The Journey to Less Meat

This will probably come as a surprise to many people, but I’m intentionally trying to eat less meat these days. The woman who drools at the thought of a big juicy steak, thinks bacon makes anything taste better, who could eat burgers multiple times a week, is cutting back on meat.

I post this the day after I ate at Urban Butcher. Seriously one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. I’m pretty sure I could have cut it with a butter knife. The fat melted in my mouth and the meat was so full of flavor. Urban Butcher is a newish restaurant in Silver Spring with really high standards for where they get their meat. Basically, this is a meat lover’s paradise. If it weren’t so darn expensive, I would be there all.the.time.

So why am I cutting back on meat? Mostly environmental reasons. For a few years, I’ve eaten only locally produced meat that I buy directly from the farmers. While I know this is much better for the environment (and for me) than factory farmed meat, I also know that 40% of carbon emissions from food production comes from meat, that’s a lot and can be changed pretty easily with minor lifestyle changes.

My goal is to not buy meat to prepare at home. I still have some in reserves (well, quite a bit) but once that’s out, I’m hoping to not buy more meat. At restaurants, however, I will eat whatever looks delicious. And I will continue buying and cooking bacon whenever I want to. Now that after 2.5 years I’ve finally found good bacon around here (from, where else, Urban Butcher) I’m not giving it up!

But this presents some additional challenges. Because of dietary restrictions, I can’t have most fruit and some vegetables. I try really hard to stay away from processed foods. And “meat substitutes” freak me out (and they’re not that good for you…). So eating real, whole foods with enough protein to make up for what I’m missing is tough.

On Sunday I made black bean burgers for our delayed Sizzlin’ Saturday. They were okay. I had a recipe…but then realized I had very few of the ingredients so I made it up. The results were okay but not fantastic. And yes, the combination of lots of beans, a tomato, and corn gave me quite the stomach ache.

20140728-195152-71512901.jpgFortunately I get a lot of non-meat protein already. I eat cheese, yogurt, eggs, and beans pretty regularly and I really don’t eat meat that frequently. I probably talk about eating meat significantly more than I eat it. If I’m eating out I usually get meat and I cook it about once a week (well, I get it out of the freezer about once a week…sometimes it lasts several meals).

Here are a couple articles about how much of an impact eating less meat can have (there are a lot more if you’re interested):

Eating half the meat could reduce food emissions by 25%-40%
Giving up beef could reduce carbon footprint more than giving up cars