Today I want to talk about something I haven't really explained or discussed much here on the blog. Meat. Or the lack thereof.
I want to talk about it because I know a lot of my readers are advocates of diets/lifestyles like Real Food, Paleo, and GAPS, or even Atkins. All of these ways of eating are pretty meat-heavy. Recently, I asked my readers on Facebook and Google+ if they would consider being a part-time Vegan, or cutting out meat. There was a lot of debate and a bit of confusion. I hope to clear some of that up a bit here.
So why am I talking about meat today? Well I've decided it's time for Poor and Gluten Free to join the Meatless Monday movement. Now don't worry, not much is going to change here, except that some of my posts will now be tagged as Meatless Monday. And in today's post I'm going to explain why.
What is Meatless Monday?
Now before you protest and argue that bacon is the latest great health food, let me finish why I'm joining and explain why meat consumption can be a problem.
Why join Meatless Monday?
First off, it wasn't a tough decision for me really, since almost all of my recipes are meat-free with vegan options anyway.
I was a pescetarian for 8 years (a vegetarian that eats fish, cheese, and eggs) before discovering that I had oral allergy syndrome and was allergic to most fresh fruits and vegetables. For me, a lot of it had to do with ethical and environmental reasons I won't get in to here, but I still feel strongly about them. My allergist strongly recommended I consider adding some meat back in to my diet to diversify things. While I now eat a small amount of poultry, it's more for the sake of making it easier for those who have to feed me than for me to feed myself. (Dinner with friends and fam can be super hard when they have to work around so many allergies and then vegetarianism or veganism on top of it! I know they're so well-meaning and in general, most of them don't even cook meat when I'm around because they know I'm not keen on it, so thanks to everyone who supports me and my choices!!)
But aside from the fact that I don't really cook meat myself, there are plenty of health, economic, and environmental reasons to consider
Health Reasons to Join Meatless Monday
Why do people need to cut back on meat? You might ask.
Most meat eaters consume WAY more protein than they need.
Those who worry about not getting enough protein by going meatless don't really need to worry. I was vegetarian for 8 yrs, had my iron checked often (I gave blood regularly) and never had a problem. Plenty of foods have protein in them, like rice, potatoes, lentils, beans, etc. And we really don't need that much protein in the first place.
Cutting back on meat can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, increase mortality and vary the nutrients and vitamins you consume.
Environmental Reasons to go Meat-Free
The meat industry takes a toll on the environment. It doesn't really matter if you look for grass-fed, local meat, it still takes a whole lot of land and resources to feed and care for animals. Here are some stats to consider.
* Carbon Footprint: The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.
* Water Usage: The water needs of livestock are huge, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef.
* Fuel Dependence: On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. (compared to 2.2 calories of fossil fuel for plant-based protein)
Economic Reasons to Go Meatless
* Health problems can take a toll on health-care spending! Under the health reasons you'll note that too much meat can take a toll on your health, all of which cost money for medical bills.
* Meat isn't cheap! A $2 bag of lentils will feed a family of 4 a couple of times over. Can you even buy meat for $2??
I wanted to join the movement to help raise awareness because I know that many of you are environmentalists and concerned about healthy eating. From time to time I'll tag posts with the Meatless Monday tag (and will likely make those posts Vegan-friendly as well), and may share some health and environmental posts related to going meat-free. I hope it helps to encourage you to re-evaluate your menu plans and expand your meal options!
For more info on Meatless Monday and how you can get involved or join with your blog, check out www.meatlessmonday.com
Are you a meat-eater? If so, would you consider cutting back and why?
This post was shared on the following great link parties: Musings of a Housewife, The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, The Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop, Gluten Free Tuesday,