Adventures in Vegetarianism

February 15, 2013 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

                In the spirit of the Lenten season, all of you green gurus out there can use this as an opportunity to take your environmental resolutions a step further and try going vegetarian on Fridays or taking part in Meatless Mondays. The meat industry has a large environmental impact and causes land degradation, climate change, air and water pollution, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, many animals in the industry are raised in unsustainable and inhumane ways, contributing further to meat’s large eco-footprint.

For many, the idea of giving up meat can be quite daunting, but I’m here to show you that going meatless doesn’t have to be so difficult.

Top Tips for Going Vegetarian

  1. Don’t focus on the meat. Instead of simply taking out the meat from your favorite recipes, be sure to replace the meat with unique vegetarian options such as beans, veggies, and new seasonings.
  2. Search online to find vegetarian friendly restaurants. Madison has so many! You can find many of them on Reap Food Group’s Buy Fresh, Buy Local website: http://www.reapfoodgroup.org/buy-fresh-buy-local-campaign/buy-fresh-buy-local-partners
  3. Bring out your adventurous side and try the many ethnic dishes that are meat-free.
  4. Going vegetarian doesn’t mean protein disappears from your diet! Get your protein in other ways by cooking with beans, lentils, whole grains, peas, tofu, edamame, tempeh, nuts, or quinoa.
  5. Buy food slowly. Before you run out and buy a bunch of new vegetarian products, try a few to find out what you really like. That way you won’t be overwhelmed and you can work on trying out various recipes with the same few ingredients.
  6. Don’t go it alone. Try to get a friend or loved one to join you in your vegetarian challenge. Working on a task like this with someone else will make it much easier and you might even have fun collaborating and sharing with another person.
  7. Need the taste of meat? Give meat substitutes a try. Gone are the days of tasteless, rubbery veggie burgers. Today’s meat substitutes are flavorful, healthy, and extremely versatile.
  8. Make use of the many taste-tested, delicious vegetarian recipes out there. Subscribe to a vegetarian magazine, buy a cookbook, or read a blog to get inspiration for your meatless meals. Here are a few to get you started:

Allrecipes.com’s California Grilled Veggie Sandwich http://allrecipes.com/recipe/california-grilled-veggie-sandwich/detail.aspx

 Food Network’s Eggplant Parmesan http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/eggplant-parmesan-recipe/index.html

Food Network’s Vegetarian Chili  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/vegetarian-chili-recipe/index.html

I know going meatless can seem like a huge commitment, but it doesn’t have to be so daunting, especially if you take it slow and start with Vegetarian Friday’s or Meatless Mondays. You can always give a pescatarian diet a try. Pescatarians still eat fish, so you can substitute fish for where you usually meat. If you do, just be sure to purchase your fish responsibly. For a great guide outlining best seafood choices, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch in both English and Spanish.

                English: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_SeafoodWatch_NationalGuide.pdf

                Spanish: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_SeafoodWatch_National_SpanishGuide.pdf

So, whether it’s for lent or for a challenge, give it an open mind. Let us know what you guys discover on your way. 

~EnAct Intern, 
Grace 

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