National Vegetarian Week 10-16 May

It’s that time again, so get ready for delicious new ways to help your body feel better and do good things for the planet as well. Couldn’t hurt the budget or your health to extend meat-free Mondays a bit further!

Are. You. Ready. For. The. Veggie. Challenge!?

Step 1: Go veg for a week

Step 2: Nominate two friends

Step 3: Donate £3 to the Vegetarian Society. It's less than a venti! and you can do it by SMS.

Obvs you’ll be posting pictures of yourself being cute and eating fabulously decked out plates of, I don’t know, cauliflower steak or zoodles or something. It’ll be fun. Promise.

If you’re already vegetarian or vegan, get an omnivore friend to join instead. Hashtag youknowwhoyouare.

Why go vegetarian?

What’s the deal with vegging out anyway? Besides for the challenge? Is it doable? Is it worth it? Will you drop a size? Could happen, yes, but not if your vegetable dish is a doughnut salad. Wait but that sounds really good. Slimming, not very, but YOLO. Make sure that’s not a maple bacon doughnut and you’re still golden.

What we’re NOT having:

Meat (ex: beef, lamb, pork), poultry (ex: chicken, turkey, duck), fish, or seafood (lobster, shrimp, etc.).

What we ARE having:

Eggs and dairy are still allowed if you’re going standard vegetarian, in addition to vegetables, fruit, and things like beans, bread, pasta, and the like. That’s also called lacto-ovo vegetarian.

Or you can cross those off the list as well if you want to go vegan. Vegan is a bit strict and if you do go vegan, you’ll be avoiding all animal products, including things like honey and gelatin. If you want to take it to its logical conclusion, you won’t buy fur or leather products. Truth be told we don’t need those, and it’s dead easy getting fun fur or vegan leather if that’s your look. Or, some people choose to buy vintage, or thrift for fur and leather. That way, they aren’t directly contributing to animals being used for those things.

Then there’s the flexitarians. That might be you, for now. Flexitarian just means you are doing your best to eat vegetarian, but you will have a shrimp cocktail or a lamb korma once in a while. Could have been a rotten day, or you’re having an extra crave-ish moment, or you’re out with your crew. Remember, don’t let anyone scold you for not going 100% veg, because every plant-based meal is already a big help to your body and the planet. It all adds up.

More importantly, a glass of wine or a good old vodka tonic is still fine. Have one if you like! Have a few (responsibly please). We’re celebrating Veg Week, aren’t we.

Vegans Represent!

Now you, you’ve been on a plant-based ONLY kick for ages now. And honestly? We’re proud of you. Are we ready to join you? Maybe. Or maybe we’ll give it a trial run. Like, everybody loves cute baby animals. We can definitely skip sweet and sour pork for at least a week, or get a General Tso’s tofu instead. Steak, who’s buying steak these days anyway. Chicken salad, out you go, regretfully. But no mac and cheese? Can we handle that? Well, yes, there’s the vegan cheese, but it’s not cheese-cheese. But we’ll focus on the bigger causes in life. The Amazon. The ozone layer. That sort of thing. To be honest you soon get used to the lighter, happier feeling in your tummy and, possibly, your conscience.

What’s for tea?

Let’s decide what works for your programme this week. If you’re a pescatarian (vege as far as meat and chicken, but still eat fish), you can have some good old nostalgic fish fingers and chips. Vegetarian only, you could do an eggplant parm. Have you had halloumi cheese? SO good. Try a halloumi burger. Load it up with iceberg lettuce or sprouts or rocket, and throw on some pesto sauce or just tomato ketchup. You could do a really good burger with Portobello mushroom as well, or stuffed mushroom is a great choice too. If you’re going fully vegan, Mexican food is just amazing, and it is one of the easiest cuisines to do meat-free and dairy-free as well. You’ll want to get some perfect avocados, and fresh lime, if possible.

Comfort food, redux

When you’re thinking up meals with meatless substitutes, they don’t always sound as delicious as they actually are. Here are some easy “main” subs you can try, if you want to eat something that tastes familiar but hasn’t got any animals in it. Try finding the easiest recipe you can, or you can look up recipes based on what you’ve already got in the cupboard and the fridge.

  1. Veg shepherd’s pie with mash or sweet potato mash: uses carrot and lentil, but trust us, try it. This is a bit more of a project but well worth the bother.

  2. Got a slow cooker? Ratatouille (pronounced rah-tah-too-ee) is the way to go. Try rice or quinoa on the side. If you don’t already know what ratatouille is, it’s more or less tipping all your veg into a pot and cooking it down. Can be super if you do it right.

  3. Curry, or dhal. A fair percentage of Indian food is either easy to make vegetarian, or is vegetarian already. Just be sure you have the right spices, or, shh… just cheat and buy it ready-made. We won’t tell if you don’t.

Right we are then. Ready, set, VEG!

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