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Meatless Mondays: An Introduction

March 15, 2010

Alliteration. I adore alliteration.

That’s part of why I have found the idea of Meatless Monday so appetizing and appealing. (See what I did there? Alliteration.)

Some of the blogs I follow share meatless recipes on Mondays. With my own arsenal of meatless entrees, I’ve been wanting to join the fun for a long time now.

But first, let me explain our reasons for occasionally choosing meatless, in no particular order:

  • Going meatless can save you a lot of money: Our grocery costs for pasture-raised poultry and meats can really add up if we’re eating meat daily. Even when I was picking out sale meats at the store, it was definitely one of the most expensive items in my cart.
  • I’ve learned to cook without it: Meat was the “go-t0” meal when I was working full-time and still learning my way around the kitchen. Now I know I can produce a fantastic meal without needing a big ol’ slab o’ meat in the middle of the plate.
  • We enjoy meatless dishes: Yep, even my meat-and-potato-eating husband is on board. In fact, he asks me to make certain meatless dishes again and again. He’s a stud.
  • Going meatless is good for you: Toxins are stored in fat. So when we eat meat, we’re getting all the toxins our meat was exposed to in its lifetime. These can build up in our own fat cells and increase our risks of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Plus, when you increase beans and decrease meat, you get more fiber and protein with less saturated fat.
  • Going meatless is good for the earth: I know you might not care about carbon footprints and saving beef cattle from extinction (that’s a joke, by the way). But the reality is that it takes about 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. It takes 7 tons of grains to produce 1 ton of beef (and cows are not even designed to digest grain — they were created to eat grass. Corn makes cows sick.) With water and food shortages worldwide, it would be nice if we could give up some of our cheeseburgers and find a way to convert that use of water and land to create healthier people, not fatter cows.
  • You get to meet a bunch of new foods and new meals: Spaghetti was on our menu a lot during our first couple years of marriage. Boxed noodles, canned sauce, and a pound of beef: Done. I had never purchased a zucchini or parsnip before. Now our fridge is more colorful and healthful as we’ve come to rely on a greater variety of grains, veggies, and beans to create our meals.
  • Meat is a treat, and we’re grateful for whatever we eat: Now we appreciate what we have — be it rice and beans or a pot roast. Not having a meat-centric meal every time we sit down makes us more grateful for the variety of foods we do eat. And when the occasional pork shoulder takes center stage, we savor it instead of expect it.

***I want to add a closing comment here: I know a lot of great meat-raising farmers. I have meat in my freezer. I love cheeseburgers. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. And I don’t know if I could live without cheese or sour cream to top my rice and beans. But going meatless works for us. I hope you’ll give it a try, too.***

A Quick Meatless Recipe: Rice and Bean Bowls (or Burritos)

Be-Ready Tip: Cook large batches of rice and beans ahead of time. Freeze them and you’ll be ready to make this meal even on the busiest of nights. (I hope to offer more detailed “be-ready” tips in future posts.)

  • Long-grain rice, like basmati or jasmine, cooked (After you’ve cooked the rice, add salt, lime juice, and fresh cilantro to get that Chipotle flavor. I freeze it plain and add these ingredients after reheating the rice. That way, I have plain rice pre-cooked for other dishes like stir fry.)
  • Dry black beans (or pinto or red — your choice!), cooked
  • Salsa (we like it homemade with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, red onion, salt, cumin, and chili powder.)
  • Optional: Avacados/guacamole
  • Optional: Cheese
  • Optional: Sour cream
  • Optional: Something green — leafy green lettuce, spinach, etc.
  • Optional: Tortillas (I use this recipe – with 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour – without all the soaking.)

Build your bowl (or burrito) and enjoy!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Aunt Katie permalink
    March 15, 2010 10:03 pm

    I can’t wait for the farmer’s markets to open, don’t they in march??? I can’t wait for fresh fruit and veggies again!!! You guys got us hooked!

  2. March 18, 2010 11:28 am

    “Higher meat consumption among the affluent frequently creates problems for the poor, as the share of farmland devoted to feed cultivation expands, reducing production of food staples. In economic competition for grain fields, the upper classes usually win. In Egypt, for example, over the past quarter-century, corn grown for animal feed has taken over cropland from wheat, rice, sorghum, and millet–all staple grains in Egypt. The share of grain fed to livestock rose from 10 percent to 36 percent. (Barkin et al. 1990; Barkin 1991)”

    bad for the environment, yes. but also reall bad for developing nations and the poor.

    • March 18, 2010 12:57 pm

      Thanks for sharing this, Elise. This is exactly what I was trying to communicate, but you backed it up with intelligent research. Thanks!

      Let’s get together for a Meatless Monday feast soon!

      • March 19, 2010 1:49 pm

        i agree!

        I told Tony about your meatless monday recipes, and he wondered if he/we can make requests.

        His request is for a good homemade soup. And I know that you gotta be good on thsoe.

        We are branching out these days into the land of parsnips and beets, too, so if you have any for those…

      • March 19, 2010 1:56 pm

        Ooh… root veggies. Those are tricky.

        I’m not very good with beets. I used to roast and puree them for Ainsley. I added them to her pancakes and muffins. I’m not a big beet eater.

        Parsnips are good. “Minty carrots” as Scott calls them. Try slicing them and roasting them with oil and salt. Also good in soup (like carrots).

        I’ve got a great roasted veggie soup recipe from my friend Jessica. I’ll send it your way!

  3. Ben Paxson permalink
    March 26, 2010 11:46 am

    Not to be the DA…

    But veggies are usually much more expensive then Meat.
    So cheaper isnt the reason.

    • March 26, 2010 12:33 pm

      Some vegetables are cheaper than meat, depending on the kinds of meat purchased (e.g. grass-fed vs. conventional), but I did admit to high cost of produce in the follow-up post.

      It’s too bad that it costs so much to eat real food, huh?

  4. Ben Paxson permalink
    March 30, 2010 2:58 pm

    We would eat veggies galore (as we love them) if they were cheaper.

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