Friday, August 15, 2014

Vegetarian update

So a friend asked me the other day how my commitment to eat less meat has been going.  If you remember, several months ago the price of meat (especially beef) rose dramatically out here, due to the drought, and I decided to put the family on a pretty restrictive non-meat diet, eating more vegetarian and pescatarian foods most nights each week for dinner. 

(And for me, this also translated to eating no meat at other meals as well. I eat almost all my breakfasts and lunches at home, since I work less than five minutes away from my job and can therefore "dine-in" almost all the time.)

The answer to how our new diet is going is this:  It's been a pretty fabulous success.  It's been far easier than I thought, and certainly has lifted a huge weight off the ol' checkbook to not be purchasing meat.  As we all know, grass-fed, local-raised meat can be quite a bit more expensive than what you'd get at the local supermarket, but what you get at the local supermarket is a huge mystery as far as how the animals are treated, what they are fed, and what kind of conditions the meat is processed in. In my opinion, if you can afford to pass on supermarket meat, do so. 

And of course our new diet is certainly rich in eggs, provided by our beautiful hens.  Hard to pass those up, although I do toy sometimes with going completely vegetarian, as I was one for several years.  But in addition to eggs, I'm just not sure I'm ready to give up salmon and other locally-caught seafood.  So we're sticking with this present diet, at least for awhile.

I will say that I thought giving up eating my fellow mammals would be more difficult, but especially now that it's summer, there is such a wide variety of other foods available, it's easy -- provided you're just willing to look outside the meat/starch/vegetable triad so many of us grew up with on our dinner plates each night.

And I'd like to think we're living a little lighter on the land by not contributing to the cycle of uisng gallons and gallons of water in order to grow the tons of grain needed to feed the animals we're going to eat.  But I don't live in a glass house on this, and I should be honest here:  my own pets still eat commercial pet food, the chickens get layer feed in addition to kitchen scraps, and we do still drink milk and eat butter, so it's a small victory at best. 

But a small change is still better than none at all, I figure. Small steps.


  1. That's great. I think the most dangerous thing with humans relationship with conservation is when we feel powerless. Any change is a worth something, and keeps inertia in a positive direction. We are very lucky where I live, with abundant farmland and viable consumers, high quality meat is not prohibitively expensive. My dad put me in touch with a farmer who raises cows, and sells the most beautiful beef. I'm sure we pay a LOT more for wine though :). Try as I might, Ohio wines are just not good. You may remember when I went vegan for six months last year, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. Even when I stopped eating strictly vegan, I carried a lot of those principles into my cooking. I don't think anyone should give up butter! A friend and I are discussing driving out to Amish country (about 1 hour from me) and getting vats of Jersey cream, from which we will make butter. Thinking we might make a huge batch and freeze it.

    1. Oh, that sounds amazing! Matron of Husbandry was just saying she had frozen a lot of her butter last year, so I know homemade butter freezes well! I agree with you on the locality aspect -- small-farmed local anything is better for the planet than the alternatives! Jealous of your beef, but yes wine is inexpensive here so I can't complain too much.