National Vegetarian Week runs between 13th and 19th May 2019
It aims to highlight the benefits of a vegetarian diet, and how tasty it can be!
With people increasingly looking to make diet and lifestyle changes, vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more apppealing.
Many meat eaters have adopted meat free Mondays, a campaign launched in 2009 to encourage people to have at least one meat free day per week.
Health and environmental impacts
Why the shift towards plant-based foods? According to the Meat Free Monday campaign page, reducing the amount of meat we eat can help improve our health, conserve natural resources and slow down climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) claims that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
And what about the impact on our health? While meat can form part of a healthy diet, the NHS advises limiting red and processed meat to 70g a day as there is likely to be a link with bowel cancer.
A study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that people who consumed red and processed meat four or more times per week had a 20% increased risk of colorectal cancer compared with those who were consuming red and processed meat less than twice a week.
Meat in your diet
Meat is an excellent source of protein and one of our main sources of vitamin B12. Red meat also provides us with iron.
While meat can form part of a healthy diet, the NHS recommends reducing the amount of red and processed meats in our diets, and including protein from non-animal sources (such as beans and pulses).
Here's what they advise when buying and cooking meat:
- Choose the leanest option. Ask the butcher for a lean cut, or choose skinless chicken and turkey as these are naturally lower in fat
- Cut off any visible fat or skin before cooking
- Try to limit processed meat products such as sausages, beefburgers and salami as these are generally high in salt and fat
Sources of protein in vegetarian diets include: eggs, beans, nuts and cheese.
Vegetarian recipes for every body
Being a vegetarian doesn't mean subsisting on tofu and kale - far from it! Although if you love tofu, try these 9 tasty tofu recipes
From gnocchi to lasagna and colourful twists on burgers, vegetarian food can be both healthy and delicious. Scroll down for 12 fantastic veggie meals that even the biggest meat eaters will enjoy.