Testing the waters of vegetarianism
I'm starting a new diet in the new year, but without the goal of shedding pounds.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 21:19
PRETTY PRODUCE: These veggies sure look good, but will they be enough? (Photo: Syed Xain/Flickr)
In the spirit of the new year, I am going to try something new. I'm going to try to be a vegetarian. I know that isn't new to a lot of people, especially people that frequent MNN, but it will be new to me.
I grew up eating meat at every meal and with the idea that vegetarians were "weird." My philosophy has always been that if it's already dead in the grocery store, I'm not going to save the cow by avoiding the ground beef at the meat counter.
Since then, I have matured into my own kind of "weird" person, and I have seen that their are other reasons for becoming a vegetarian than saving a cow.
There are all kinds of websites out there that will give you reasons to become a vegetarian. For me, the most convincing are the degredation to the environment and the health effects:
• A vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
• Factory farms are a huge source of pollution, contributing more pollutants to our waterways than all other industrial sources combined.
• Rainforests are destroyed to create fields to graze cattle raised for beef, causing numerous species' extinctions.
• One website even claimed that by switching from meat to a vegetarian diet I could save $4,000 a year! (I'm not sure about that one, since my food budget is already pretty low, on account of my income being very low.)
When you are little and your mom is trying to get you to finish your dinner, she never lets on about the nasty factory farming practices that are used through out the country in order to get those chicken tenders onto your plate. She doesn't tell you about all the chemicals and hormones that are pumped into the meat, either.
Inspired by a recent post on MNN by Leah Koenig and the movie "Julie and Julia", I decided that I am going to go on a vegetarian cooking adventure. I am purchasing Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (recommended by Koenig) and will begin to cook my way through it. "What Julia Child is to French cooking ... Deborah Madison is to vegetarian cooking," the inside flap claims, so hopefully I have chosen the right book for this project. As I experiment with the recipes and eliminating meat from my diet, I'll blog about it. With 752 pages and over 1,400 recipes, I'm not claiming to complete the entire book anytime soon!
I am a food lover. I love all kinds of food (meat included), and I love lots of it. The biggest challenge for me is going to be eliminating some of that variety. But, I also love new foods, so maybe trying some new recipes will satisfy my eating habits.
Check back to see how I'm holding up in the coming weeks!
Photo: rutabega love/Flickr
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