Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's Not For Dinner?

Mark Bittman in the New York Times provides a staggering statistic: “Americans eat more meat than any other population in the world; about one-sixth of the total, though we’re less than one-twentieth of the population.”

I wasn't aware of this, but over the last year I've been doing my part to reduce this figure. For a number of reasons, I've been cutting back on the animal flesh, including:
  • Reading Michael Pollian’s In Defense of Food. This book taught me not only just how bad too much meat is for you but also how resource intensive it is to produce meat. For example, The Telegraph points to a study that concluded that “Producing 2.2lb of beef generates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car non-stop for three hours." Damn. And don't get me started on the U.S.'s damaging addiction to corn subsidies.
  • Acid reflux. Eating less meat results in less intense reflux, an unexpected but very welcome side effect.
  • CSA meat. For a year or so, I was getting all my meat from a CSA which taught me just how much better locally-produced, organic meat tastes than the mass-produced stuff you buy in the supermarket. Seriously, if you haven't tried a good steak from a local farm, you don't know what you're missing.
It's not that I dislike meat: quite the contrary. I just don't eat as much of it any more. And it turns out that i'm not alone. In the same article, Bittman  writes that
The Values Institute at DGWB Advertising and Communications just named the rise of “flexitarianism” — an eating style that reduces the amount of meat without “going vegetarian” — as one of its top five consumer health trends for 2012. In an survey of 1,400 members, more than one-third of home cooks said they ate less meat in 2011 than in 2010. Back in June, a survey found that 50 percent of American adults said they were aware of the Meatless Monday campaign, with 27 percent of those aware reporting that they were actively reducing their meat consumption.
Nice to be on the cutting edge of a trend for a change!

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