My husband is vegetarian, and this has contributed to my diet slowly containing less and less meat as well. It’s been easy to adapt because I was used to eating lots of beans, rice and vegies (Australian for vegetables, although i know some foreigners use this to mean vegetarians!) when i was a poor student. Hmm.. now that i stop and think about what i used to cook i guess i do miss things like chicken drumstick and spinach curry, and roast lamb, delicious! But one thing i don’t miss is cleaning up after the greasy animal fats, so when i get a craving for meat (once a month?) i’ll get a big juicy beef burger out somewhere. Therefore, at home i’ll supplement the vegies with just a small amount of sandwich meat or some fish. So, without really thinking about it, i’ve managed to increase both the healthiness and sustainability of my diet 🙂 (by eating less animal proteins).
I know this is why many people are endorsing ‘meat-free Mondays’ or some similar reduction in meat-eating. It’s an easy way to adjust your thinking from ‘every meal should have some animal protein’ to ‘actually, there are so many wonderful vegetarian dishes that aren’t even tricky to prepare’. An added incentive is that it’s also generally cheaper (although my husband eats plenty of pre-packaged meat substitutes, which are not cheaper than the cheap cuts of meat/poultry).
Nowadays, one of my regular little treats, when i want a small amount of red meat is smoked kangaroo, prepared right here in Canberra.
Sold in small chunks, it has plenty of flavour, so i just slice it thinly and pop it in a sandwich/wrap or for something even tastier it is excellent on pizza with mozzarella.
I like it so much that the woman who works the register at my local store (who keep some in stock, so i don’t have to go across town to the actual butcher’s shop) now knows it is my favourite. Each and every time she rings it up for me she says the same thing: “ooh, kangaroo, i couldn’t eat that!”. Last time I bought some i replied to her “it’s my favourite now”, to which she replied “oh yes, i know”. For some reason i found this really funny, she keeps saying the same thing each time. She obviously has a strong emotional reaction to eating kangaroo, as i know plenty of people still do. And I can understand that, they are cute, especially young ones like this one I snapped while out walking in my own suburb:
But there are also plenty of good reasons to eat them. For me, it’s the sustainability aspect that makes it a good choice over other red meat I might buy. That said, if the store is out of smoked kangaroo then i’m also happy with the smoked venison 🙂
While i’m thinking about meat, I’ll add a little postscript about my infertile status. I can’t help but be a little superstitious about eating meat/my lack of menstruation/iron levels. The last time i actually had my iron levels checked they were low but otherwise fine (within the normal range, just on the lower end). Also, my female vegetarian friends are turning out to be better at producing offspring than i am. So i know these feelings are not grounded in fact, but i still feel like i should eat a little animal protein every now and then for ‘fertility health’. For a while i supplemented my diet with iron pills, but i know iron is absorbed much better from food, plus it’s tastier, plus there may be other nutrients in meat/fish that are good for me and a bit harder to come by in vegetables/grains. Also, i’m very well aware of the psychology at play here. Nobody can suggest a good reason for why i’m not ovulating but wouldn’t it be great if i could fix it by just eating a little more fish/kangaroo/roast lamb? I know deep down that there are more complex reasons for my infertility. At least, in the meantime I can take care of my goals for general health/sustainability/household budget by eating a small amount of meat fairly regularly. And that’s enough to take care of the superstition also, thankfully.