Inspired by more dedicated friends, I’m really trying to cut down on meat and am currently sampling all sorts of tasty and, genuinely very satisfying, veggie alternatives.
From jackfruit curry to vegan sausages, there are plenty of hearty cruelty-free options out there to warm a carnivore’s tum during this unreasonably cold and long January. I for one am having fun trying them out, although I admittedly did opt for chicken instead of quorn in my homemade curry last night.
I’ve been a meat eater all my life, having grown up with fond memories of Lancashire hotpot and roast dinners. It’s going to be difficult to kick mealtime habits and traditions which are so deeply entrenched in my psyche.
Much like smoking or alcohol, it can take a huge amount of willpower to stop craving the taste of meat, with some even likening it to an addiction.
Interestingly, it could well be that meat is harder to give up than many vices, with a new study finding one-third of Brits (28%) would go as far as to describe themselves as a ‘meat-a-holic’. This rises to 37% amongst Londoners.
According to a recent OnePoll study of 2,000 adults, meat is harder to give up than cigarettes or booze, with one in six (17.5%) British adults – over nine million Brits – regarding giving up meat to be tougher than giving up ciggies (15.2%) or drink (15.1%).
Indeed, one-third (33%) say they are unable to get through the day without meat, whilst one in ten (11%) admit to chowing down some meat with every meal.
This temptation is present despite growing awareness of the many benefits of vegetarianism and veganism, with over one-third (36%) of Brits now experiencing guilt after munching down a burger or a bacon butty.
Plenty of people would be interested in cutting out animal products from their plate, but the struggle can be just way too intense for many. Nearly one in three (27%) will struggle to resist temptation when faced with their fave fast food, restaurant option or their family enjoying meaty meals.
According to this survey, 43% of respondents revealed they wanted to reduce their meat consumption, but a similar number (40%) confessed they would find it tricky to quit their carnivorous ways in favour of a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Of course, with other habits such as smoking, you can invest in products such as patches or gum to keep you on the straight and narrow. And perhaps a similar product could prove effective when give meat products the heave-ho.
Plant-based food brand, Strong Roots – who commissioned the OnePoll study – have devised the world’s first ‘meat patch’, inspired by nicotine patches.
Backed by University of Oxford based sensory expert Professor Charles Spence, the meat patch has been infused with a bacon scent and can be scratched and sniffed to nip carnivorous cravings in the bud.
Professor Spence, who wrote the book Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating, said:
Studies have shown that scent can reduce food cravings. Our sense of smell is strongly connected to our ability to taste therefore experiencing food related cues such as smelling a bacon aroma, can lead us to imagine the act of eating that food. Imagine eating enough bacon and you might find yourself sated.
Professor Spence continued:
Most of what we think we taste, we really smell. In fact, scientists often suggest that as much as 75-
95% of what we think we taste (gustation) is actually delivered from smell (retronasal olfaction).1 The
meaty, herbal, fruity, creamy, all that we love about food is really delivered by our sense of smell.
The growing realization of just what a central role smell plays in our experience of food and drink is
leading everyone from world-leading chefs to food producers to change the way they think
about/deliver food experiences.
The idea that we can satiate at least some of our food cravings through scent originates back in the 1930s. At that time, the Italian Futurists already had the idea of creating a dish and passing it under the guests’ noses before being returned to the kitchen uneaten.
The suggestion here was that a certain part of our craving/appetite could be satisfied simply by
delivering the aroma of our favourite foods. The same notion is also occasionally recommended by
dieters in recent years. One baker claiming that they shed 7 stones simply by smelling (but crucially
not eating) the cakes that they baked.
CEO & Founder of Strong Roots, Samuel Dennigan, said:
It’s Veganuary and we know that more people than ever are trying to adopt a plant-based lifestyle this year.
However, the research shows just how many of them struggle with their resolution, so we wanted to offer a helping hand, and have developed the world’s first ever ‘meat-patch’. We hope it goes some way to supporting all the meata-holics out there.
At the time of writing, this patch is just a prototype, intended to spark a national conversation about how widespread meat addiction truly is, and the challenges which can arise when trying to cut down.
Offering advice to UNILAD readers who might be struggling to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet, a Strong Roots representative said:
The patch is something we tried to create as a solution because it’s so hard and there isn’t a huge amount of help out there for those trying to cut down.
Other than this, for Strong Roots, it was about creating product that is actually tasty yet didn’t contain mean so having a viable alternative to meat actually helps people not feel so bad about giving it up.
If you’re intrigued in the science behind the ‘meat patch’, Strong Roots will be distributing them at locations in London, Liverpool, Leeds and St Albans from January 25. For a full list of dates and locations, visit @StrongRootsUK on Instagram
Find out more about where you can get your hands on a patch here