It seems everyone is jumping on the meat-free band wagon (if only on Mondays)…

There’s no doubt about it – vegetarianism is in vogue. And no wonder; in an age where carbon footprints, animal welfare and expanding waistlines are all under the media’s figurative microscope, vegetarianism seems to hold all the answers. The drive for Meat-Free Mondays, headed by old friends of the veggie world, the McCartneys, was started with the belief that by limiting your meat intake even for one day a week, you really can make a big difference. It would seem Mr M is really on to something…

Surprisingly, the livestock trade is a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases; the Food and Agriculture Organisation reckons that our demand for meat fuels some pretty toxic crimes against Mother Earth. Meanwhile, although conditions are generally improving, some animals are still going through some truly awful ordeals in their short lives at the hands of ruthless producers. TV shows like Channel 4’s 2012 documentary Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket, and organisations such as Compassion in World Farming (@ciwf) are raising awareness of the terrible conditions in which some animals are reared. Thus, people are rightfully put off spending money on the fruits of such unethical labour. In a bid to keep their carnivorous consciences clear, many shoppers are starting to fork out for the more ethical but expensive meat options, with the cost resulting in less frequent buying. Then there’s the waistline – decreasing your meat intake cuts out a lot of the saturated fat that comes with it, and a healthier weight reduces the risk of heart disease. Oxford University’s Department of Public Health reported that shrinking our meat intake to three portions a week could prevent as many as 31,000 deaths from heart disease every year. Crikey.

However, cutting meat out of our regular diet does mean losing out on all that meaty protein and iron so it’s all the more important we replace it with nutrients from our peas, beans, spinach and the like. But supermarket shelf leftovers or chemically spoiled veggies aren’t really going cut it. We need them super-fresh to ensure maximum nutrients! The answer? Grown your own. Plenty of items like this VegTrug (below) guarantee fresh, organic veggies every day. The VegTrug, supplied by online garden centre, Garden Essentials, is a miniature vegetable garden in a raised, wooden trough, which can fit in any outdoor space – making it easy for all those wannabe green-fingered gardeners who lack the space for a conventional veg patch. The ‘trug’ provides an optimal growing environment for veggies and herbs, as well as protection from frost (handy in this sun-deprived climate) and safety from hungry insects (and toilet-seeking cats). A whole host of different fruit, vegetables, plants and herbs can be grown in them. Now none of us have an excuse not to get our five a day…

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