You know I’m a vegetarian and proud of it. So I want to take a moment to share with you WHY and HOW to eat a little less meat…
10 Reasons to Eat Less Meat!
- Skinny Girl: It’s easier to lose weight and stay thin when you’re eating beans, whole grains, and produce instead of filling up that plate with meat! (If, however, you eat cheese fries daily – you will NOT enjoy these benefits. FYI.) (source)
- Bonus! Vegetarians enjoy lower rates of heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, prostate and colon cancer; and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than our carnivore counterparts. Heck yes. (source)
- Money: It’s always in short supply in our little apartment (and our little pocketbooks. ha.) Buying beans, rice, and pasta in bulk is cheap. Get some fresh produce from the farmer’s market and VOILA! Several meals on the cheap. Meat? It’s expensive stuff. Unless you get meat in a can. (Which? Eww. Don’t.)
- Animals have rights, too! I don’t want to get into this too much, since I’m oh-so-not PETA. But, seriously, why treat a dog with dignity but shove cows, chickens, and pigs into pens where they get less than a square foot of space? I don’t want to gross you out, but there’s some insane things that happen on factory farms (debeaking, killing conscious animals…okay, I’ll stop.) I don’t want to be a sensationalist, but something we’d rather not know. And it’s my job to force you to know. :) Haha. (source)
- Variety is the Spice of A Veggie Meal: If you’re creative in the kitchen, you’ll enjoy the variety of creating a meatless meal. No more daily turkey sandwiches or settling for a meat-and-potatoes dinner.
- Feed people not [just] animals!: Most of the world’s grain goes to feed animals, not people. There would be plenty of grain for everyone if we actually ate it as food and didn’t use it to make meat. (source)
- Heal the World: (Does everyone else think of Free Willy? I start to sway and imagine MJ singing…) Factory farms and meat-rearing are bad for the environment. Plain and simple. Manure, hormones, and antibiotics seep into our drinking water, which is just completely nasty. Plus, the expanding market for meat (i.e. China and India becoming more wealthy, and the US’s insatiable appetite for all things meaty…) means more forest is being cut down to allow for cattle grazing. (source)
- Number Two: Worldwide agriculture, especially livestock production, accounts for a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions. The farts and poop our meat emits is a HUGE source of methane in the environment. How gross is that?? (source) (Also check out Callina’s post about it.)
- Stop Whining About “Getting Enough Protein”: This is probably the number one question I get about my meatless-ness. I want to take this moment to scream from rooftops: “YOU DON’T NEED ALL THAT PROTEEEEEIIN!” There, I feel much better. Honestly, though, I need 36 grams a day: That’s a bowl of oatmeal, some peanut butter, and a cup of beans. Most Americans get far more protein than they need. The cattle industry has created this vague fear in people of “Protein Deficiency.” Resist! Don’t believe it! (And do NOT ask your friendly, neighborhood veg*n about their protein habits. Seriously, now.) (Check out Crystal’s hilarious, insightful post on the matter.)
- All the cool people are doing (or…did) it: You’ll be in good company with these amazing individuals: Susan B. Anthony, Bob Barker, Stan & Jan Beranstien (!!), David Bowie, Tracy Chapman, Chelsea Clinton, Ellen DeGeneras, Anne Hathaway, Bob Dylan, Louis May Alcott, Dennis Kucinich (bwhahaha… I love that little adorable elfin man!)
Whew! I’m feeling kind of feisty now – talking about factory farming does that to me. Let’s switch gears and talk about something that’s totally awesome instead of something that totally sucks: Yummy, delicious, wonderful FOOOOOD. I love to eat. Love it. I would eat 24/7 if I could.
10 Meal Ideas to Eat Less Meat!
- Ole! Substitute beans for meat in any Mexican dish. My personal favorite: Slather a tortilla with refried beans, sprinkle on some cheese and corn. Cook like a quesadilla and serve with salsa. Yum.
- Pasta: Add tomato sauce, pesto, beans, sauteed veggies, or meatless meatballs (oxymoron, what?) to pasta.
- Stir fry: Stir fry veggies (tofu optional) in olive oil and soy sauce, then serve over cooked rice. So fast. Amazing.
- Comfort Food with a Twist: Macaroni and cheese + salsa + beans = quick and easy, heavenly dinner. Amazing. (I try to avoid prepackaged food, but sometimes, you’re just in a rush!)
- Pizza – A Tummy’s Best Friend: Get a loaded-veggie pizza – either homemade, frozen, or at a restaurant.
- New Foodie Blog! My best friend Eileen just (as in…today) started a blog about veg*n cooking – check it out! And leave her some comment love :)
- Get Yer Greens: The possibilities are endless with salad. Start with a basic salad and add some yummy veggies, a little shredded cheese, some sliced almonds, dried cranberries, homemade salad dressing and in no time, you have a filling, healthy meal! (Bonus! Trader Joe’s masala burgers are divine on top of a good salad.)
- Cafeteria Memories: I love eating grilled cheese and soup, dipping the crispy, melty sandwich into a cup of soup reminds me of being a kid. Mmmm.
- You Say Potato: Baked with beans, salsa, and cheese on top, mashed, or broiled into healthy fries – this is a great addition to any meal. If a salad for dinner doesn’t quite satisfy you, try adding some homemade baked potato chips. Easy and delicious!
- When All Else Fails: Peanut butter and jelly. If you want to pretend like it’s a gourmet meal, pop it in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. Toasted pb&j! (My dad is SOOO not a cook – this was his go-to meal for when my mom wasn’t home. It makes me smile how excited we got about toasted pb&j.)
Any favorite meat-free meals or foods you enjoy? I love talking about food!