Next week we are going to completely switch gears and focus on meat consumption. Before we dive right in on Monday though I want to ask (okay, beg) everyone to please watch Food, Inc. this weekend. Even if you have watched it before…watch it again! This is a very easy way to learn a lot in a mere 91 minutes of your life. And hopefully you will join us with a completely renewed perspective when it comes to eating meat. After watching the movie I’ve heard some people say they would never eat meat again (which we of course do), and others say they went out and had a Big Mac the very next day. So don’t take anyone else’s word for it…watch the movie and form your own opinion. And if for some strange reason you don’t watch it, at the very least please read my summary of the film.
So here is next week’s pledge, which officially starts on Monday…
Mini-Pledge Week 3: All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish.
Rather than just leaving you with that I definitely want to take a few moments to explain our reasoning behind this one. And just to make sure there is no confusion we define meat as beef, turkey, chicken, pork, lamb, venison, duck, etc. There is no restriction on seafood or other animal products (like eggs and cheese) this week. So let’s break down the two parts of this pledge….
1. Local Meat: Not only do we like to promote eating locally raised meat, but just about anything you can buy through your local farmers will be better for you and the environment. I wrote a post a while ago about how produce, on average, travels 1500 miles from the farm to your plate. Not only do those fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value during their trek, but the by-products from all of that travel also have a very negative impact on our environment. When it comes to industrialized meat, not only does the travel aspect take a toll on our environment, but the resources used to raise, feed, and slaughter the animals do as well. Secondly, the only way to truly know if the meat you are eating was humanely raised is to ask the farmer yourself. And even if the meat comes from an organic factory farm it doesn’t necessarily mean they were raised or fed properly. And the health of the animal directly affects the nutritional value that their products provide you. I know some readers have told me they simply cannot find a local source for meat products. If that is the case here is my response: try one more time (make sure you’ve exhausted all resources!), post a question about your location on my facebook page so we can ask others, or just go vegetarian this week.
2. Reducing Meat Consumption: I know I’ve said it before about our society’s sugar consumption, and I’ll say it again about meat…it is way overdone. According to Mark Bittman in his book Food Matters, “60 billion animals are raised each year for food – 10 animals for every human on earth.” He also goes on to say that this rate of industrialized meat production is causing “enormous damage to the earth, including the significant acceleration of global warming.” Secondly, consuming meat at the alarming rate that it is being produced is not good for our health. Bittman says that our current rate of meat consumption has “stimulated a fundamental change in our diets that has contributed to our being overweight, even obese, and more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and perhaps even cancer.” Michael Pollan sings a very similar tune in regards to the effects our over consumption of meat has on our health. Learn more about his viewpoint in my post about “Becoming a ‘flexitarian.’” The moral of the story is the less meat you eat the more of something else you will eat instead, and let’s hope that turns out to be vegetables and fruit.
Now that you understand the reasoning behind this pledge, here are some resources to help you get through the week…
Dinner recipes where meat is not the focus…
- Farmer’s Market Stir Fry
- Quiche with a Whole-Wheat Crust
- Whole-Wheat Pizza
- Whole-Wheat Macaroni and Cheese
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Tomato Bisque Soup or Peanut Squash Soup served with Whole-Wheat Biscuits
- BLT with or without Crabmeat
- Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioili
- Jambalaya with Brown Rice
Also, almost all of the breakfast, lunch, and snack recipes I’ve posted thus far do not present meat as the focus. So if you want check out my recipe index for some inspiration.
To take the pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and kids in your household that will take this on, and also share if you will do it for one day or for the entire week. Put it in writing and make it official!
[Shared on the Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday]