“They made it sound so simple: reduce your meat intake and you reduce your impact on climate change. But where do you start?”— Jennifer, Founder More Than Broccoli
Eating vegetarian and climate change
According to the Dutch National Week Without Meat, you can save almost 6 kilos of meat, approximately 587 kilometers by car and 750 liters of water if you stop eating meat once a week for a year.
In a world where we are all confronted with “code red” for humanity, this sounds like a relatively simple, positive contribution that you can make individually.
But despite the abundance of vegetarian recipes and meat replacements, you do want some assurance that what you’re making is tasty and easy.
Hopefully, More Than Broccoli can help you to eat vegetarian at least once a week. It’s all based on Jennifer’s* experience and her personal interest in finding and adapting recipes.
*Jennifer is the founder of More Than Broccoli
More Than Broccoli started as a project in 2022. In that year, Jennifer published recipes on a weekly basis to inspire others to cook vegetarian more often. Since then, she still regularly posts her latest recipes and started writing more blog posts. You can read more about the impact of More Than Broccoli in 2022 here.
For a long time I struggled with the fact that I wanted to reduce my contribution to climate change. Eating less meat and fish always sounded like a nice theory to me — it’s presented by society as a small change you can make individually. But I really struggled with making my evening meals vegetarian. Being born in Belgium and having grown up in the Netherlands, “potato-meat-vegetables” have always been my staple, my go-to choice for meals, supplemented with pasta and pizza.
The last few years I have been experimenting with my cooking. I started adjusting my recipes. First I took out beef. Then no more chicken. Then less to no fish.
I noticed that my family struggled more with this than I did. This led to lots of questions, most commonly: so what are you still “allowed” to eat? I can eat anything I want, I just choose not to eat certain things.
But honestly that takes effort, especially when you first start. So that’s why I started my own recipe collection back in 2019, filled with notes about how to adjust recipes and which meat replacements work best.
Unfortunately these adapted recipes weren’t being shared outside of my households, or occasionally with my parents and in-laws. This troubled me and made me think: how can I support others to join me in this journey that I started five years ago?
The possibilities for vegetarian cooking are endless, especially thanks to modern meat replacements and access to different cuisines. But perhaps that is exactly what makes it more difficult – because trying something new can be hard. Especially if you also work, study, and are active outside of this (sports, hobbies, volunteer work…). It is not surprising then that we rely on our habits and traditions when it comes to food and cooking.
But we do have the ability to change this, and that is what More Than Broccoli shows. Through conversations with family and friends I know what the barriers to eating vegetarian are. In response to this, and by setting the challenge to once a week, I hope to make the switch easier.
Here are some beginner tips that inspired the creation of More Than Broccoli:
- There are excellent meat replacements for mince, burgers and chicken. You just have to season them more and prepare them differently than their meat counterpart;
- Make sure you weigh enough vegetables per person to make a meal filling, which often means adding extra vegetables to a recipe;
- Tempeh, tofu, chickpeas and lentils may sound unfamiliar, but they are delicious as long as you prepare them correctly;
- Frozen vegetables are not only cheaper, but also super easy and just as healthy!