Many of you will remember Sir Paul McCartney’s late wife, Linda McCartney. About a year ago, I used to think about her all the time. Essentially, I was having a go at vegetarianism and her frozen meat free sausages were my first point of contact. I spent hours traipsing around supermarkets looking for ready made vegetarian foods that were both tasty and nutritious. The problem was that, yes, there was taste and, yes, there was some nutrition, but eating from the freezer all the time was hard work. In fact, by the end of four weeks, I could not look at another meat free sausage, burger or lasagne, so I duly got back onto proper beef burgers and mince.
However, 12 months later, I am again having a go at living a vegetarian lifestyle. I’m not going fully vegan but more pescatarian, eating eggs, fish and a wide array of vegetables. And this time it feels much better. Why? Well, I’ve ditched the ready made meals that so many novice vegetarians start with and I’m now cooking from scratch. And the results are impressive both within my body and my wallet.
So, what is different this time? Pinterest. As you may know, Pinterest is a social media platform that allows you to search for things that interest you. It then aggregates and learns from what you click on and introduces more specific options for you. And this is where I am saving the planet – allegedly, by not consuming red meat – while I save money.
A regular trip to the supermarket used to involve buying food for about three days. It would encompass at least one pack of lean mince, bacon, burgers and chicken breasts. Add to this processed and carved ham or gammon for a sandwich in the afternoon. These items cost about £20 and I’d still have to buy potatoes and vegetables to fill it all out. This would be repeated three times a week on average. And I wondered why my food bill was so big, notwithstanding the wine to go with it all.
Now, this has halved. Yes, literally halved as I have switched to fresh vegetarian food that I prepare myself. Certainly, if I stick in a some salmon, the bill goes up. But, this is only once a week as the scaremongering around salmon farming is now beginning to worry me. One for another day…
My trolley now has avocados, tomatoes, cauliflower, coriander, beans of all types, red peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, chillies, rice with quinoa and lentils. There was a time when I would have had to buy some cookbook to work out what to do with it all. But, my Pinterest board is throwing the most delicious and amazing recipes at me. For three weeks I have not even thought about my beef mince and tatties, beef chilli or burgers. I haven’t missed chicken in any shape or form. And as for sandwiches with cold meat – they are ancient history.
I am now eating nutritious food that keeps me regular with the right fibre and good carbohydrates and saving about £30 per week as my two trips to vegetable counter keep me going for seven days. That adds up to about £1,500 a year, which could pay for a holiday abroad. All this when I am eating the tastiest food I have ever eaten and would never have believed it.
Big Tech takes a bashing and as many of you know, I now no longer do Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. But, I am finding that Pinterest, a rare “unicorn” that is preparing an IPO without haemorrhaging cash, seems to suit me down to the ground. This is one piece of tech that I feel is tailored to my needs and as I use it each day, gets to know me better without throwing ads and superfluous rubbish at me. It is actually providing value in encouraging me to change my lifestyle.
Will I maintain my vegetarian lifestyle over a sustained period? There is no reason why not, as more and more creative and tasty menus pop up. And the beauty is there is not a frozen meat free sausage in sight. I do hope though that once Pinterest completes its IPO, it doesn’t go the way of Facebook and profit at all costs. In the meantime – bon appetit.
- Jim Duffy MBE, Create Special