Monday, January 18, 2010

Go Meatless Monday! Some easy strategies for going meatless one day a week.

As you all know I have been a huge fan of the Meatless Monday gang. Not because I want all of you to turn to the dark side (as JR calls it.). Sure, it would be nice. If everyone went meatless then it would be easier for me to eat while traveling. (you know it is all about me.) But don't get me started on that one. Traveling + vegetarian = starving.

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.
3. It's cheaper. I really should have made this number 2. I'm much more cheap than I am environmentally friendly. A pound of dried beans costs .99 cent per pound at my local store. One pound of dried beans is about 2 cups dry. A typical recipe calls for 1 cup dry. That's .50 cents a meal. A 14.5 ounces can will set you back about .80 cents but I've been known to load up when they go on sale for .55 cent. I doubt if you can get meat for .50 cents a meal.

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.
See why he doesn't mind going meatless? Don't you want to come to my house for the weekend?

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.



  1. I was a semi veggie (ate milk products and seafood) for nine years. Then I met hubs. The original carnivorous caveman.

    Son and Hubs crave meat. Daughter and I not so much. I try to limit my meat intake to 3 X a week.

    Great post.

  2. I used the, "I didn't want to make two separate meals." It worked hubby has been meat-free for 15 years now! You really do lose your taste for it.

    Happy Meatless Monday!

  3. Like Pseudo, I live with carnivorous males. I'm afraid if I cut meat out of The Young One's diet he wouldn't eat at all. For those would say "My kids eat whatever I put in front of them or they don't eat!" I mean this literally - he will choose to go hungry rather than eat something he does not like (the one remaining pervasive symptom of Asperger's Syndrome). The kid is 5'9" and probably weighs 115 pounds soaking wet.


  4. Thanks for visiting my blog. I do certain things to reduce my carbon print, mostly recycling.

    Although no meatless days =, far less because I am dieting .. 3 oz is a playing card size in beef, mayvbe less.

  5. I realized I have made progress-meaning boys do not complain much anymore- with meatless meals. (My sis did tho. Oh well!)

  6. Thanks for vsiting my blog. as a native Texas vegetarianism is not natureal for me. However, in my old age I eat much smaller amounts of meat of every variety. I've learned from years of WW off and on, 3 oz of meat is the size of a normal playing card or less.

    Unfortunately, I am anemic and must eat some meat. I am trying to convert my husband to liver as you can really increased your hemoglobin fast with one or two servings a week. Iron pills are not cutting it. Spinach is off limits due to Coumadin. When you get old things get very complicated.

    STAY HEALTHY AS LONG AS POSSIBLE and it looks like you are trying to do just that.

    Again, thanks for visiting.

  7. Yes, actually I do want to come to your house for the weekend!

  8. I have finally talked my family into trying the Daniel Fast (no meat products, no preservatives, no caffine etc) for one week as a detox type of thing. If I can show HB that a meatless meal tastes just as good he may be more agreeable to less meat in our diet.

  9. You know it's weird. While I consider myself a seriously carnivorous Texan at heart, we seldom eat red meat. I'd say we go veggie at least twice a week. I don't know if it's the "living in California" influence, but I've just started cooking a lot of grains and legumes. It's so much easier now that foods like that are so much more readily available.

  10. Despite all my jokes about your meatless Monday, I really don't eat all that much meat anymore. I married into an Asian family and for them (huge generalization, I realize) a single serving of meat goes a lot farther than it would for the average North American. And tofu is good, you just need to know how to cook it.

  11. You can have my bacon when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Cheers Michele!!