Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cauliflower, Sweet and Sour, Half An Hour*

This may not be a popular way to reduce our consumption and waste, but it’s time to talk about it.

Eat less meat.

Wait! Don’t go! I promise it’s not that bad. You can totally eat delicious food without eating meat every meal. We are both vegetarians, but anyone who chooses to eat less meat really helps.

Here’s my story (it’s not easy to relate to. I’ve never liked meat. Talk to Mike, re: Trying to eat less meat when you love it): Meat was gross to me unless it was super thin lunch meat or salami and pepperoni. My dad told me I couldn’t be a vegetarian in high school because I wouldn’t get enough protein. So I’d eat two bites of meat when we had it for dinner. But my family isn’t big on meat; our entire family of seven would have two or three chicken breasts for dinner. No joke. Though my mom did like to sneak tofu into everything from milkshakes to lasagna to pancakes. The idea of meat was kind of gross to me, something that was confirmed the first time I tried to cook chicken (the tendons! Oh the tendons! or whatever those stringy things are!) The turning point from disliking meat to really avoiding it came when I mentioned to my dad that I didn’t like meat because it “feels like I’m chewing on flesh.” To which he responded, “Well…You are.”

So I avoided meat my first year and a half of college, when I started researching vegetarianism. I never wanted to “declare” myself one simply because I didn’t want to cause problems. I’m indecisive, noncommittal, and a people pleaser. You make waves when you tell people you’re a vegetarian. People get really defensive. They don’t understand how you can LIVE without MEAT!? Your grandma claims she doesn’t know what to cook for you without meat.

I couldn’t ignore the evidence; a healthy vegetarian diet had health benefits, was better for the environment, and was nicer for animals. (Let’s get this clear – I’m not an animal rights activist. At ALL. PETA is too crazy for me. But factory farms are nasty, nasty, NASTY! Research them.)

So about two and a half years ago, I took the plunge. Let’s talk about how eating less meat (I’m not trying to make everyone vegetarians, don’t worry) can help the environment:

• No deforestation for cattle to graze.
• Animal waste is a huge source of greenhouse gases (there’s more poop than we know what to do with!)
• Meat is inefficient – it takes tons more energy to get one pound of meat than one pound of grain.
• Meat and Poverty: Just a quick note – meat production uses about 44% of the world’s grain production. While people are going hungry, we’re using grains to feed our meat. Make sense?

Try eating one or two meals a week without meat – any little bit helps.

Meals without meat aren’t deprivation. We’re not fancy around here, mostly because I don’t get home until 8pm and our oven is the size of a breadbox. We eat lots of beans, whole wheat tortillas, some cheese, almonds, whole wheat pasta with homemade pesto or spaghetti sauce, pizza, cous cous with beans and veggies, smoothies, veggie burger stir fry, Indian food, salads, veggie corn dogs…I’m getting hungry!

*My apologies if VeggieTales annoys the beejeezus out of you. :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm working my way towards being a vegetarian, but not vegan. I will not give up dairy. I haven't eaten red meat for several years, and no pork since February of this year. I went completely veggie for several months, and then started craving more protein than I was getting, so I do eat chicken and turkey once in awhile, but would eventually like to stop. What I have trouble with is getting used to new recipes and finding menu items in restaurants that I can eat that don't contain meat as a main ingredient. :-(


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