Friday 13 May 2011

Where's the Beef?

Because food prices are rising and our income is not following suit, we made a decision some time ago that we would change our eating habits.  We now eat two to three vegetarian meals a week.  It helps to keep our budget in line.

My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and he complained mightily about the change at first.  In truth, I wasn’t such a big fan either.  It’s funny really, because back in my 20’s and even my early 30’s I was pretty much completely vegetarian.  My habits have changed since then but we’re both used to the new meal plan now, and actually find ourselves looking forward to some of the vegetarian meals that make a regular appearance on our dinner table.

Besides being more affordable, our vegetarian meals are a healthy lifestyle choice.  Eating a diet with less animal protein is believed to help reduce high blood pressure, high HDL cholesterol, high glucose levels, elevated triglycerides, and unhealthy waist circumference. In doing so, such a diet reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Vegetarian meals are also kinder to the earth. Animal protein takes much more energy (food) and space to produce than plant protein does.  In choosing vegetarian meals, we allow for production of a greater quantity of food, in less space, for less money.  These benefits are reflected in our food costs.
Many people argue that we are genetically and biologically disposed to eating large amounts of meat – the cavemen were meat-eaters as were the innovators of ancient China and the Renaissance. But today we are lucky enough to have life expectancies two to three times higher than in any one of those contexts.[i]  Our forebears ate a diet largely dictated by necessity.  We have a wider range of foods available to us and a better understanding of which of those foods are healthful.  We can make more informed choices.
It’s not likely that our household will become completely vegetarian.  We both like our steaks and roast chickens too much to give them up entirely, but an asparagus frittata with a salad on the side doesn’t go down badly either.


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