentally friendly thing I can do is kill myself. Yep, Zero carbon footprint there (once I’m fully decomposed).
But wait! What if I kill everyone else instead? Like the bad guys in all the comics I read. They always want to end the world… and would save it in the process?! Oh… Thanos single-handedly (pun intended) stopped global warming. Hrmp.
SO HOW OFTEN AM I EATING MEAT?
Pork is out. Read meat is almost out. I don’y buy chicken but I will eat it if someone cooks it for me (thanks for dinner mam). Fish is fine, generally I eat a fair amount of canned tuna for the post-gym protein hit. I would say that 70% of my meals now are vegetarian. Even if the term “flexitarian” is a contradiction, the fact is any small reduction in the consumption of meat will help the environment.
THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
While I have stated that my main motivation is environmental, one of the other key benefits of being flexitarian is financial. This one is pretty simple – vegetable cost less. The “Rice and Beans” diet has been lauded a lot by the frugal community with good reason – there are lots of upsides. Cheap, quick, easy and healthy spring to mind. Rice and beans fills you up and it’s high in protein, low in fat, cheap and more environmentally friendly than your black plastic wrapped steak. Becoming flexitarian just requires a change in mindset, but not a big one, you can still have your occasional steak which you will probably enjoy more as it becomes a novelty.
I am currently perfecting a very cheap, very quick and very easy bean chilli with almost all the ingredients being sources in LIDL. I hate cooking but this is pretty easy. I tend to batch cook it and fill up re-usable plastic containers from IKEA. I pop them in the freezer and take them out as I need them. Here’s the abomination of a recipe that I use (which I don’t recommend):
- tablespoon chilli oil
- chopped onions
- chopped garlic
- teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- teaspoon of paprika
- I bag of split yellow peas
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tins of kidney beans (or any type you prefer)
- 1 tin chick peas
- Chopped peppers
MEAL PREP GOALS FOR RICE AND BEANS
To get to the bottom of the cost implications I have a plan in mind. Firstly I want to price all of the ingredients and get an overall costing. Then see how many lunches I get from it.
Then I would like to work a little on the recipe. My friend is a chef so I intend to ask him, nay, challenge him to make the best bean chilli on a budget.
Give it a try...
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