I promise not to go all PETA on you. I hate those guys. They give vegetarians a bad name. I believe in living by example not bludgeoning people over the head with my beliefs. (wow, that sounds kind of philosophical and deep. Me? Deep? Yeah, right.)
I'll list the reasons why I have been such a huge activist for Meatless Monday.
1. It is healthier. Eating less meat cuts a ton of fat and calories from your diet. (When I say ton I don't mean the actual weight but that may be the case depending on how much meat you eat. Just call it a vague measure of weight.) It may reduce your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. I can personally say that eating a meatless diet has reduced my migraine headaches. Yes, you can get plenty of iron and protein on a low meat diet. Notice I didn't say meatless. I don't expect it of JR and the Boys why should I expect you to change your whole life.
2. It is better for the environment. By eating less meat you can reduce your carbon footprint. So is using cloth napkins but that is another post for another time.
- The United Nations estimates that the meat industry generates nearly 1/5 of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions.*
- Watering needs of livestock is huge compared to those of vegetable needs. It takes 8 times more water to raise a single pound of beef then to grow the same amount of tofu. (I know tofu ewwwwww.....but have you looked at some of the pre-packaged food you eat? Yep, it has soy in it. Deal with it).
- Reduces dependence on fossil fuel. 38. That is how many more calories of fuel energy goes into producing a calorie of beef compared to a calorie of plant-based protein.
You know all the good things about cutting meat from your diet but how do you do that with dedicated meat eaters. They can be a surly bunch if you just make a straight on declaration. Separate a man from his meat and he may go all CATTLE on your ass.
Here are a couple of strategies:
1. Cut the amount of meat that you use at every meal. When a recipe calls for a pound of meat use a half a pound. If you feel the need to bulk up your meal replace with a can of beans. This is the way we started out. Why did I chose this route? I'm cheap and it was easy. Does that make me cheap and easy?
2. Cut out meat from one meal a day every day. Start small. No one will notice that they don't have any meat with their breakfast or lunch. Then cut out a couple of dinners a week. Then cut out meat for one full day. You see the progression. Pretty soon, before you know it you're feeding your family a couple of meatless days or more a week and your grocery bill has dropped.
3. Make your meatless choices so good your family would rather eat them then a meat version. JR had no meat yesterday and he didn't miss it. Why? Because our meals were so good. Granted we don't eat like this everyday but on weekends I go all out.
Here is our Sunday menu:
- Breakfast: soft herb, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese scrambled eggs over toasted whole grain baguette (from the night before. Point for me for using leftovers),
- Lunch: smoked avocado and bean salad on a bed of shredded cabbage,
- Dinner: roasted garlic and onion, feta, and sun-dried tomato pizza on rosemary Parmesan crust.
4. Be trendy. Ghent, Belgium, the Baltimore Schools, Michael Pollan, and the Huffington Post along with many others are talking about and going meatless one day a week. Okay, this is a totally bogus reason to go meatless I just wanted you to think I was one of the cool kids. I'm needy like that.
If you want to eat less meat I hope these tips come in handy. If you need help please don't hesitate to email me. I'll help out wherever and however I can.
Okay, this cheap, easy, and lazy environmental minimalist is out of here. Have a great Martin Luther King day.