Ease up on the meat
Meat is the most resource-intensive food on the table and eating less of it can be the single most green move a person makes. Producing meat requires huge amounts of water, grain, land, and other inputs including hormones and antibiotics, and leads to pollution of soil, air, and water. A pound of beef requires around 12,000 gallons of water to produce, compared to 60 gallons for a pound of potatoes. If you’re a meat eater, for starters, try cutting out a serving of meat each week.So why are we not eating meat this month? We've tried this before and always ended up coming back to meat, or at least fish, once a week or more. We reduced the amount of meat we consumed for a while, and I actually lost the taste for steak, but lately we've been going back to our old ways and eating chicken, pork, and event steak regularly. It just becomes easier to grill some meat and steam some vegetables and call it a night. This makes for very boring meals of the same stuff week after week. We've been meaning to give this a real shot for a while--it's even on my 101 things list--then Jason watched Food, Inc. and didn't want to eat meat for a while, so no better time like the present.
It's been almost 2 weeks of eating only vegetarian meals, and I don't miss meat at all. At the beginning of the month, I said we'd eat fish if we had to, but we haven't feel the need yet. So what's different this time? I like beans now! lol My biggest hurdle before was getting enough protein to sustain my level of activity. Since I did not like beans, and don't care much for tofu, my options were very limited. There is only so much pasta and stir fry I can eat. But now with the addition of beans and grains, such as the amazing quinoa, the possibilities are endless.
Another hurdle was all the extra planning that cooking vegetarian meals would entail since I didn't know enough to just throw something together. Not being familiar with many of these ingredients, it was difficult to know if I'd like a recipe and I hate wasting cooking time on something I won't like. Well, I convinced Jason to be the cook for this month too, so that solved the problem. He is way more patient and willing to take risk than I am, so I'm ok with letting him experiment for the month. I stocked up on canned soups just in case he made something I really didn't like, but I have not needed to resort to that yet. Oh yeah, I like soups now too.
So if I'm not doing this to be green, what do I hope to get out of it? For me, this is an experiment in variety. It's allowing us to explore some new foods we wouldn't otherwise try, and I've got to say that our diet has seen more variety these past 2 weeks than I usually get all year! lol Here's some of the delicious meals we've tried so far:
I'm not sure if we'll eat vegetarian forever, but I can certainly see this extending well past April. If we do add back meat, it will be only occasionally, mostly chicken and fish, and we'll make better choices about where they come from.