I don't eat much meat, maybe only a few times per month. I have developed some simple yet pretty high standards for animal products: ethical and nothing-added. And no pig. In the process, I've become quite adventurous in the kitchen and have learned some pretty amazing recipes, including my all-time fave Meatless Meatballs. Heaven.
Switching to a veggie diet can be a daunting task so starting small can help. Enter Meatless Mondays. Probably due to my veggie-loving influence, we've been meatless weekdays (Dan's idea, believe it or not) for about 6 months, but even he started out small and it grew from there. When asked how he feels from then to now, here's what I got: "Definitely better. Less logey." The latest addition is the morning smoothie (thank you, dear Vitamix) and I can't wait to tell you about that later. What a wonderful guinea pig.
Here's why a meatless day might be a good addition to your schedule.
1. Health Benefits. From reduced cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer risks to reduced all-cause mortality, there's a fair body of evidence showing the benefits of a more plant-based diet. Now, whether or not going veggie one day a week will provide drastic results is hard to say, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. It's all part of adopting healthier habits and a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, it probably won't undo the Big Mac you had yesterday.
2. Gets you exercising your culinary cleverness. Who knew you could make meatballs with walnuts or gooey nacho cheese sauce with potatoes and carrots? Tempeh is a great meaty substitute, or try seitan if you're okay with gluten. Invest in a nice and thick vegan or vegetarian cookbook to give you ideas you never new existed. There's tons of ideas out there. I even made fake ribs the other day which were meat-lover approved! What?!
3. Your children and children's children will thank you. The environmental impact of raising factory-farmed animal sources is huge. Sustainable veggie diets can reduce nitrogen footprints by a substantial amount, though dwarfed by pollution, industry, etc. But still, it's something.
4. You'll get to go on vacation sooner and more often. Beans, lentils, quinoa, millet, brown rice, barley, and chickpeas: all mainstays in our kitchen. I probably spend about $60 every 6 months at the bulk store stocking up on these staples. Yes, you read that right. Fresh veggies are, of course, stocked more frequently but you get the idea of the savings. Much cheaper than what our future medications would cost.