I will be the first to admit that I am a bit of a tree-hugger: I bike to work every day, we have only one car (a Prius), I am fanatical about turning off lights and recycling, and I give my wife grief every time she decides to drive down to the Whole Foods instead of walking. I also tend to judge other people when they are not as committed to doing their best in these areas, which is perhaps a dead give away for an “environmentalist”.
This post, though, is not designed to make you feel bad (although if it does, that is a nice by product). No, instead I am writing about a little mini-milestone that I had yesterday: it was the first day where I consciously elected to not eat any meat. I am sure there have been times in the past where I had made it through the day without scarfing down any animal flesh, but it was never by design.
Before you get all hot and bothered, I am not going full on Veggie, and certainly not Vegan (No cheese? No eggs? No way), but I have decided, at least for this week to honor the “meatless Monday” movement. I have absolutely no clue who started it, but the premise is pretty easy (and in the name)–give up meat on Mondays. It is good for the environment (much more energy goes into the production of meat) and no doubt better for your health to not choke down so many formally walking, flying, or swimming beings.
Again, don’t worry, I am not getting any where close to being philosophical on this issue. After all, many of my relatives were farmers in the Midwest. The number one rule of the farm?
“Don’t name the animals.”
I will not be giving up bacon, beef, or salmon (just to name a few) any time soon.
I have always kind of admired vegetarians, though–not so much for their belief in animal rights or for the desire to lead a healthier lifestyle or anything like that. I rarely passed up an opportunity to question their sanity or point out the hypocrisy of their leather shoes. No, I admired their will power. In a country that is obsessed with emphasizing the carnivore, they are able to say “no thanks, I’ll just have a head of lettuce.”
I was also more than a little jealous that they had an additional reason to judge other people for their choices and pretty much owned the moral high ground (please don’t bring up Pescatorians [or whatever “vegetarians” who also eat fish call themselves–give it up, you are not any better than the rest of us] and certainly not Vegans since they probably all breast feed their children–doesn’t that count?): Being able to feel morally superior is always one of my goals in life.
The desire to add an additional area of moral superiority never reached the point that I ever considered becoming a full-blown Mr. Green Jeans, though. In fact, I was once dating a woman who wanted to eliminate meat from her diet since she “had seen the light”.
I promptly saw myself out.
So why now? I was reading foodwineclick (great blog, if you have not checked it out) and he had a recipe for a meatless chilli that looked really good and I decided why not? I could give up meat one day a week. Yesterday, therefore, was my first Meatless Monday, which I spent at our neighborhood restaurant (I thought about making the chilli, but baby steps, baby steps). Sure the gnocchi I ordered was so laden with butter and cheese that there certainly were no health benefits derived from my inaugural foray into another echelon of tree-huggedness, but, well, it’s a first step. I thought about taking a bite of my son’s half-eaten hamburger since I am a charter member of the clean plate club, but I let it go (how’s that for will power?).
So for now, I am on the Meatless Monday bandwagon, and I am looking forward to next week.
It is probably even money that I will completely forget and devour 37% of a cow
What do you think about Vegetarians? Meatless Monday?