By avoiding meat for one week, my husband and I saved:
67 pounds of CO2
6,000 gallons of water–vegetariancalculator.com and peta.org
You know the meatless movement has gone mainstream when it’s a topic on Oprah’s podcast (listen to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations Oct. 16 episode). Despite any fears going into our meat-free week, I have to say this challenge was pretty painless!
Cereal with almond milk and coffee for breakfast, vegetarian Lean Cuisines for lunch, and three meals out were easy to keep meat free. Our best dinner was this cauliflower Alfredo with peas from My Kitchen Love. I often tire of leftovers, but not this one!
Paying closer attention to what we were eating did raise some questions I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Our son’s annual preschool open house was this week, and the menu is always hot dogs and hamburgers. In past years, this event has meant a welcome break from cooking and a free dinner. We didn’t make the kids go meat free, so they had hot dogs but didn’t finish them. So what should we have done? Stuck to our challenge and thrown the leftover meat away? Or finished it so it wouldn’t go to waste?
As I have come to learn with most environmentally based decisions, the answer is complicated. The resources it took to make the hot dogs have already been used, so throwing it in the trash doesn’t change that. Composting wasn’t an option either, so in this case, eating it may have been the best choice.
Now that the week is over, I am planning to follow the “no meat before dinner” plan (or two meat-free meals per day) proposed by author Jonathan Safran Foer. If you’re not quite ready to take it that far but still want to start somewhere, you can pledge your commitment to eating less meat by signing the Meatless Monday pledge on earthday.org.
Thanks for reading! Email me your favorite vegetarian recipes at firstname.lastname@example.org.