Where do you live?
My name is Sophie Peters and I live in Bristol.
Usually Flexitarian, currently having a go at Veganuary.
What was your motivation to start eating less meat?
Sustainability. I have always been a bit of an environmentalist, conscious about the planet. At uni, I studied Environmental Science, an interdisciplinary course that discussed the effects of almost everything on the planet and its systems. I didn’t eat much meat as a student anyway, but when I learnt the alarming statistics of water, energy use and emissions from animal farming, this added weight to my reasoning. I also stumbled upon a TED talk by Graham Hill: Why I am a weekday vegetarian. This was the first time I had heard of my diet being a concept, as from then that’s how I described myself (until I came across the marvellously coined word Flexitarian, of course!)
Volunteering and interning in sustainability roles taught me more about the food sector and as I understood more about animal welfare this further strengthened the way I thought about food and the connection we have with it.
How many meat-free days do you have in a week?
With Veganuary in play, all my days are meat-free. Ordinarily, my meat-free days fluctuate somewhat, but on average probably one meat day a week.
What are the benefits?
During Veganuary I have felt pretty good, I haven’t felt heavy or bloated and I feel even more engaged with what I am eating. Being mindful of this means I am looking after myself more, making sure I get what my body needs. I am more aware when shopping, peering at the back of every pack that I pick up. I don’t buy many pre-packaged goods, most of what I make is from scratch.
For Veganuary, I have found the most challenging aspect is the prepping and thinking of new things to make. The benefits of this were that I actually am using my recipe books and I am winging it less. The vegetarian curries and chilli that I usually make were easy to adapt to vegan. Realising how many dairy-based dishes I made was alarming. I don’t miss cheese, but I do miss cooking with butter!
My shopping trips took longer than normal – looking on the back of packets for bold allergens is addictive. I was surprised by the amount of packaged foods that were not vegan, with traces of milk etc. I didn’t eat many packaged items before but now I eat even less which is great for my wallet and my insides.
Have your family and friend been supportive?
My family and friends are very supportive; I live in a flexitarian flatshare which makes things easy too! It’s great to be able to share meals and new flavours. I often cook for friends and they seem pretty open to trying my culinary delights. I’m not the best cook, a little ad-hoc – usually turns out okay though…
Oosh. Brunch. Veggie Brunch. Usually, along the lines of mushrooms, spinach, roasted tomatoes, sautée new potatoes, buttery sourdough and poached eggs, you get the gist.
But if it’s not brunch you can’t go wrong with a vegetarian lasagna (packed with veggies and lentils, not that fake meat stuff.)
Favourite place to eat out?
In Bristol, we are very lucky to have a splendid array of restaurants delivering diverse menus that cater for all. Simply spoilt for choice as a flexitarian. And with the Flexitarian Restaurant Award being launched by Flexitarian Bristol, it’s even easier to spot where is good to go! There are currently 10 restaurants going through the award process – it’s great to see them being showcased for what they do. It’s pretty hard to have a favourite, but since living in Bristol I’ve probably visited the Thali Café the most.
In my flatshare Anna Jones’ books are a favourite! They are often open on the kitchen table, feeding our inspiration and our stomachs. She creates winning recipes that work every time.
For more information on the Flexitarian Restaurant Award visit www.flexiaward.org or on Twitter @FlexiBristol
Flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan? We would like to know what motivates the way you eat and why it is important for you to eat less meat or even no meat at all. If you would like to be featured, please send us an email at email@example.com