It's been three months since I became a weekday vegetarian for environmental reasons and thought this would be a good time for an update. If you read my reviews of Graham Hill's Why I'm a Weekday Vegetarian TedTalk, or the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, you'll know that cutting back on your meat consumption may do more for the planet than taking short showers or riding a bike to work. Giving up meat on weekdays has been easier than I imagined, and I don't feel silly for making a sacrifice that is big for me, but only a drop in the bucket when you look at the world's population.
This is what I have learned from being a weekday vegetarian so far:
- We don't need as much protein as we think and this took a lot of the pressure off when I realized I was aiming for twice the requirement. There are also lots of packaged foods that are fortified with protein. While I would rather get it from a natural source, I do enjoy my new Special K cereal.
- My skin looks great and I don't know if it's the diet, but everyone keeps mentioning it. I haven't lost any weight but that wasn't a goal. I'm just glad that I have the same energy levels at the gym.
- Friends ask if I feel healthy and full of energy. I do. We don't miss out on anything by eating animal products just on weekends. I do have cheese and eggs, but I try to drink almond, soy, oat or coconut milk whenever I can. Dairy is bad for the planet too but I'm not ready to give it up =(
- What am I eating instead of meat?? Spinach, lentils, peanuts, almonds, avocados, quinoa. You can also get pasta made from quinoa, lentils and even black beans, with lots of protein. Good stuff.
- The hardest thing has been going to my gramma's house for lunch and trying to tell her that I don't each meat, chicken or fish. Somehow that feels rude. Technically I could eat meat on weekends but I really love vegetarian food and I am starting to lose my appetite for animal products.
So that's my first three months of part-time vegetarianism. It would be amazing if we all cut back drastically on our animal consumption. Sustainable fishing and farming are things we tell ourselves to feel better, when there are too many people on Earth for us all to eat meat everyday. If you haven't watched Cowspiracy, it's available on Netflix. And personally, I really really like Graham Hill's 5 minute Ted Talk on why he became a Weekday Vegetarian. That one did it for me, even though I didn't follow through right away.