It occurs to me that recipes and tips might be just the prosaic, down-to-Earth help that some folks need to make the move from eating meat. It's all well and good for celebrities to encourage dietary changes that will "save the planet" (not my favorite phrase) but actually doing something about that - actual people making actual changes - that's an entirely different story.
Americans eat a LOT of meat. Over 270 pounds per person, per year. While that's nowhere near as much as a steer weighs (an adult male averages over a ton) it is still a LOT of meat. Going 90% vegan would mean reducing one's (average) consumption to just 27 pounds of meat per year - about a half pound a week, or two 4 ounce servings.
Looked at another way, if you need 2000 calories a day to fuel yourself, that means 200 of them could come from animal sources a day, more or less.
My recommendation - going 90% vegan - is just what it sounds like. Get at least 90% of your daily calories from plants, and no more than 10% from local, organic, free-range, sustainable animal sources.
Schwarzenegger says that asking people to go completely vegan or vegetarian is asking too much, and I hate to admit it, but he's right. As a vegan I got more than my fair share of horrified gasps and blurted comments, along the lines of "I could NEVER give up MY bacon!" and "What do you even EAT?!?!" so I know that most folks - that is, most Americans - aren't going to give up all of their animal protein.
But 90 percent vegan? I think that's do-able. Even 80% vegan is better for the planet than not trying to reduce your calories from unsustainable factory-farmed meat. It’s something I think every American can do - and SHOULD do - for some pretty obvious and simple reasons. It’s good for your:
And it’s also good for the
Not sure anyone would argue that going 90% vegan is good for one’s waistline. As a 100% vegan I lost 60+ pounds - then gained those pounds right back when I tool to eating meat again.
You might think this is a pretty shallow reason to go 90% vegan – but if that’s what motivates you, who cares? Anyway, dropping that extra avoirdupois should be good for your health. Lower blood pressure, etc., etc. is a good thing!
As for your wallet – well, it’s certainly a no-brainer that you can save money if you’re not buying meat and dairy. While it is certainly possible to inflate your grocery bill if you aren't a careful shopper, eating at home more, cooking from fresh ingredients, and replacing expensive cuts of meat with whole grains and beans and tofu can make a big difference to your bottom line. The savings aspect of this will be the subject of posts explaining HOW.
Finally, while it might not be immediately apparent to many that going 90% vegan can help save our planet from global climate change, in fact, it CAN. Here's Mikko Alanne's great blog post explaining the concept.
It's been a year since my last post, and in the interim I've been blogging over at at the Daily Kos as well as trying to keep up my own climate change blog. Let's see if I can get my fingers flying even faster, and start posting recipes and shopping tips here!
Thanks for reading... and please (really, this time) - stay tuned!