Be forewarned that this post is not so exciting!
Okay so I "gave up " meat for the month of December (except for the 1/2 piece of bacon I had on 12/26 and the Quarter pounder I ordered from McDonald's on 12/27 without even thinking, but I'm choosing not to count either of those transgressions) and it wasn't really all that hard. I have never been a big meat eater, though I really LOVE fajitas and chick-fil-a (just not at the same time). I even spent a couple years in college living in a vegetarian (among other things) co-op, which is where I really learned to love cooking, so giving up meat isn't really all that big of a sacrifice for me. Having said all that, I don't know that I will be able to fully commit to a meatless life right away because I'm just not good enough with food to know how to go completely without it.
Some of my hangups are, going out to eat and finding easy and tasty sources of meatless lean protein.
Starting with the former, we go out to eat WAYYYYYYYYY too much. If I'm being honest I bet I eat about 15 meals a week from restaurants (mostly breakfast from Starbucks, lunch from various sources and an occasional dinner out). A lot of restaurants do have vegetarian options, but they are so greasy and cheesy and otherwise chock full o' fat that I think I'd just rather order a chicken breast and get it over with. Assuming I am going to stick to my New year's resolutions (which I will post later) my going out to eat should drastically reduce almost immediately. It is a big assumption considering 2009's resolution FAIL, but I'll think positive......for once.
Now to the latter, finding sources of lean protein. Another of my new year's resolutions will have to do with my diet (an original concept I know) so I do need to focus on finding meat alternatives. I'm not super keen on filling my diet full of soy products, though I will eat some. From what I can tell the jury is still out on the risk/benefit analysis of soy consumption, so I don't want to go crazy with the tofu and soy meats. I know there are other, meat free sources of lean protein, but I need to do some research to learn how to incorporate them into my diet. I do think I will end up eating chicken a few times a week until I can come up with something better.
As to the reasons why I'm trying to go meat free, well there are a few of those...
1. Reducing meat consumption is an easy way to go green, assuming you can replace meat with less carbon-costly foods. This is my weakest reason, I know, but a reason nonetheless.
2. I guess I've jumped on the Pollan band wagon (In defense of food, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Food Inc.) and have learned a little too much about the meat industry, and the way the animals and workers are treated to continue, to eat meat with reckless abandon. (yes, reckless abandon is how I approach most eating endeavors)
3. Possibly most important to me, I like the way removing meat from my diet, reduces my food options. I really like food and rarely limit myself to eating only what I need for sustenance, so choosing to go meatless most of the time helps me to stop and really think about what I am eating.
And there you have it... Resolutions to come.