Vegetarian Movement: Our Take On The Debate

We all know that if everyone only ate vegetables, the world, as whole, would be a better place. Those who have stumbled across the food documentary of 2015, Cowspiracy, will realise that it’s not just about animal welfare, or even our health, but that the very future of our planet relies on us ditching the steaks. The message was loud and clear, when considering the environment, we can pretty much do what we want as long as we don’t eat any meat.

However, true these claims may be, the tides will never turn if Brussels sprout branding activists continue to argue (what, to be fair, is a pretty valid point) from such extremes sat atop this moral high ground. Imagine being in the position of an adrenaline junky base-jumping enthusiast, when he is told, ‘sorry mate you’ve got to do long jump because you’re ruining the sky line and you might land on some one’. I’ve never been a base-jumping enthusiast, but if I was I’d tell you to f*ck off and try and recruit more people to the cause just to spite your insolence.

Perhaps a slightly erratic reference but I feel it’s a valid comparison.

One can’t dictate what enters another’s palette by quoting Joaquin Pheonix documentaries, environmental stats or even Cowspiracy. In the same way that a Marxist intellectual will never convince a capitalist tycoon to forfeit their right to profits by claiming their greed is damaging the world, a vegetarian will never convince an Aberdeen Angus loving carnivore to start eating lentils because they’re killing the planet. However, I believe that both can be convinced to meet in the middle.

The veggie/vegan movement needs a rebrand!

We should be eating a bit less meat and a few more veggie dishes because vegetarian dishes are absolutely delicious! The idea that vegetarian food needs a leg up by some quasi-intellectual moral standing is frankly insulting. The range in flavours, textures and colours one can create from purely vegetarian dishes is enough to get half the Gaucho clan running out the door.

Pick any restaurant, from bog standard to high end and look at the menu. 95% of the time you’ll see a two page spread of sexed up meaty dishes to fill your hearts desire. Then let your eyes trickle down. All the way down to the bottom left corner. The vegetarian section. An apologetic turd on an otherwise champion menu. Are you really telling me that a Michellin starred demi-god can only muster a green bean salad with beetroot dressing!? Out of the Gzillion different types of fruits, vegetables, pulses that’s all we can manage? I haven’t even got on to God’s greatest gift, PEANUT BUTTER! I can only think of about 4 types of meat and they get a full page spread.

I’m going to be honest, despite being a self proclaimed peanut butter champion in training, I bloody love meat. However, the best dinner I’ve ever had was an all veggie Thai green curry preceded by a ceviche, with no fish in it – still wondering how you did it, Jueves a la Mesa. I see the need to advocate vegetarian dishes, not just because they’re better for you, not just because they’re better for the environment – we should all consider a few more veggie dishes because, done right, it looks, feels and tastes fucking fantastic.

– Stuart Macdonald, Founder of ManíLife.