Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Meatless Mondays?

Today I read an article on the environmental benefits of vegetarianism (comparing it to the Prius). Now, I'm not sure that the approach taken in the article is the best one for most people. Yes, vegetarian foods are better for the environment, and often for the person consuming them. (As much as I love Worthington Foods Little Links, I do concede that they are little bundles of fat and salt.)

However, if I were to say to my husband, "So, how about going veggie, then?" he might well go and eat a steak just to prove he could. And I don't think he's all that unusual in that reaction. On the other hand, I know he's looking forward to tonight's dinner of bean soup. And he also likes Worthington Foods stuff. Or going to Tiffin for benghan bartha, dal, and palak paneer with naan and aloo pratha. Oh, and fresh lime soda. And almond halwa for dessert, please. (Or their nearly as fabulous carrot halwa. Hey, when you've got a place this good just a few blocks away, you get to know their menu.)

Even assuming the soup is non-vegetarian, we're still not looking at a lot of meat in it - maybe a hambone and a couple pieces of chopped up bacon in a potful of traditional bean soup. As for the Indian dinner, maybe a couple tablespoons of ghee and 6 oz. of cheese in a meal for 3 or 4 people. (I'm presuming the environment can't tell if I'm keeping a dairy cow or a meat steer.)

Such a meal, even if not as virtuous as, say, locally grown greens with squash and potatoes and a cup of home canned peach juice for dessert (not that this sounds un-tasty. Just an example.) is still better than 16 oz T-Bone with bacon and blue cheese on top per person, with an enormous dessert to finish. I just worry about the either/or sense of the article. Either eat "virtuously" or "badly" with absolutely nothing in between. How about reducing meat and dairy consumption?

In the comparison with the Prius (or my Honda Civic Hybrid), they seem to have forgotten that the hybrids don't completely get rid of the gas engine. They reduce usage. The hybrids are not as good as walking, biking, taking the train, or whatever, but they are an improvement over taking the Gargantuan Hummer when you don't need the power or carrying capacity.

I've mentioned before that one of the things *I'd* have liked to see post 9/11 is a real look at how we can, as a country, conserve energy. If you're not in the room, turn out the light. If you can, use energy-conserving lights. Turn down the heat and the AC. Consider carpooling, going public transit, or going to an efficient car. Unplug. Walk someplace local to catch a sandwich, and spend a few minutes visiting with the neighbors while you're at it.

And maybe we could consider Meatless Mondays. Even if the rest of the week, you want that T-bone or whatever, how about considering one day a week having lentil soup and a salad? How about thinking along the lines of reducing how much meat is in an individual meal... You know, instead of half pound burgers around, making casserole or a smaller sandwich and a bigger salad...

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Blogger ef (Pam) said...

Yay, what a great idea.

I've been vegetarian for more than 20 years now (woo!) but have never managed the vegan thing, and yet, constantly called to try.

This is somewhat my approach these days, though I don't have a "day" for it (hmmmmm....) almost every time I'm making a food choice I just think, "is it an option to be vegan for this meal?" - sometimes yes, sometimes no. (of course it's always an OPTION, unless you're a bit of a slave to ice cream and pizza, which I am.

2/13/2007 2:21 PM  

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