To eat or not to eat meat ?

Meat, good or bad? That is the question.

I guess I’m not going to convince vegetarians to start chewing on a piece of dead animal and likewise it is not my intention to convert meat lovers into vegetarianism. But the question popped up in my mind again today  while visiting the charming city of Lille, just over the Belgian border into Chti country.

We had left Bruges early morning and now strolled through the centre with our stomachs growling for a meal. IMG_2029We found our  breakfast haven in the baroque setting of Meert bakery and pastry house and then had driven to Lens to visit the satellite museum of the  Louvre. After walking for several hours through the ‘Gallery of Time’ at the Louvre, which was an enriching experience, and worthy of a seperate blog post, we returned to Lille. The weather had cleared out and we marvelled at the many beautiful sites. Why had we never been here before? We certainly would return, because there was plenty left for us to discover, but also because of the many beautiful and original shops, which were all closed because of the holiday. I noticed the twinkle in Vera’s eyes, she even took some pictures of a particularly pretty blouse. Then we realized we had not eaten since the late breakfast at Meert. With a lot of places still on annual leave, we haphazardly went looking for a restaurant and bounced into what was actually a butcher shop turned restaurant with the funny name :”Le Barbier qui fume“. We looked at each other and agreed that we were ready for a hearty piece of red meat.

Very friendly and very professional, the service was impeccable. And so was the meat. For starters we had a nice serving of Iberico pata negra and we let  some crispy toast with fresh bone marrow melt on our tongue.IMG_2042

Vera had  piece of Rum steak, I had the Faux filet and our daughter relished a plate of pork ribs, cured and smoked on oak.IMG_2047

It was all prepared to perfection, the meat was tender and succulent, in one word: delicious.

And then, after the meal, a little bit puffing on our full stomachs, came the unavoidably sense of guilt: “Ouff, that was enough meat for a month!” Or ” Man, I don’t want to know how much cholesterol this added to my quotum” Etc.

Want to hear my opinion? We are omnivores, so our body can really deal with red meat. We actually need a diet that includes meat, we need it for protein, for some essential vitamins too. The real question is “how much meat do we need?” And there I think that we are really overdoing it. (Except maybe if you do very hard and intensive physical work every day) I think that we ought not to have one or two veggy days per week, but probably three or four. Or better still, zero veggy days and meat every day but in much smaller portions.  So, meat : yes. But not too much and not too often.

Furthermore, better a good red steak every now and then rather than these bland and ridiculous meat replacers that are almost invariably based on soy beans (meat eaters are criticised for using up soy beans for animal feed and destroying forests doing so. But eating that same soy in the shape of  ersatz burgers can not be the solution to solve the soy bean issue)

Nothing against vegetarians. I think they’re cool! But it is a first world thing. Only in few parts of the world people are vegetarian (agreed, India is huge, but vegetarianism is part of a religion there, not part of a free individual choice.)IMG_2046

So, my plea: less meat!  But either small portions daily (Like in Asian cuisine) or once or twice per week a nice piece of red meat and sometimes some fish or poultry, and  why not insects for that matter? But at the same time, let’s ban junk meat. The rubbish you find on pizza toppings, and other types of junk food is really a disgrace to the life of the animals who have been killed to provide it. There are multiple ways to respect life. Not all of them are vegan.