We get asked this a lot since we ditched meat from our diet about a year ago now.
For us, it was a very natural progression – when we moved onto the farm, we had no power for the first two months so we were living out of an esky. Keeping enough meat for each meal just wasn’t an option so we cut back big time. We would eat meat when we could be bothered stopping somewhere on our way home from work.
I also struggled eating red meat during my pregnancy with Cypress. A point that caused me to receive much shit from my team of Midwives and the local Hospital and required me to have an Iron Transfusion at 36 weeks. They promised me a whole new lease on life with heaps more energy and stamina… I noticed no difference but did enjoy my time in the air conditioning, watching TV and sipping apple juice!
The Cowspiracy Effect
When Cypress was about a week old, we FINALLY got NBN connected and went nuts on Netflix as you do after surviving a year with no internet at home and limited phone reception. We watched Cowspiracy one night and wholly fuck, it changed our outlook entirely. By this point our meat intake was pretty limited but after finding out about the environmental impacts of the meat industry, we couldn’t ignore it any longer and decided to make the switch.
If you have Netflix – please, please watch this doco! Here’s the link to their website. And I promise – there’s NO ANIMAL CRUELTY shown. This particular doco doesn’t even touch on that side of the meat industry.
We were also getting to the point where Cypress would start eating solids so we really had to decide which way we wanted to go before he formed his eating habits and preferences.
So we decided to do it – cut out meat from our regular diet.
When I say from our regular diet – there have been times where for whatever reason we have eaten meat in the past year but only when we feel like it’s really justified and I could count on one hand the number of occasions this has happened.
Since making the switch, we’ve actually found it really easy to give it up and turn it down when offered and we’re both feeling healthier than ever. I no longer get daily headaches, bloating, painful heartburn and gas, my skin has cleared up, and our ahem… morning bathroom rituals are a lot more regular and efficient.
The question we get asked most other than do you eat fish…
Are babies allowed to be vegetarian?
Yes, yes they are. If you’re making sure they’re getting their fix of calcium and iron and are eating a variety of nutritional wholefoods, then there’s no reason to worry about your little ones getting what they need.
I copped SO much shit from the Midwives when they made their home visits. Living in a heavy beef producing region really limits the understanding and education of some of the professionals we see around here. Many times, they would leave and I would be in tears wondering if what I was doing was wrong. Would he grow enough? Would he be strong enough? Would he have deficiencies?
With each visit and each new dot on his length & weight chart showing him starting as a borderline undersized baby to launch up the chart to be an above average 6 month old, I found more confidence to stand up for what we believed in and they eventually stopped asking if I was going to feed him meat.
Cypress is now pretty big for his age and is an absolute machine when it comes to his food, smashing whatever we put in front of him (except potato – he’ll eat dirt but not potato??).
What About Nutritional Intake?
I also think that when you decide to stop eating meat, you become hyper aware of your nutritional intake. Because we’re raised to believe we need meat for iron and dairy for calcium, at first there’s this worry that you’ll suddenly drop dead if you stop having the two for every meal. Study shows that vegetarians actually have higher iron and calcium intake than their meat eating pals.
I won’t go into it too far but basically a plant based diet actually exposes your body to more quality iron, calcium and protein sources in a form that our bodies are able to break down and absorb.
Could You Reduce Your Meat Consumption?
Start small. You know that Butter Chicken family favourite? Do you think your house hold would notice if you ditched the chicken drowned in sauce and threw in some soft boiled potato instead?
How about you try scrambled eggs on Sunday morning with fresh dill, some spinach, red onion, tomato & capsicum? Do you think they’d sit there bitching that you forgot the bacon?
Start small and see where it leads you. You might surprise yourself just like we did.
And If You’re Looking For Recipe Ideas