There’s more to a plant-based diet than just ‘eat your greens’. Our home-grown produce is now bursting into colourful and nutritious life. On top of that, our global food network gives us access to tofu, soya and even seaweed.
With all these choices, going partially or fully vegetarian is appealing. Could you be persuaded and what can it do for you?
Here are the four top questions for budding plant-eaters:
In short, no. Human beings are designed to be omnivores and are able to adapt to many different types of food. We do need vitamin B12, which only comes from animal sources, but even strict vegans can get their B12 from supplements. So meat is not essential for health.
Interestingly, many of the longest-lived peoples on the planet have a plant-based diet.
Going to a vegetarian diet and eating the same number of calories will not result in weight loss. However, vegetables are generally less calorie-dense than meat. To put it another way, you can eat a larger amount of vegetables for the same number of calories.
The fibre in vegetables also makes them filling. If you savour the taste and slow down, you’ll probably find that you are eating less overall.
Not at all! There are endless ways to cook and serve vegetables, and even more variations on standard dishes. Try to eat with the seasons for the best taste and nutrition. Doing this will also ensure that you vary your vegetable intake.
Even if you can’t do without your burgers, there are tasty vegetarian burger recipes which mean you won’t miss the meat. There’s no need to buy substitutes in a packet!
Vegans eat no animal-based products, so cheese and eggs will be off the menu. However if you simply want to eliminate meat, eggs are valuable sources of protein and nutrients. Cheese also provides a good dose of calcium, and doesn’t have to load up the calories.
So for nutrition, flavour and health – go for the plants!
I did vegetarian burgers for a bbq addition last week and my meat-loving brother loved them. So you don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy meat-free food.
I can recommend High Fearnley Whittingstall's book Veg Everyday. We are meat eaters but we love all the recipes we've tried out of here.