I tried to complete the Malta Meat Free Week challenge this previous week… I say tried because I can’t exactly say I was successful after semi-failing a mere three hours into the challenge. I tried, really. I did.
Meat Free Week is a global movement constructed in the era of mass veganism, as a lifestyle choice aimed at helping reduce humanity’s carbon footprint through our diets.
Bit of background for you: I (drunkenly) briefly mentioned taking part in the challenge to a friend a few weeks back, and thought nothing of it until last Sunday, when they brought it back up and reminded me that I wasn’t going to be able to eat meat for a week starting Monday.
It was held over my head, my willpower was challenged and whatever scrap of integrity I had left was questioned.
My body froze in fear, I’ve never been told I can’t eat something. I mean, yeah, I have sensitivities but that’s just where you begin to question life choices after a 2 am block of cheese (keep this in mind, there’s going to be a pattern here).
And I might just sound like a spoilt millennial here, but it’s just not right to have to actively decide what I can and can’t eat. If I want a rabbit burger, surely I can goddamn-well have one, right? Right???
Day 1: The Reckoning
To mark the occasion, I spent my Sunday evening eating as much meat as I could – I roasted a chicken and stuffed that baby with Maltese sausage meat. Delicious? Yes. Equally so at 3 am that night, when I awoke with a pang for something tasty.
Three hours into the challenge and I had already failed. But, we’ll let me off because I was half asleep and, you know what, a new day doesn’t dawn until you get up and start it.
I got in late on Monday evening, without having lunch at the office and was greeted by my flatmate devouring an entire pot of spaghetti bolognese, the injurant.
What was I to feast on? Leftover cauliflower and some baked beans because not three days prior I had done a massive haul at Miracle Foods thinking how nice it was going to be to finally start roasting joints again with the colder weather. Boy, how wrong I was…
TRIGGER WARNING (it ain’t pretty):
Day 2: Redemption
Now, I’m not going all out on this challenge because for all I’d love to do, I just can’t control my cravings and as I write this exact sentence I am currently wishing I had some pork belly to devour. I gave myself one rule, and one rule only: no meat, but I could rely on dairy and eggs because Lord knows I deserve it.
Skipped breakfast, ran on umpteen cups of tea and then realised I was drinking a naturally caffeine-free blend. Crawled home (via Lidl) and grabbed a pack of ravioli, some garlic, and cream. Bish, bash, bosh.
That was easier than the first attempt, and it had actually been a while since I’d cooked a meal just for myself so it was a real “treat yoself” moment.
Day 3: The dip…
The only thing getting me through this day was the thought of my veggie burgers waiting for me at home. I tried having a pastizzi for breakfast before work, but that ended horribly when the only pizelli he had left was burnt to a bloody crisp. Is chocolate vegetarian???
Yes. Yes, it is.
Day 4: Meat, of a different kind
In case you’re wondering how my veggie burgers were – they weren’t. I ate so much shit yesterday – that wouldn’t even constitute a full meal – and ended up at the launch of Tingé Point Bachelors for the evening, so while I did end up skipping dinner, I still got see some meat (without having to eat it).
By the time I got home, I just crashed into bed. I’ve got those carrot patties for lunch.
Day 5: Inside the box
So, I guess by now I was getting pretty used to turning down pretty much everything, but I had chocolate to pull me through so there’s that. We had fried chicken in the office, and I wasn’t exactly complaining.
Who knew avocado, cream cheese and sweet chilli could make rice and barley taste great??
Day 6: Saturday Night Fever
With the weekend upon us, I had some time to get back into the kitchen and thanks to my local veggie man offering up some sweet AF asparagus, I was inspired by some leftover rice in the freezer to tackle the classic and full-of-cheese, risotto.
No complaints again, from myself or my flatmate who enjoyed the rest of the pot at 3 am last night. Hopefully, the jalapeńo cheese wasn’t too tough on him that early in the morning.
Day 7: We’ve come full-circle
In honour of finding my flair back at home in the kitchen and the horrendous attempt I’d made the first night, I decided to mashup Day 1’s cauliflower cheese and my favourite thing next to meat: pies.
Safe to say, I have made it through a week of no meat. It was a struggle, but a worthy one.
If not for the conclusion of understanding I cannot cut out meat entirely from my diet, because all the self-control in the world couldn’t hold me back from a juicy burger.
What have I learnt? To get back into the kitchen, stop being TimeToEat’s best friend and that maybe I don’t always need to sprinkle a little bacon dust over my scrambled eggs. It’s economic, (kinda) environmentally friendly and easy.
Heck, if a South African raised on weekly barbecues (where a bowl of Doritos covered in cheese and dips is considered a salad) can put down the pork for 7 days, then anyone can. But for now, I’m off to go and slow roast a beef joint for tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch and dinner…