Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The NY Times and Bittman meets cutting back meat

Jed blogged about cutting back on meat. Like him I don't eat red meat. Unfortunately I didn't find Mark Bittman's article "Putting Meat back in its place" to be at all helpful for my needs though others may find it useful. Unlike Jed, I have seen plenty of articles that address cutting back on meat or becoming more vegetarian while on briefly touching on the reasons. Jed says the reasons aren't addressed, but they are briefly mentioned. The vegetarian and sustainable and slow food movements are quite diverse. What is relatively rare about this article is it's in the NY Times. We have arrived.

I don't remember if Jed was a vegetarian, but I was actually an ovo vegetarian and a little pesco for four years. I gave it up because some of my red blood cells are smaller than others, a Burmese variation of Thalassemia (I tested negative for the known Thalassemia genes, but my blood cells are clinically different) and I became anemic. It is possible to get all one's protein and iron from a vegetarian meal, but it's harder and frankly I didn't always have time.

One of the ways Bittman's article didn't help is that living in Mountain View, I do eat out at a lot of Asian restaurants. I dunno where he eats where the food doesn't revolve around meat. It's not in any down home Asian restaurant I know. I can't help but think he only eats in fusion Asian restaurants.

Also his tips are based on the premise how to stop eating a meal that revolves around meat. Because I was a vegetarian, my life doesn't revolve around meat. I feel satisfied with a meal that contains entirely vegetarian ingredients. For example one of my favorite lunches is Trader Joe's Eggplant Parmesan. I also typically eat a vegetarian breakfast, though more for convenience. However at some point I need to eat a meal with a complete protein source and iron. I find most types of beans difficult to digest, except for soy. I really like soy if prepared properly but so many people can't cook tofu properly and it tests rubbery and horrid. So that leaves chicken and pork for me.

I focus more on I buy food on buying from the farmers' market if I can and organic. I have not done the calculations of the amount of waste and pollution the pork we buy from the farmers' market generates versus a factory farmed vegetable from Safeway. I do also eat out and the food probably comes from sources I would not buy from. But as Bittman says it's about creating a lifestyle you can maintain.

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