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Meat on the menu? (part 1 of 2)

from Jennifer

Vegan. Vegetarian. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Low Carb. These terms used to bug me. I used to think these dietary choices (unless dictated by a health condition) were pretentious and especially annoying when it came to catering. However, today, I write to you as a convert. Last November, I tried eating vegetarian for a whole week. I made it through the week without cheating only to celebrate at the end with a menu tasting for my step-daughter’s wedding—a gluttony of pork stew, chicken mole, carnitas tacos, and spicy sausage skewers. I ate everything guilt-free.

I quickly realized that I ate so much healthier the week I went vegetarian. Because I wasn’t filling my plate with a bunch of proteins, I had to get creative if I didn’t want to eat pasta every night. Over the past eight months, I’ve slowly eaten less and less meat. Thankfully, my husband eats just about anything I put in front of him and doesn’t balk at the lack of meat on his plate.

My decision to eat less meat started with a desire to eat healthier (more veggies!). As I researched vegetarian recipes, I came across articles and statistics that reinforced the meat-free way. The horrific processes at factory farming plants not only broke my heart but destroyed my appetite for McNuggets. I assume that most people don’t know what happens in those factories or else there would be a lot more vegetarians/vegans.

Additionally, the environmental impact is extremely important. In early August, the UN Climate-Change Report was released and called for people in richer countries to eat less meat. There are many environmental advantages to eating less meat, but I am no expert and won’t pretend to be. There is plenty of information all over the internet, so Google away!

Today I am probably 90% vegetarian. My job requires some quality control of our catering output, and I generally love food and trying new things, so meat comes with that territory. Occasionally I will give in to a strong craving for meat with the assumption that my body is lacking some nutrient that the meat will supply—or at least that is what I tell myself in the moment! J I’m not perfect, and I think it would drive me crazy if I tried go 100%.

I am not at the end of my meat-less journey, though. I plan to experiment with more vegan options to reduce my reliance on animal-products in general. A friend was telling me about a dairy-free butter that was delicious. That’s a tough one, because I REALLY love butter. But I will try anything!

I’d love to hear about your recommendations, meatless journey, and vegetarian/vegan recipes.

Check out a couple of my Pinterest boards for some vegetarian and vegan recipes.