Seven meat - free recipes 

We look at the negative affects of eating too much meat and share some delicious meat free recipes. 

Australia is one of the largest consumers of meat in the world, with the average Australian consuming over 90kgs of meat per person in 2015, according to the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
 
“The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend [eating no more than] about 455g of lean meat a week, so that’s about 65g per day,” tells Bowel Cancer Australia’s nutritionist, Teresa Mitchell-Paterson. “However the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that on average, and this is mostly men, we consume 304g of meat per day.”
 
That’s a lot of beasts when you add all of those chickens, cows and sheep up, and as tasty as those beasts may be, this level of consumption can - unsurprisingly –have potentially negative effects on both our health and environment.
 
Environmentally speaking, issues such as water and grain stocks to feed the animals are also an important consideration with over 30% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions can be attributed to the animal industries, according to the CSIRO.
 
With deforestation occurring daily to build farmland, the environmental impact is astounding, but for many it may not be enough to encourage them to go meat-free now again, but maybe the impact on their health might.
 
When you consume meat you also consume saturated fats, and this is often linked with a lower consumption of fiber and antioxidants, which are mainly found in fruit, vegetables and legumes. 
A free range chicken sitting on a fence near a tree
If you’re eating a large amount of meat and therefore consuming more saturated fat, you may have an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “How much meat you’re eating and what cuts you’re eating may make a difference”, tells Teresa
 
Another area of our bodies that is put under strain when we consume too much meat is our bowel. Over consumption of meat is a risk factor linked to bowel cancer.
 
Bowel Cancer Australia recommends eating no more than 500g of meat a week to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer. “Meat consumption is not the only thing that leads to an increased risk. We need to look at lifestyle factors also such as exercise, smoking and reducing alcohol consumption,” says Teresa.
 
Lean cuts of meat are known to be the healthiest, however abstaining from meat a couple of days a week, and eating the recommended portion sizes, are the most effective ways to limit your meat intake.
 
“If you can go a couple of days a week without eating meat then you will probably reach that guideline. It’s probably easier to do it that way than trying to measure 65g of meat per day,” says Teresa.
 
The Australian Bowel Cancer Foundation is launching their fourth annual Meat Free Week in August 1st-8th. Meat Free Week gives people the perfect opportunity to try out new plant-based foods, get more fruits and veggies in their meals and see whether a meat-reduced diet is for them, even if it's just one day a week or one week a year.
 
“Going meat free for one week creates a great opportunity to get people thinking about how much meat they eat and the impact that consuming too much meat may have,” said Claire Annear, Bowel Cancer Australia Community Engagement Manager.
 
For more information and to sign up, visit the meat free week website and in the meantime here are a few recipes to help kick start your meat free journey.
 

Winter minestrone

This Italian soup is an old favorite and should be in everyone’s repertoire. This hearty meal is perfect for using up any vegetables leftover in the fridge, and it tastes amazing. Click here for the recipe.

Spiced Pumpkin and Lentil Dhal

This delicately spiced, aromatic soup is both warming and hearty. It’s perfect for winter! Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse as they are packed with vitamins and minerals. They also contain protein and fibre, which is believed to aid both heart and digestive health. Click here for the recipe. 

Chargrilled Corn Stew

Corn is not only delicious but it is packed with antioxidants, which are activated when we cook it. Corn is also a good source of fibre, and contains vitamins A and C. Click here for the recipe.

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup is a firm vegetarian favorite during the cooler months and when you spice it up a little it just gets better.
 
Just one cup of cooked pumpkin contains about double your recommended daily vitamin A intake, which may help with eye health. Packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene, pumpkin is a “super-food” that flies under the radar. Click here for the recipe.

Quinoa and Cruciferous Salad

This delicious salad is bursting with flavor whilst being chocked full of goodness. Packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, it is low GI to keep your energy levels up for longer, and it’s a textural feast. Click here for the recipe.

Quesadilla with Guacamole

Feel like taking it south of the border with a hint of Mexican? Quesadillas are delicious for the whole family at any time of day, but they are super convenient for lunchboxes or a quick dinner when you want to keep it simple. Click here for the recipe.
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