Food is one of life’s great pleasures. Going green in any walk of life is one of life’s biggest challenges. The green life can often involve being restrictive and methodical and compromising in a way that can, potentially, limit some of the joyousness to be found in various activities.
Today we would like to show how, with a creative, ambitious and positive approach, you can go green with your food and not limit the joy or the variety that we all seek.
Meat or two veg?
It is fairly well known that meat is, on average, between five and ten times more onerous to our planet when it comes to carbon consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, compared to vegetables. But the vegetarian or vegan life isn’t for everyone. Meat production greenhouse emissions being on the high side isn’t solely to do with cows passing wind in various fields across the globe, but with the industrialisation and mechanization of meat production, the transport and housing and feeding costs that surround nurturing an animal itself. This is a bit more of a production than popping a seed in the ground and watering it, after all.
Delicious vegan options
So, if you can, you need to look at ways to limit your meat intake. It has been proven in study after study that it is not the inherent taste of meat that people enjoy, but the consistency, texture and ‘bitey-ness’ of dead flesh. So where the chef of the family needs to exercise their imagination is in procuring the correct recipes to provide a more chewy experience with what is being put on the table for their family.
Ronald ahead of his time
McDonald’s corporation in the 1950s were ahead of the learning curve with all the money they poured into their secret research into ‘mouth feel’. They discovered that texture and chewiness were as important as taste. Hence the meaty feel of their fishburgers and the nearly cement like consistency of their milkshakes. The good news is, you don’t have to produce such hideous carbon producing foods as this. There are many vegetarian recipes which can give the chewy mouth feel that we all crave, from the most vehement leaf-eater to the blood-thirstiest meat eater. The key concept to remember is ingredient combination.
Social media: shun or shine?
Social media may be having a bad press at the moment – it was interesting to learn that Simon Cowell has been talking about his distraction problems being relieved when he threw his mobile phone in the bin for ten months, but social media is your biggest friend when it comes to a new fully or semi-vegetarian low-carbon lifestyle. The key thing is to search for individual foods that will combine with a brilliantly chewy alchemy.
Simon Cowell’s mobile has been in the news recently
The hottest foods
Medjool dates, chick peas, oats and maple syrup… the list goes on and on for chewy foods that can be combined in imaginative and adventurous ways. Long gone are the hideous memories of the mid 1990s with Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages tasting like sawdust and have the consistency of shredded, compacted carrot.
Make a date with a date
Dates are the current darlings of the sometimes controversial ‘clean eating’ brigade. They can be combined in many sweets dishes and savoury dishes too. The recent explosion of content online means you practically have access to hundreds of recipes books, all cutting edge, for the type of recipe you need. Just search on Instagram, Twitter or Google, either with hashtags or without, using appropriate keywords such as meat substitutes, chewy vegetable dishes, delicious vegan recipes etc.
Sport and the sauce of hunger
One of the best things to increase your appetite so that you are really hungry (hunger is the best sauce, as the cliché rightly has it) is to take up a sport or an exercise. In the upcoming summer months there are various sporting events that you can inspired you to do more than just place a cheeky flutter or bet on, but get creative and maybe take up a new sport: rowing, athletics, soccer, tennis or golf. The choice is yours. Creating a virtuous circle of leafy eating and sweaty exercising is a great way to boost your general well-being levels.
There’s nothing more tasty than imaginative vegan food
A semi is better than nothing
If you are going to go semi vegetarian, then make sure you use the fish or meat that you do allow yourself in a creative way. Fishes like smoked salmon are quite dense in texture and will give you the mouth feel you are craving. Anchovies can be an acquired taste, but they are easily dilutable in a myriad of salads and sauces, recipes for which are now available at the flick of a hashtag or Google search.
MacKeith may be bonkers but still she can cut carbon
Even someone deeply unfashionable and arguably laughable as ‘Doctor’ Gillian McKeith is not to be discounted. No doubt her infamous appearance on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Heredid her no favours in showing up some of her neuroses, and her foolish appropriation of the doctor label is another article all in its own right, but you cannot deny that this lady knows her food and knows how to combine food to make it devilishly chewy. Her signature butter bean dish, (using parsley and garlic and olive oil for flavour) has a wonderful texture, and her brilliant Chick Peas Burgers are also fantastically creative, and being all veggie, they have serious environmental credentials. Give them to any meat lover and they will soon be chomping and heartily masticating their way through them with relish.
Shopping the green way
A key thing to remember is your shopping habits. Like many things, we can fall foul to routine and a lack of mindfulness, so be aware of how you shop. Take the time (not every shopping trip, but ones when you are not rushed off your feet) to observe how other shoppers select their foods. Try and work out what their rationale is for shopping the way they do. Are they using a shopping list to make sure they don’t by that ham sandwich impulse buy because they are hungry? Are they buying in bulk to minimise the impact that excess packaging has on the environment? Are they avoiding frozen food which has the biggest carbon footprint because of – are you spotting a pattern here? – the logistical background to get that food to you in the way it is needed? Have fun with shopping imaginatively, do NOT get dispirited that you are only one person and you cannot make a difference, you’ll be surprised how very, very many greenies, not just the ones who read this website, are out there. Good luck and may the green force remain strong in you.
Article Submitted By Community Writer