October 24th is Food Day, a day to resolve to make changes in our own diets and take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. This year, the theme of Food Day is “Toward a Greener Diet”, and I wrote this post as part of a Food Day Blogger Takeover.
We eat meat. In fact, we eat meat most days of the week. No matter how much I talk up Meatless Monday, it’s not my family’s favorite day of the week. To put it mildly. When I serve the meal, I can see everyone poking around their plate, looking for meat, even though they know it’s not there.
Yet I wrestle with the ethical issues of meat eating and have for many years. I’ve often joked that I would become a vegetarian if it weren’t for bacon. But the truth is, I like meat too. Not as much as my husband, whose idea of heaven is a platter of breaded pork chops. Or my sixth grader, who scarfs down the meat from his dinner plate before anything else. But I love a good steak, a fat turkey sandwich with melted Swiss, and tangy BBQ pulled pork.
So a few years ago, I took a few steps that I hoped would put us in the right direction of becoming more ethical meat eaters. Here’s how:
1. Buying organic or local meat: I started buying grass-fed beef in bulk from a local farmer. Then I began getting my chicken and pork from small, local farms too. When I started working with Applegate last year as a member of an advisory group called the Sandwich Board, I learned a lot about organic farming, pasture-raised livestock, and issues of sustainability. With every new thing I learn, I feel more confident that buying organic, local meat, or humanely-sourced meat is worth it.
2. Planning meatless meals: Meatless Monday isn’t always a hit around here–and sometimes, when there’s a defrosted pot roast that needs to be eaten, Meatless Monday is postponed. But as I’m planning the week’s meals, I strive for at least a couple of dinners without meat. We now spend more money on the meat we do buy (since local and organic options tend to be pricier than what’s on sale at the grocery store), so cutting costs with meatless meals makes good financial sense too.
3. Using plant-based sources of protein: I’m trying harder to incorporate more beans, lentils, nuts, and other plant-based sources of protein into our meals even when we do eat meat, such as making burritos and tacos with half meat and half beans. I’m also planning to try one of these “Blend Burgers“, a mixture of diced mushrooms and ground beef. This feels like a nice compromise between a meat-heavy meal and a meatless one.
4. Talking to the kids about being an ethical meat eater: Anyone with kids knows that they eventually become very curious about–and sometimes fixated on–where meat comes from. They also tend to ask tough questions that make grown-ups squirm. But those are also important questions, and it’s only fair to be truthful. So I talk to my kids about how and why we buy the meat that we do.
Have you taken any steps to become a more ethical meat eater? I’d love to hear about it!
Read the post I wrote last year for Food Day: 12 Ways To Get Healthy Food Into Your Child’s School
This post is part of a Food Day collaboration with the following bloggers:
|Don’t Panic Mom http://Dontpanicmom.com|
|Gluten is My Bitch https://glutenismybitch.wordpress.com/|
|Naturalmente Mamá http://naturalmentemama.com/|
|Laughing Lemon Pie http://laughinglemonpie.com|
|Just the Right Byte www.jillcastle.com/blog|
|The Balanced Kitchen www.balancedkitchen.com/|
|teeny tiny foodie http://teenytinyfoodie.com|
|The Multitasking Missus: http://www.themultitaskingmissus.com/|
|Colorado Moms http://www.coloradomoms.com|
|The Hanging Spoon www.thehangingspoon.com|
|Real Kids Eat Spinach www.realkidseatspinach.com|
|Fueling a Fit Fam fuelingafitfam.com|
|Produce For Kids www.produceforkids.com/blog|
|Real Mom Nutrition www.RealMomNutrition.com|
|Driftwood Gardens http://driftwood-gardens.com|
|Cooking with Siri http://www.cookingwithsiri.com/|
|Mommy & Love http://www.mommyandlove.com|
|Eating Well Diary http://eatingwelldiary.com|
|Su’s Healthy Living http://sus-healthy-living.blogspot.com|
|Picky Diet http://www.pickydiet.com|