Like most of us, I went through a brief vegetarian phase; unike many of us, I don't have a better reason for why I started eating meat again than marrying a non-vegetarian and finding it easier to include meat.
My daughter also claims to be a vegetarian, but it's apparently an obscure form of vegetarianism that includes things like sausage and cheeseburgers, just not chicken or any other meat she doesn't care for.
We try to have a couple meatless dinners every week; it saves money and I find I feel better when I'm not eating meat every day. As it turns out, we're part of a trend: There's a campaign afoot in blogland to make Mondays meatless, and now the ad guy who developed the "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" campaign is getting into the act.
Sid Lerner, who developed the Charmin campaign, got interested in eating less meat to improve his health. He started his own nonprofit to boost the idea, and plenty of chefs and food bloggers have also taken up the cause. Even Mario Batali is working on a vegetarian cookbook.
Meatless Monday is built around the idea of eating less meat to lessen your intake of saturated fat. It's not an animal welfare or green thing, although eating less meat is a great way to green your diet since meat uses far and away the most resources of anything on your plate.
If you've never tried to give up meat, there's a lot more to eat than just tofu (which can actually be delicious if prepared properly; I pan-fry it before adding it to stir fries and it's so good my kids fight over it). Summer's a perfect time to try more meatless dishes, with vegetables and herbs at their peak and abundantly available. Substitute a portobello mushroom cap for a burger on the grill, or stuff zucchini or eggplant with grains and cheese. If you're really a serious vegetable hater, there's always pasta with pesto or macaroni and cheese.
I'm going to try meatless Mondays; our meatless dinners are often the only meal where we drop meat, but my kids aren't huge meat fans anyway, and my husband doesn't care about meat as long as something tastes good. We both love a good slab of beef, so full-time vegetarianism isn't happening. Eating less meat is not only healthier, it saves money (one 95-cent can of beans feeds my family of four as part of another dish) and is good for the Earth.
Will you try Meatless Mondays or cut back on meat in other ways?
Image via ultrakickgirl/Flickr