Yes, pun intended. The title of this blogspot is "Who Cares", and we would all like to think that we care, about something or someone, right? But how hard is it to take the time to do something to show that we care? Have you volunteered lately? Me neither. Donated to a favorite charity? Not recently. But what if I told you that there was a very simple way to demonstrate that you care to your family, and even to the global community at large? And what if I told you that you wouldn't even be mildly inconvenienced by this display of caring?
In my search to uncover a way to live a healthy lifestyle while still participating in modern day life, I have been drawn to vegetarian eating practices. I have always loved to cook and eat good food, I even went to culinary school to learn to bake like a pro. And to most onlookers, especially those who knew me in my more dedicated running days, I appear to lead a pretty healthful lifestyle. But something was not quite working for me, and over time, I slowly began to eliminate meat products from my diet. It began with anything pork related. I can already hear the collective groan-yes, no bacon! no pork chops! no ham at Easter! It disappeared from my diet, and I never missed it.
Slower to go was beef. I have always loved a rare, yes, you heard me, rare burger, with fries, or a rare filet mignon. But somehow, that too, was ordered out and cooked at home with decreasing frequency. Much harder to part with: birds. I felt torn at Thanksgiving over the past few years (eating with a family that has its share of vegetarians who were offered the yearly meatless ziti as a consolation prize) about whether I could really pass up turkey. Tradition! And what fun was putting all the fixins' on the plate: stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry, gravy, if the main attraction wasn't there? Also, those packages of sliced Sarah Lee turkey breast (with no fillers!) have been a lunch staple for my ten year old. And don't get me started on the roasted chickens from Hannaford, so easy, so...dinner is served.
What is this crazy vegetable lover getting at? I have been meatless for about a month, I feel like I am in the confessional booth: Forgive me, readers, it has been four weeks since my last animal product..
The point is, it is not just this fairly new, mostly plant-based diet that agrees with me, but the things that I know are a by-product of my declining consumption of meat. One is that no animals are being harmed so that I can eat meat, and the second is that the damage to the environment caused by the livestock industry is just that tiny bit lessened by my lack of meat consumption. I am showing that I care about my health, my child's health (she wants to go full on vegan but, damn, that vegan mayonnaise is expensive), the pain that is caused to the animals by inhumane factory practices, and the overall health of the environment just by eating differently.
I am not going to be perfect at this lifestyle change, there is a high probability that I may go off the wagon on occasion, and you will be entirely within your rights to rake me over the coals when I do, but by attempting this, I am making a difference. If even one person were to read this and say, "One day a week (okay, a month for starters) I will cook without meat as the main item on the plate for myself and for my family" you will be making a small difference, too. You may like it so much you will up it to two days a week. Okay, I am getting ahead of myself. I am not going to come to your house and mash tofu into the shape of a lamb (like the "Spam Lamb" on M*A*S*H) and make you eat it. What I am going to do is publish one recipe a week on this blogspot that is delicious, satisfying, oh, yeah, and meatless. I know it's scary, I will hold your hand (ew, sweaty). You can make a yummy, healthful meal for you and your family, and show that you care. It's really that easy.