Who Am I Kidding?

Last night, in a meaty post, I flippantly eliminated red meats from my diet. That’s not going to work. I like red meat. It tastes very good, especially when undercooked. My fondest memory of food is that rare filet mignon I had on a patio in Ponce with several Tempranillos and good friends: chewing that steak was like making out, the good way. And some weekends, Five Guys is a necessity.

Realistically, though, I can cut the red meat down to twice a month. That’s good enough for the environment, and it will keep me from having odd cravings. I’ll also set a goal of having meat at all in one meal per day.

I’m fine with flirting with vegetarianism (especially if I can get some recipes for those fantastic-smelling things my vegetarian officemate eats), but I’m keeping some meat. And environmental plans that make sense late at night often don’t hold up in the harsh light of day: I want to set goals that I can keep.

Are you a vegetarian? Why? Do the stats on food production I posted yesterday make you want to eat less meat? Want to try and cut down red meat to twice a month with me?

7 Responses to “Who Am I Kidding?”

  1. 1 scvegan May 7, 2008 at 3:40 am

    I stopped eating animal-based foods over eight years ago. Started out as a bet and I just stuck with it. As I learned more about the benefits
    of eating a plant-based diet I just did not see the point of going back to the way I was eating before. Most people comment that they could never do it, or that I must have amazing will power. Truthfully, will power has nothing to do with it. Everyone is different; in my case it just so happens that I apparently didn’t like meat and dairy all that much. My favorite foods before going vegan were pasta, Asian stir-fry, bean burritos, potatoes and other such foods that can easily be incorporated into vegan diet. Eating meat was just something I did because it was always on the menu. After going a while without it, the smell of cooked meat now bothers me like when I smell spoiled milk. I have absolutely zero desire to eat meat, no cravings at all.

    If you really like meat, then giving it up will be extremely difficult and seemingly unbearable. In your case, it will require a lot of will power and discipline while dealing with the feeling of self-deprivation. If you work at it, you would find foods that you like and you will adapt will the flavors within a few weeks. Ultimately it comes down to enjoying the food you’re eating and feeling satisfied, otherwise you’re just going to be hungry and irritable all the time. Still, lots of delicious plant-based meals can be had both dining out and cooking at home.

  2. 2 m May 7, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Remember, you have the DNA for meat. Your paternal genes live by meat, potatoes and gravey alone. When subjected to 4 months of vegetarian eating (advice from Dr. Lon while doing dishes at the cabin), he blamed the meat-lessness for his needing back surgery.

  3. 3 Heather's Garden May 7, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I would rather you shot me than eliminated meat from my diet. I have to have it at least once a week and that’s way down from my personal preference of every single day. You talked me into asking my husband for lamb chops tomorrow night.

  4. 4 virescent May 7, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    scvegan- Thanks for the perspective! Meat is second nature to me, definitely. I realized today that I don’t even know what the vegetarian options are at the sandwich places near where I work- it never occured to me to look for them. And you bring up dairy products- good point, I hadn’t even considered them. Mostly because as much as I think compromising meat is a struggle, I can’t even imagine compromising on my cheese intake. Oof, give me a week.

    My diet is rather unvaried (apples, PB sandwiches, other sandwiches, pasta, broccoli, tea), so removing a portion of it is a fairly large adjustment for me. It’s not the meat itself I’ll miss- it’s the variety and easy rhythm of food preperation I’ve developed around it. I am looking forward to forcing myself to eat new things now, but it will take a while. Got any recipes, or recipe blogs, to recommend?

    m- Oh, I remember. But he eats salads now! Good work!

    Heather- Why have you cut down to once a week? And oooh, lamb chops…

  5. 5 scvegan May 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I eat a vegan diet, so any recipes and blogs I recommend will be completely absent of all animal ingredients.
    is one I’m interested in at the moment.

    Basically my meals are centered around a starch like rice, potatoes, pasta, beans or some other whole grain. Compliment this with your favorite vegetables or which ever ones look good at the market. I like to make brown rice and add lentils to the pot while cooking; makes a great meal. Eat with some leafy greens like kale, chard, collards or mustard greens. I also like to mix certain veggies together like mushrooms, zucchini, onions, Chinese eggplant, broccoli and carrots.

    I don’t need to get fancy, I just really enjoy the taste of vegetables. I know several people who tried to go vegetarian but couldn’t curb their cravings for meat. After a couple weeks or months they just gave in and gave up. I don’t know how to help these people, after all the stomach wants what it wants. On the other hand, I know lots of other people who were the biggest carnivores you could imagine, but now happy and passionate vegans.

    I think to be successful you just need a reason to do it; a good reason that you believe in. Whether that be to help the environment, express your compassion for animals, reverse your condition of heart disease, impress that cute girl at the co-op in Santa Monica, live a healthier life or even to win a bet. It has to be important; you have to WANT to do it. After a while you may end up with more reasons to keep doing it like I did.

  6. 6 Heather's Garden May 8, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    The lamb chops were good. My husband’s practically a vegetarian, so when I’m having meat cravings, he’s longing for a salad and since he does the cooking, I feel guiltly asking him to go to all the trouble of preparing one meal for him and one for me. But May is diet month because I have to fit into a dress for a gala in early June and I’m afraid to even try it on right now since it was snug last May and I’ve definitely gained since then. So lots of grilled chicken, fish, salads, and soups for me, not to mention no alcohol during the week and far less on the weekends. I am cheating tonight and having a chocolate martini, but we won our court case against his ex this morning ($1,700 in attorney fees and 3 appearances later), so some celebration is in order!

  7. 7 virescent May 9, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    scvegan- thanks for the link and the encouragement, you’re really helpful. Some of those recipes look fantastic- cinnamon salsa? Wow!

    I’m interested to see how my cravings go. I only actively want red meats, but I already eat them only once or twice a week (due to a certain laziness in food preperation and insecurity about my ability to pick the good stuff at the grocery). Chicken and pork I just want to be a textural base for some other flavors. Two days in, and it’s just fine. What’s really different right now is just thinking about the limit (will I have it for lunch or dinner? What about leftovers?). I march into that brave new world and buy fake sausage (fauxsage!) last night.

    Heather- Congrats, and good luck on the diet! Have you tried meat substitutes? I’ve only had mixed results with them, but I’m interested in checking them out- on the theory that it doesn’t matter if you cover tofu or chicken with general tso’s, it’s still going to be good. I hope. Also, I’m pretty sure the gentleman friend and I are going to have a similar cooking tension. Granted, he’s the one telling me to eat my vegetables all the time, but he likes meat way more than I do. I’m sure we’ll work it out, and maybe he will come to love salads-as-the-main-course and fauxsage.

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