Act #42: Give peas a chance (Just on Mondays).
I am the un-coolest vegetarian of all time. Unlike most of my vegetarian friends, my path to giving up meat did not evolve from high ideals of social justice, concern for the treatment of animals, the sustainability of our environment, or even a desire for clean, healthy eating. I wish I had a more romantic, honorable reason for giving up meat when I did 5 years ago. But I don't. I gave up meat simply because one day out of the blue, I became utterly and completely repulsed by it. The day it all went down: I was preparing a grand Cuban feast complete with shrimp ceviche, fried plantains, black beans and saffron rice, and the biggest, fattest, bloodiest chili-lime marinated pork roast you've ever seen. As I was hand rubbing and massaging the lime and spices into the meaty roast (something I've done a million times over the course of my lifetime), bright red blood slowly swelled up surrounding both palms until my hands were dripping with blood like I had just personally committed murder on this pig. I stared at the dead animal carcass in front of me. I stared at both of my bloody palms. And I never ate meat again.
I began searching for possible reasons why one might suddenly develop an aversion to meat. So I began to read. I dare say that anyone who reads up on factory farming, cruelty of animals, the food processing industry, the status quo of food production and consumption, the obesity epidemic, the vulnerability of food and water supplies - would become a vegetarian too. So if you are like my husband and know without a shadow of a doubt that there is not a thing in the world that can come between you and your cow, please don't read. You may however want to consider replacing your farm animals with some fresh veggies every once in a while. You've heard of Meatless Mondays, right? Perfect day to give it a try.
Besides the fact that you'd be sparing the life of a cow, or at least part of one - by eliminating meat from your diet just one day each week, you may actually improve your health and reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. How cool is that? An added benefit is that you'd also be reducing your carbon footprint and saving precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Yeah, it might be nice to ensure that that stuff is around for our kids years from now.
I promise, you won't even miss meat if you try doing this just one day a week. Erase those thoughts of pitiful-looking bagged salads and canned vegetable soup from your mind. Think ooey gooey crispy eggplant Parmesan. Thick and hearty southwest 7-bean chili. Creamy roasted vegetable pot pie. The interwebs are abound with "meaty" vegetarian recipes. You may actually start looking forward to Monday nights.
So go ahead, save your heart, save the environment, save a cow. Not a bad way to start the week, if you ask me.