“And I don’t eat meat cause I’m a veterinarian,” sayeth a ditzy blonde on what I recall being a teaser ad for HBO in the late 80s. Back then I was just beginning my conscious eating quest. I remember taking a bite of hamburger at age 12 and thinking, “I don’t ever need to eat this again.”…but I wasn’t exactly sure why.
Fast forward twenty plus years – I’ve gone in-and-out of veganism, vegetarianism (even spent some time as a pescetarian), sought out organic snack crackers in place of conventionally grown strawberries because of pesticide levels (not necessarily recommending this, by the way) and played host to a smorgasbord of food fads. Nowadays, I’ve settled into healthier (and more sustainable) eating habits: a focus on seasonal whole foods — primarily fruits and veggies — plus whole grains. And when I consume treats, I try to opt for those of a home-made variety. Oddly enough, what’s better for my body is better for the planet.
Michael Pollan (who is responsible for helping me find my food path) sums it up best: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. And of course we assume what we’re eating is food, right? But when you think F-O-O- D, do the words “xanthan gum” and “maltodextrin” come to mind? Not exactly ingredients one usually finds in a pantry, eh?
So for this month’s challenge, I thought we’d focus on the “mostly plants” portion of Pollan’s addage (Michelle Obama would be so proud!). Fortunately, it’s harvest time and fresh local produce is readily available in abundance – so coming by plants is not a problem. And while it’s easy to just put more veggies on the plate, substituting some carrots for say, filet mignon can often be a bit of a challenge if you’re surround by people who are used to the mantra, “Meat – it’s what’s for dinner.”
So how do you get your family onboard for adopting less animal in their menu? Welcome to the table Meatless Mondays!
With a goal to help reduce meat consumption by 15% “Meatles Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health,” in order to improve personal health and health of the planet.
That’s right friends, I’m not asking you to become a vegetarian (or veternarian for that matter). But starting the week off with the intent of consuming less meat is great for habit-forming and for the environment.
Check out the Meatless Monday website for links to more background information, recipes and history on the Meatless Monday tradition (I was surprised to learn the movement started during World War I to aid the war effort!) There’s also cool toolkits to get started and spread the Meatless Monday love.
I think we’ll be devouring vegetarian lasagna to start our week; what’s your meal-plan for Monday?