Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Meat free musings

Well, we went a whole week without eating any meat or fish at all.  And, for the most part, what a delicious experience it was!  While I am not now having some sort of Damascene conversion and eschewing animal flesh forever (I ate a smoked salmon sandwich yesterday and it was lovely) I certainly am now more aware than ever that it is perfectly possible to eat delicious food that happens to be vegetarian (as opposed to vegetarian food that happens to be delicious).

One thing I noticed was that the range of veggie friendly food on the go is a bit lacking.  I work away from the office on a Monday and tend to pick up a sandwich in good old M&S.  In this instance, unless you were a fan of cheese or egg, there wasn't much there, especially in comparison to the plethora of chicken based options.  Fortunately, I love cheese and egg, but it felt a wee bit uninspiring.

The only meal where I positively missed the meat was my vegetarian Sunday roast.  I made a carrot and cashew nut roast from this recipe which was delicious (I had some cold for lunch today with salad and homemade coleslaw - lovely) but, for all the onion gravy and roast potatoes and buttery braised cabbage, it just wasn't quite the same.  I would rather have had chicken with perhaps a slice of nut roast fulfilling the role of the stuffing.

Which leads me on to my next point - that just because you're eating vegetarian food, your calorie consumption is not necessarily going to go down.  The nut roast is a case in point - the recipe serves 4-6 with a quarter portion coming in at something like 15 pro points (which would be somewhere in the region of 600 calories).  That's higher than for a decent sized portion of lamb, the fattiest of the Sunday meats, and significantly higher than a good helping of the leaner chicken, turkey or pork.  I also found myself eating more cheese than I might do in the normal course of things - probably because I really like cheese and, when it came to meal planning, it kept springing to mind as a natural protein source.

I think only one of the meals that we had was entirely vegan - Nigella Lawson's tomato and pea curry with coconut rice.  I really enjoyed this, although am slightly ashamed to say that D and I both commented on how nice the tomato curry would be as an accompaniment to some  spiced lamb cutlets.  Sigh.

All in all though, a success, and a salutary reminder of how it is not only possible but actually pretty easy to go meat free if you need to.  D will be serving up his meat free week at the end of February and it will be interesting to see how we compare - he tends to be a more adventurous cook than I, so probably less cheese and more spice.  I'm sure that there is a Spice Girls joke to be had there somewhere...


  1. Interesting - I love veggie food but couldn't go without fish for long. Have you been watching "How to Lose Weight Well"? They did a vegan starch diet thingo (can't remember the name) and the woman did okay on it, even though she ate out alot. Just goes to show this low carb fad around at the mo is a load of twaddle!

    1. No, but I will check it out! I am very anti low carb but I must admit that I'm sometimes guilty of having too carb heavy a diet whereas when I get a bit more protein in there, I definitely get fewer hunger pangs.

      Vegan though - couldn't cope with that. Cheese, eggs, milk, yoghurt - all great loves of mine.

  2. I think everyone responds differently - I definitely feel better on low carb and have the blood sugar readings to prove it. But people have different levels of sensitivity - some people can't even eat tomatoes without screwing with their blood sugar level!

    On the whole, with veggie food, I'm with you Seren - perfectly nice alongside a chunk of meat! And I think a veggie diet tends to be v cheesy (no bad thing if you're unconcerned about calories). Ditto nuts.


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