I come from a culture that celebrates food and meat is a known sign for this celebration. In my culture, mum’s love is expressed with food, and recipes are like gifts that friends give to one another. Surprisingly enough, my mother adjusted to vegetarian cooking very quickly to accommodate my pledge. She continues to offer many of the tastes and traditional recipes from her home country, but this time without meat. I keep the non-meat traditional recipes for festive occasions (and sometimes to show off!).
I soon noticed many people around me who share the same choices, and it became even easier to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle. In many of the dinner events that I got to participate in, vegetarian food was the default. Sometimes to accommodate everyone’s needs and sometimes because it is often more suitable for a student’s budget.
I do like meat, crave it from time to time, and sometimes allow myself the treat. I don’t believe it is all or nothing. But I know that overall my choice is doing better for the planet.
Once I became aware of my diet and its environmental benefits, and was open to trying other options, moving forward with other food preferences is much more straightforward. I now make a point of buying products that are Fairtrade, free-range, organic, seasonal and my recent favourite – imperfect fruit and veg. All are easily accessible, affordable and help us all make a difference.
I enjoy cooking, enjoy hosting and feeding people, enjoy exploring thing – opening my mind and habits to more sustainable food is an excellent opportunity to do better.
I think I am ready for the vegan challenge. I’ll keep you posted.