For my second 30 day challenge I decided to tackle my unfortunate meat-etarian diet. Inspired by the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma as well as a recent rounding of my belly area (a symptom of having a boyfriend who can whip up 5 star meals at a whim) I figured it was a good time to give meatless meals another try.
This was not the first time I had experimented with vegetarianism. I had tried once durring my ‘get out and protest’ phase at the age of 15. I had managed to stay off meat for 6 months before the alluring smell of sizzling bacon one morning beat out my desire to feel in-group and superior.
Later on, after moving out of the house and reading Fast Food Nation, I tried to go veg again. But working full time while trying to jumpstart my career in entertainment left little time to plan or make nutritional meat-less meals. As a result I would often skip meals or rely on cheese whiz and ichiban (early bachelorette staples I now avoid). After 6 month I looked ill and my hair was beginning to thin out. I returned reluctantly to eating meat. It was much easier, with options like deli meat and frozen dinners, to maintain the very basics of nutrition.
Since that negative experience things have changed. I have more free time now, and a much better understanding of basic cooking and proper diet. I am in a much better place to explore vegetarianism again and am excited to get started with this month’s challenge.
Why Go Meat-less?
When ever someone catches you avoiding the meat dishes on a menu they usually ask “Are you vegetarian? Why? Are you an animal activist or is it a diet thing?”
As much as I like the ideas of being nice to cute piggies and cows, it is not the motivating force behind why I want to stop eating meat. The environmental impact of our over-consumption of beef, pork and poultry is staggering and the impact on our national health is equally bad.
Bacon or sausage with breakfast, deli meat at lunch, and steak, burgers or a roast with dinner, our meals revolve around meat. The majority of North Americans consume 1/2 pound of meat a day, 7 times the recommended daily amount. I experienced this first hand. Born in northern Saskatchewan where pork abounds, and raised in Alberta on Alberta Beef, meat has been the central part of every meal.
Some Data To Consider
- It takes an average of 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein where as it takes 1 calories of fossil for 1 calorie of soybeans.
- It takes 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein.
- The methane produced by cattle is 20X more poisonous that C02.
These stats made me realize that the environmental impact of my lunch was not worth the momentary pleasure.
How I plan to explore this challenge:
- Re-read the Omnivore’s Dilemma & Fast Food Nation
- Research and explore issues around vegetarianism, vegan-ism, the whole and the organic food movement
- Challenge myself to cook a variety of interesting vegetarian recipes
- Practice self control
- Make an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables
Resources for this article:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma