“Anyone who’s ever told you that you couldn’t make a difference was wrong.”
This is a very important concept from J-F and B L’s blog 222 Million Tons, which is a constant help and inspiration to me.
Since starting this blog in February 2012 I know I have positively influenced some people to think more of what we do, buy, use and waste and these actions’ effects on our surroundings. From showing my mum how easy and better it is to finely chop and eat broccoli stalks rather than throwing them away – which is a small change, an easy-to-get-used-to habit – to bigger issues such as climate change.
After starting a new job in December 2012, I got to know a very interesting, stylish and overall amazing young lady, Rosie Y.
We went to a great exhibition at London’s Kensington Olympia, ART 13, and I asked her a few questions about her little experiment…
For the whole month of February you didn’t eat meat, fish or eggs. Why did you decide to do this?
Because I love eating and in China there is a saying: “民以食为天”, which is an idiom that means “Food is the God of the people”.
When I was in China I decided I would not eat meat in order to lose weight but then I gave up, I didn’t even insist for one day! This time I was determined to give it a go as I hadn’t tried a diet that limited this kind of food before: it was like an experiment to see if I could do it, it was my goal to do it.
The trigger was when my friend, Su Fei, had a vegan month in January and I was very inspired by this and wanted to do something similar. I had previously failed my attempts but Su Fei succeeded so it was time for me to try it.
How did it go?
I was very surprised not to feel any different at first. It turns out that not eating meat, fish or eggs for a month is not as difficult as I expected, but I also didn’t feel lighter or healthier as I expected. I made more of my own food for diversity.
Vegetarian and vegan choices in normal restaurants are few, even normal sandwich shops offer very few meat-free options – I have to admit that I got very tired of eating falafels! Oh, the only difference might be that I felt hungrier, or I got hungry easily; however my stomach always felt good, unlike when it sometimes feels uncomfortable, too full and I feel guilty after eating meat.
Are there any positive aspects you noticed during your meat-free experiment?
I expected it to be very hard but now I feel like I can do so much more, I am not afraid of trying new things. Su Fei suggested to upload some pictures of the food I was eating on Instagram and many people from all over the world liked them, that was very surprising and encouraging. Before my experiment I thought that meat-free vegetarian food wouldn’t be as tasty as meat dishes but after seeing their pictures I realised that it also look and taste just as delicious.
Before this experiment I didn’t like salad. Now I really appreciate salad’s natural taste, and the same happened with Brussels sprouts and other vegetables I tried. Also, I often used to go for food that had many added condiments and sauces, now I really like simple food as well, less processed and less ready-made.
When you eat, do you think about food’s sustainability?
No, but I don’t know why I believe eating vegetarian is a good thing. At the end of the experiment on 1st March I bought fried chicken, not because I wanted it but because it was an easy and practical option. After eating it I felt unwell, my stomach felt heavy, too full, and I felt like a garbage bin for junk food. I did think that maybe I should carry on eating vegetarian.
After trying a vegetarian month, do you feel like trying and eating more vegetables and fruit?
Yes, I have a plan. I must have a whole vegetarian day before having meat or fish the next, as I feel like a vegetarian diet is good for me and also good for the planet.
Would you consider giving up meat/fish/eggs/dairy for a while to be healthier/more sustainable/ try something new?