Foray into Vegetarianism

One of my New Year’s resolutions has been to eat less meat. For me, it’s an environmental issue far more than an ethical or health one. I’ve been strongly influenced by recent articles and studies on the global temperature being affected by animal agriculture and documentaries such as Cowspiracy (watch it on Netflix) that explain how reducing and/or eliminating meat is the single most effective thing one can do to decrease one’s carbon footprint. The evidence is there, even if it isn’t what I want to hear.

At first I thought I’d go full-out vegetarian, but then I realized that would be far too much of a shock to my body, my family, my cooking habits, and my insistence on eating whatever is served to me wherever I go. (That last point is something I’ll never be able to let go. I believe too strongly in accepting hospitality graciously at all times, even if it isn’t what I’d choose on my own.) Then there’s the freezer-full of locally raised, grass-fed lamb and pork that I couldn’t ignore. I’ve settled on significant reduction (meat only twice a week) and so far it’s going well.

The family doesn’t mind. Even Jason, my body-building-protein-addict husband, says he hasn’t noticed a difference. I make a point of incorporating protein into every meal – beans, lentils, tofu, sprouted mung beans, paneer, eggs, etc.

Interestingly, the further I move away from meat, the less appealing it is. The impossible happened this morning when I came downstairs, smelled the bacon Jason was cooking for breakfast, and felt repulsed. The kitchen smelled disgustingly animal-like, and I had to open a window to stop from gagging. Bacon!! I used to love bacon!

I’ve gotten several new cookbooks out of the library, which helps immensely when it comes to figuring out dinner. I’d heard a lot about Ottolenghi, the Middle Eastern-inspired cookbook named after a famous restaurant in London, but hadn’t actually used it until recently. Even though it contains meat recipes, there’s a wonderful focus on vegetables that most conventional cookbooks don’t have. I’ve made lots of delicious things, including a delicious version of Egyption kosherie – one of my favourite lentil dishes. I also love Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat.

kosherie

It’s an ongoing challenge. Every day I face the question of what to make for dinner and it always takes greater planning than simply thawing out a package of sausage or chicken. Slowly but surely, I’m building up a bigger and better repertoire of vegetarian mains. Hopefully it becomes easier over time.

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5 thoughts on “Foray into Vegetarianism

  1. Try Ottolenghi’s two books Plenty and Plenty More. They are both vegetarian. There is also a new book out by Madhur Jaffrey on vegetarian Indian home cooking which I gave to Hugh for Christmas.

  2. “Interestingly, the further I move away from meat, the less appealing it is.”

    This is a natural step, since our bodies are smarter that we might think: Your body is telling you in its own way that you are doing something good for it. I really hope you keep this going and even take it to further levels. And please don’t be afraid of “lacking protein”, that is a huge misconception: Cows diets are plant based, where do you think they get protein from?

    Learn and enjoy you journey! A meatless life is way better than you might think right now my friend!

  3. The biggest misperception I got when I became a vegetarian is where do I get my protein from? Look at the largest land mammals; elephants, giraffes, cows, buffaloes, hippopotamus, etc and tell me what they eat. Plants!

  4. Thank you for posting. This is the very reason I decided to go meat & dairy free over a decade ago. It really was a nourishing choice for me & I felt like I was aligning my actions with my morals & ethics. Although, it wasn’t in mainstream media yet there was overwhelming evidence that livestock is the number 1 contributor to global warming. Reading Mad Cowboy was a game changer for me. I had to really examine that if I said I really cared about our environment, our earth I had to change the way I eat. Unfortunately, at the time I found most other so called environmentalist I knew did not want to hear it. It really was learning about a new way of cooking, new foods, & new habits. It was alot of fun, I met new people & made new friends. My taste buds changed too. I gradually lost my taste for meat & became more educated about & concerned for how the majority of farm animals are horrifically treated. This was a personal choice I made for myself and yet the biggest challenge I faced were people’s unexpected reaction to to my dietary change. I made no announcement or preaching – but if people asked I’d tell them. For some reason, some people seem to see it as a threat. I did find it helpful to always bring a really good meat-free dish to gatherings.

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