After the long journey from California to my hometown just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Christmas, it was a welcome treat to get the most Midwestern of welcomes from my mother. A hug, a beer, and a platter of cheese and summer sausage. It didn’t surprise me that these things were ready, that’s just how my family is—what surprised me a little is that I didn’t touch the summer sausage. And not just that night, but for the whole week I was there. Growing up, summer sausage was like its own food group for me. But now, well, I just didn’t want any. I wrote it off to getting older and changing taste buds, but then I read Mark Bittman’s article in the New York Times.
It turns out, Americans are eating less meat. Since 2007, 12 percent less. This seems to jive with where I’m at in my own food journey. He even introduced me to a new term: “flexitarianism.” It’s someone who is actively trying to eat less meat, but isn’t a committed vegetarian. That’s me – it seems I’m a flexitarian. (While I agree with the approach to food, I think they’ll need to come up with a better name). This general decline in meat consumption seems to be giving rise to an anti-vegetarianism PR campaign from the beef industry, which is no surprise and is likely to continue to be the case as long as our national attitude draws strange lines between financial profit and healthy eating.
I’m intrigued by the idea of giving up meat for a day a week, like the Meatless Monday movement suggests. My wife and I lived on Honaunau farm this past fall during the Breadfruit festival, and I can tell you that the locals prepare incredible dishes with no meat. If you’re looking for a new option for cooking hearty without meat, check out breadfruit. I’ve also learned plenty about the benefits to eating less or no meat, both for environmental and personal health, from the Care2 Vegetarian Group.
I’m curious who else out there is consciously eating less meat, how it’s going for you, and if you have any tips or resources to recommend. And to those who have gone from carnivore to vegetarian or vegan, what moved you along that path?
Let me know in the comments. My best to you all, wherever you are on your own food journey.
Image credit: SocialRobot via Flickr