Bex and I have been vegetarian for years and have recently been following a mainly vegan diet, with the odd slip-up now and then. The shift came after we watched a documentary on Netflix called Cowspiracy which highlights the impact of agriculture on global warming. It’s not something I’d previously been aware of and it really struck a cord with me and I just couldn’t forget about it. After watching the documentary it seemed natural for me to cut out dairy, and I found the transition quite easy in general. The main challenges come when eating out, or eating with other people. I hate being the one with a dietary requirement, and hate making a fuss. I’ve found most people are so accommodating that it hasn’t been a problem but if I think it’s going to be too difficult, or I just really fancy something, I’m happy to relax the rules. This flexibility has made it so much easier to follow, and is also much more acceptable to my husband who was worried about the lack of spontaneity that goes with a vegan diet. We’ve reached a happy medium, and more often than not we’re both happy with what we’re eating.
It’s not something we’ve really talked about on the blog, mainly because we didn’t want to label ourselves or come across too dogmatic, but after reading an interesting article in The Guardian yesterday, I thought it would be a good way to get the conversation started. If everyone made small changes to their diets, perhaps global warming wouldn’t accelerate on its current trajectory.
You should definitely read the article yourself, but it essentially discusses a recent UN report and states that “a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.” With the huge predicted population increases, the current western diet, rich in meat and dairy is just not sustainable for our planet.
It’s completely unrealistic to think that the whole world could go vegan overnight and the changes probably don’t need to be that extreme to make a big difference. I’m clearly not an expert on global warming or environmental issues, but if everyone was to make a conscious change in their diet over the next 10-20 years, perhaps it would make a big difference.
For many people, the idea of following a vegetarian or vegan diet is unfathomable. I’ve heard people say so many times that a meal’s not a meal without meat, and if that’s what you’re used to I suppose the idea of changing your diet is really hard. For me it’s the opposite; if you asked me to cook meat I wouldn’t have a clue what to do!
I think the key to cooking veggie or vegan food is to have plenty of resources. It’s so satisfying when I cook a vegan meal for my husband that’s so good he forgets about meat and dairy, but I’ve also had some disasters which leave him craving meat more than ever before! Not good for the cause…
Here are some of the best cookbooks I’ve found that cater for a vegan diet and could help you incorporate some vegan meals into your week.
Cristiano actually bought this book after we found we were eating the same things all the time. He doesn’t mind my vegan cooking during the week but at the weekend he finds it depressing if we don’t have something slightly more interesting (aka unhealthy.) This book was the answer and literally everything I’ve made has been amazing. There’s loads of swearing in the text which I find quite annoying but the food is so good it makes up for it. It doesn’t overtly advertise itself as vegan cookbook but “an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game.” Everything is made from scratch and there’s a big emphasis on hearty Mexican food. If you’re gonna buy one vegan cookbook, let this be the one!
I wasn’t hugely impressed by Ella’s first cookbook (and don’t get Cristiano started…) but I think she’s really upped her game for the second book, Everyday. Her recipes are generally quick to make and easy to follow. In Everyday she has a group of recipes which are meant to serve 6-8 people. I love making these as we can either have the leftovers for lunches that week or freeze portions to have at a later date.
Indian cuisine, especially South Indian cuisine, is largely vegetarian which makes it an obvious way to incorporate some veggie food into your diet, without it feeling like a sacrifice. In search of the perfect curry, Rick headed to India to find the answer, uncovering recipes from local people along the way. It’s a really beautiful book and tells stories of the local people which helps to bring the recipes alive. As expected, the food is amazing, and because it’s not an exclusively vegetarian book, you can use it all the time and not just on your meat-free days.
Do you have any recipe book recommendations? Do you think you could go vegetarian or vegan for a few days a week? Were you aware of the impact of agriculture on global warming?
Photos from the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market