Welcome to the first of my chat box blog series, in this series I will be posting on topics with people whose values are inline with my own. I want an interesting variety in these blogs so you can gain an insight into the lifestyle choices people make. Hopefully one of these blogs resonates with you and inspires a healthy positive change to your lifestyle.
My first guest post is with my dear friend Sarah, who I’ve been friend’s with for years. Sarah worked in marketing when I first met her, but her passion lies in creating a more sustainable planet and she has gone on to study Environmental Management. Her focus is on how to build resilient communities and businesses to combat climate change. Sarah has fantastic energy (I couldn’t keep up with her on a few of our holidays and that’s saying something), she kooky, fashionable, smart and one of my dearest friend’s. Even though she has now moved back to Australia she can still be part of my community here and will be contributing a few articles in her area of expertise. For now here is a bit of background on her lifestyle and what made her turn from being a vegetarian to becoming kangatarian.
What is a Kangatarian?
I’ve tried without success to remember when I first heard the term kangatarian. I think it was after I made the choice of introducing only kangaroo into my meat eating diet. A kangatarian refrains from eating all meat except kangaroo on the grounds of it being environmentally sustainable. Eating only kangaroo meat makes me feel great for many reasons. Farming native species is one of the best ways to protect the Australia (and the world’s) environment for future generations. It costs the Australian environment nothing to produce kangaroo meat. Kangaroos live off the land and have evolved to survive for long-periods with limited water consumption. Greenpeace has also suggests that eating kangaroos can cut Australia’s GHG emissions. Farmed kangaroos also live a natural life up until their death. In addition to a Kangaroo’s impeccable green credentials, its meat is high in iron, holds only 2% fat compared with 6% in beef and is virtually free of chemicals associated with domestic cattle stock.
Switching from being a vegetarian to a kangatarian is the best decision I’ve made for the environment and my health. I am living by my values through being able to tread lightly on the planet as well as eating a diet that ensures I get all the necessary nutrients I need.
Why did you become a Kangatarian?
I must admit to you, I like the taste of beef. I even like the scent of cow leather. Its natural, yet sensual notes have the uncanny ability to marry butch with elegance. However there are a few things that I don’t really like about cows, but I will talk more about that later on. I became a vegetarian around June 2009. It was a choice I made after an incident that involved a London restaurant and a suckling pig.
At times being a vegetarian has it perks, like getting fed first on long-hall flights because of your “special” dietary requirements, spending wonderful evenings in the kitchen with family and friends cooking new herb and spice infused vegetarian dishes and saving money when you are out to dinner because, on most occasions, eating vego meals are cheaper! However with all the good times, there are challenging times. For me, there is a constant worry, “I’m not eating enough iron!!” This is a concern for me. I am a woman, living a busy life and I probably don’t eat as many greens or other iron-packed vegetarian foods as I should. Low iron levels hits me hard and fast.
In 2011 I decided something had to be done. I needed to find an easy way to keep my iron and protein levels high without going back to eating cows (or pigs!) because as I mentioned earlier, cows and I don’t really get along. I want to reduce my ecological footprint on the planet and eating beef does not fit with my sustainability values. I live in Australia where the beef industry has been our bread and butter, but also our land’s curse. Livestock, including beef account for 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas (climate change!!!) and 90% of grazing pressures. You see, raring cattle require massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water. Cattle grazing create many environmental issues that degrades Australia’s natural environment, including habitat loss (clearing trees to create cattle feeding grounds), surface soil loss (clearing trees!) and soil and water quality (from cattle’s by-products).
Additionally, the UN water organisation released a report that highlights the production of 1 kg of beefs uses 15,000 Liters of water – mostly indirectly from irrigation and, hay and grain for use in beef production. This statistic seriously concerns me, because water in Australia is a very precious resource. Across the continent, many communities are constantly experiencing drought and most people don’t realise that nearly 20% of the mainland is uninhabitable because it being desert.
A thick and tasty kangaroo dish from me to you
The Kangatarian Stew (from macro meats)
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 2kg Kangaroo, cubed (any cut needing long, slow cooking)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 medium Onions, chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Carrots, sliced thick
- 16 Chat (baby coliban) Potatoes, halved
- 6 Brussel Sprouts, halved
- Handful of Button Mushrooms, halved
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 750ml Chicken Stock
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (if available)
- Cracked Pepper
In a stockpot or casserole dish, quickly brown kangaroo cubes in a little oil and set aside (you may need to do this in batches). Use remaining oil, fry onions and garlic – cover with the lid and allow to sweat for 3 minutes.
Return the kangaroo cubes along with the flour and stir through. Add stock, bay leaves and thyme. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Add the remaining vegetables and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally for a further 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with pepper.
Serve with rice or crusty bread.
Sarah’s Top Kangatarian Cooking Tips
Firstly, I suggest that you only cook this dish in Australia as it really defeats the purpose of eating kangaroo meat for environmental reasons (one must consider food miles and the ever increasing carbon footprint we all contribute too). So if you’re only visiting Brisbane in Australia, I suggest you eat Kangaroo meat at Tukka Restaurant. Secondly, many people are reluctant to try kangaroo, because they are so cute and “it’s Skippy the bush kangaroo!”, however if you cook this meal (or eat at Tukka) you will appease and maybe even impress the most unwilling participant’s. Our association with food is important as it makes us appreciate our food, in todays society with everything packaged in a colourful bag and wrapped in plastic, we can forget where it came from (a living creature), over indulge and not be thankful that an animal has given up it’s life for us and that the meal is something to be honoured and cherished.
Thanks Sarah for taking the time to be part of my chat box series and sharing your thoughts on your kangatarian lifestyle. Readers if you have any further questions for Sarah please add a comment below and Sarah will happily answer. I can’t wait for her next installment! Stay tuned peeps…