I’ve flirted, unsuccessfully, with a return to vegetarianism several time over the past few years and always the project has failed, probably through lack of motivation. Now, though, I think I have motivation enough.
This, from the Huffington post, is deeply worrying “Diseased Meat That Tested Positive For Bovine TB Sold For Food, Defra Confirms.”
TB mainly affects the lungs, but it can also effect other organs, and even the joints.
Received wisdom is that TB does not infect muscle tissue, making that headline misleading and alarmist as the meat isn’t, in any meaning of the word, diseased. That, though, doesn’t rule out contamination of meat by sloppy procedures, and lack of oversight, in the slaughterhouses – that is, after all, how BSE got into the food chain in the first place. That time-bomb has so far failed to detonate – doesn’t mean it won’t though (or maybe it has, witness the rise of Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia).
I am so severely screwed right now that part of me says what the hell does the risk of being poisoned by my food matter? And part of me – the part I’m listening to – says I am so severely screwed right now that I don’t need even the slightest risk of anything making me worse. And what other potentially dangerous crap is seeping into the food chain unannounced?
So vegetarianism it is – mostly. I still need a high-protein diet, which means fish, which means I’m not really a veggie but, hey, I can live with that – one of my favourite dishes is a tomato-based soup flavoured with sweet paprika and ground coriander, and containing fish (hake for preference but coley is good too), and butter beans – a simplified, and in my view much better, version of this recipe.
Then there’s still lamb and pork, though the latter has a bad rep for factory farming, both remain uncontaminated, as far as I know. Poultry too, free-range and organic if you’re lucky, but mostly one or the other. The problem is I don’t need a whole chicken, and a pack of two chicken breasts, costs, per kilo, about three times that of a whole bird. Bone-in portions, like thighs, are a little cheaper; tastier, too.
But getting back to protein, while normally we don’t need a lot, and a veggie diet will provide ample, I have a condition which causes serious protein deficiency, so I need to eat more than normal. Of course, eating more protein means a higher food intake, which means more calories, so I need to watch my weight too.
Fish yields 14-15%, which isn’t too bad until you look at a tin of sardines, for example, and find that translates to rather less than 10g, about a sixth of my daily needs. Still, it’s a start.
I could bump up the protein levels of my bread by adding peanut flour (which I’d have to make), but the peanut taste is so dominant it might not taste too good. I can try it and see, I suppose. Other beans (peanuts are pulses, not nuts), have a less pronounce taste but need more processing – soaking, cooking, and drying out in a low oven – before grinding. Using canned beans will cut out soaking and cooking.
Truth to tell, beyond adding peanuts in some form, boosting my protein intake simply means eating more – there’s really no way around that.
So using my new manual wheelchair as a training aid is looking more essential than it was – if only it’d stop bloody raining.