19/05/2014 09:45 BST | Updated 19/07/2014 06:59 BST

Happy National Vegetarian Week - Can You Do a Meatless Week?

Here at Sian's Plan we always like to plan one or two meatless main meals a week. But could we go without meat for a full week and more importantly should we? There's no better time to challenge ourselves as this week, 19 - 25 May 2014, is National Vegetarian Week.

Did you know that there are now new types of vegetarianism with any one being a good reason for a meatless diet or at the very least reducing the amount of meat we consume.

Health Vegetarianism

Research carried out by found that vegetarians are on average 10 - 20 lbs lighter than meat eaters, have a healthier heart and live up 7 years longer. Meat eaters can blame saturated fat for increased heart problems. If you don't want to give meat up altogether, be aware that the evidence points to reducing the consumption of red meat and processed meats like sausages and ham etc. So reach for the chicken or turkey breasts as a healthier option.

Animal Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism has a long history dating back to Ancient Greece and India, where people gave up eating meat and fish for ethical and religious reasons.

Don't get me wrong here, if you eat meat, it doesn't mean that you don't care about the welfare of livestock. However, it is important to know that sometimes there are unscrupulous parties along the food chain, who put profits before animal welfare.

At Sian's Plan we believe that all keepers of animals have a duty of care and hate any form of cruelty to animals. Check out this the 'Compassion in World Farming' website to help you purchase meat with 'best farming practices' and if that doesn't work, perhaps you should think about becoming a vegetarian.

Social Vegetarianism

Alarmingly, approximately 20 times more land is required for a meat diet compared to a simple diet of rice, beans and vegetables. It has even been suggested that all the grain grown for livestock in the western world could feed at least twice the amount of people we feed now. And with the number of people in the world to grow to 8 billion in the next 10 years, eating less meat could be part of the solution in ensuring that there will be enough food for all.

Environmental Vegetarianism

Food Climate Research Network reports that UK meat and dairy consumption was responsible for 8% of the country's total gas house emissions, which affect the rainwater cycle. Water, a scarce resource in many countries, is required in excessive amounts for feeding and rearing livestock. 0.5kg beef needs around 9,000 litres (20,000lbs) water whilst 0.5kg wheat requires just 49 litres(108lb) water to produce. Reducing your meat intake can help the environment.

Economic Vegetarianism

If the above reasons aren't convincing you to change your eating habits for a week, how about saving money on your week's groceries. 1b of beef costs approximately £6.00 to buy, while 1b brown rice costs 80 pence and 10 eggs cost £2.20 (Tesco Online). And think of all those delicious new recipes you can try out. I'm already deciding how to spend the money I save on groceries this week.

Let me know how you get on!