For my final Meatless Monday of winter break, my mom and I made quite the spread. I’ve always loved French Onion soup, and wanted to make a vegetarian version of it, so we did a whole French theme: onion soup, mushroom pâté (both me) and a Niçoise salad minus the traditional tuna (my mom). It might be my most photogenic Meatless Monday yet. And no one missed the meat, I assure you.
Now for my Meatless Monday shpiel of the week. Over the last several months, I have been hearing about a number of less-extreme versions of vegetarianism, as in diets, for lack of a better word, that involve reducing or refining meat consumption, not necessarily eliminating it. I wanted to highlight some of these ways of eating as less intimidating ways to permanently reduce your meat consumption.
Meatless Monday is obviously an example of such a flexitarian diet, in which you avoid meat one day per week. It might not seem like it, but the benefits of reducing just 1/7 of the planet’s meat consumption would be MONUMENTAL for health, sustainability, and animal welfare. You can check out the international Meatless Monday movement here.
Another popular “diet” is that of the “humane-itarian,” who only eats meat that has been raised humanely, according to their moral values. For instance, a humaneitarian would certainly avoid eating so-called factory-farmed meat. This MO certainly limits your choices (desirably, I would say) when it comes to meat, especially when eating out, and any time you cannot confirm the origin of your food. By taking this path you can feel better about your food choices while reducing your meat consumption as a side effect, thereby improving your health and the environment. Learn about humaneitarianism here.
I’ve mentioned this one before, but I find the VB6 diet very appealing. Mark Bittman invented this diet that advocates a vegan diet every day before 6 PM, after which you may eat more indulgently, including any animal products. The way I see it, this way you’re eating close to the ideal diet for health, sustainability, and animal welfare 2/3 of the time, and the other 1/3 of the time you may enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of moderate meat consumption. Check out the book VB6 here.
Most recently, I read about a diet that’s gathering popularity called “reducetarianism,” which simply advocates eating less meat of any kind. The movement is currently promoting a pledge to eat less meat for the next 30 days. Some strategies they suggest are to skip meat at dinner if you ate it for lunch, participate in Meatless Monday (or any day), choose grass-fed meat over conventionally farmed livestock, and reducing your usual portion size of meat. Find out more about reducetarianism here.
I love that all of these “diets” make a significant change to the typical Western diet without being strict enough to be unsustainable for most people. We should all be interested in reducing worldwide meat consumption–I won’t say no matter the size, because more would be better at this point, but as I often say, we have to start somewhere.
Would you try any of these diets?
Next time you hear from me, I’ll be back at school! Thanks for reading.
P.S. Here’s a fun article about a chef who’s vegan 6 days a week.