The “New Vegetarian”

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The New Vegetarian.

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s the word “Vegetarian” conjured up images of sandal wearing, lentil eating, long haired hippies.   Yes, the definition of Vegetarian is someone that does not eat meat, but flexitarian attitudes from mainstream consumers are becoming more and more popular with the hardened definition of a Vegetarian becoming softer.

In the last couple of years a new form of vegetarianism has emerged.  Since the recession people are more aware of the benefits of living a simpler, healthier life which demonstrates greater respect for the environment and local community.

The New Vegetarian will actively make an effort to eat more plants, to consciously choose a meat-free diet for improved health and environmental reasons.  They will not necessarily look to fill shopping carts with highly processed vegetarian junk food but are going back to nature and experimenting with more natural wholefoods like vegetables, tofu, pulses and  grains .  Most of the soy present in processed “fake meat” products is extracted with supercritical chemicals like hexane – a toxin.  Ingredient aware consumers are choosing natural and additive-free again and again.092

The New Vegetarian cares about animal rights so much so that if they do choose to eat meat a couple of times a year, they will make an effort to make sure the meat is sustainably sourced, free-range/organic and from a local producer.  Yes, this goes against what a vegetarian lifestyle constitutes but their decision for eating mostly plants is for health and environmental reasons .  They recognise that the world does not need to eat so much meat, that current factory-scale production is not sustainable but also recognise that if they wish to support Pat the free-range/organic farmer down the road, they will do so as his animals are happy and well cared for.   Because most of their diet is plant-based they can afford to choose organic or free-range the few times they do indeed choose to eat meat.   The mindless act of filling your trolley with “cheap” chicken does not form part of the shopping mindset of the New Vegetarian.  Will the word “Vegetarian” soon become an all encompassing word for living a green and eco-friendly lifestyle.?  Will we all be vegan in fifty years time? Will meat revert back to being a ceremonial dish, eaten rarely if at all?  Look at the pictures of these happy animals I saw in West Clare last week.  If you do choose to eat meat, you should at least ensure the animals are happy and cared for.  Think about your choices.  It’s important.

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If you care about animals, you also must demonstrate respect and kindness to people whether they are vegan, vegetarian or whatever choices they make within their own lives.  Without judging, chastising or committing acts of vandalism which we have seen from extreme animal rights groups in the past.  The new vegetarian doesn’t believe in factory farms but does see a new way of promoting more humane methods of farming, by voting with their pockets and supermarket spending.   They recognise this is the real way to make a change bolstered by TV personalities using their profiles to highlight and build awareness of different causes.

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By making conscious decisions about the food we purchase and the effect this food production has on the communities we live in, can only help to make the world cleaner and greener for future generations.  Can we reverse the tide of obesity that is drowning our children’s future.?   The only way is to lead by example and choose additive free along with more wholegrains, pulses,  fruit, vegetables, this is real vegetarian food and it is for everyone.

Try one thing a day – switch from white rice to brown rice.  Use kidney beans in a chilli,  in a tortilla wrap with side portion of vegetables and brown rice.  Substitute shredded cabbage for lettuce. Healthy, Fast and Filling. It’s easier than you think.

Dee’s Wholefoods is proudly sponsoring National Vegetarian Week in Ireland from the 4th June to the 11th June.  “Real Vegetarian Food is not just for Veggies, it is for everyone, come and join us“  www.nationalvegetarianweek.ie

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Author: Dee

‘Goodness is Tasty!’ It’s a philosophy I’ve always believed in, but it’s something I’ve found hard to see in reality on the shelves of my local supermarket when buying food. The situation was vividly brought home to me after completing my degree in Food Science at UCC. I was suddenly confronted with the truth about the array of additives that are routinely pumped into our foods and the effect it has on our health. They say knowledge is power and after my degree I was put on the path to a more natural, wholefood and plant-based diet.