Monday, July 12, 2010

My Vegan Mondays

More than the antidote to my six-days-of-nonstop-purging, My Vegan Mondays is a conscious effort to be aware of what and how I eat. I’m reminded of this as I just started Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, a brilliant little book from which you’ll hear me quoting bits in the coming weeks ad nauseam, I’m sure.

I actually gave up red meat over 10 years ago after reading one of Michael Pollan’s articles in The New York Times Magazine. In this article, he had adopted a calf in order to follow its short life within the cattle industry. In doing so, he explained how beef is such big business (requiring 18 pounds of grain for every pound of meat they produce; pigs are moderately better at around 13 pounds and chickens and turkeys are around 5) that the cattle farms can’t afford to wait for cows to properly (naturally) mature. This would take years. They have only months before slaughter. So, how can they speed things along? Give ‘em growth hormones! And corn! Lots and lots of corn!

Never mind that cows eat grass. Their stomachs aren’t meant to consume corn. So they get sick and get infections. So they get injected with antibiotics. And so by the time that crummy pound of beef has been produced, it has not only taken 18 pounds of grain, but it has been shot through with growth hormones and antibiotics which are then transferred to your dinner plate.

At the same time as the article, I read a sort of ‘state of the world’ report by the UN, issued at the turn of the millennium. It basically stated that as more nations got wealthier and the population continued to rise, there was greater demand for meat. Greater demand for meat meant more resources going towards producing it. Which often, sadly, means the destruction of other resources and all the garbage up above.

So I will conclude my little diatribe by saying that it’s for environmental reasons that I don’t eat red meat (I do eat chicken and seafood). But everyone has to make their own choices and not eating red meat is easy for me (unless I’m at a French dinner party and don’t want to offend the host. Whoops.)

But, maybe, just maybe, if I start sharing good little bits of helpful information along with my Vegan Monday menus, I’ll sway some on-the-fence omnivores. Who knows? Stranger things have happened…

Coffee & soy milk
White peach
A couple of bananas

Salad of grains—bulgur, pasta and potatoes—and veg: tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, beets
Dried figs
And, the most god-awful rice pudding thing from the natural food store. I bought a packet of two; the other is in the trash. Blech.

Killer dish I made yesterday: lentils with sautéed zucchini, eggplant and carrots. That’s it. I don’t know why it was so good.


  1. I love your idea! I believe I am going to start it next monday, and then I will be blogging about it very shortly!!!

  2. I have not eaten red meat in almost 40 years.
    My children have never eaten red meat.
    We are all ridiculously healthy and we owe it all to The Husband, who quit eating meat after seeing or reading something about the meat industry.
    I do eat fish and chicken ..

  3. The dinner sounds really good! :D but sorry about the rice pudding, I can't imagine rice pudding tasting awful!..

  4. How did you make the "killer dish" ?

  5. Mmm, sounds delicious! Another amazing book about the food industry is "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" -- it really was so enlightening, and I'm so much more cautious about what I eat!

  6. Pollan has changed so many lives for the better.
    Monday was my first NO-ice cream day.
    Sunday was supposed to be the first but then I went to Bastille day and there was pistachio gelato.
    Eat QUINOA!!!
    At least you can get it ready cooked (brand Bio) in the supermarche. We'e=re not that advanced here :(

  7. I think even for us quasi vegan/vegetarian/curious eaters, with a bit of awareness, there are minor victories in sharing our views and just trying a veggie diet. It's nothing new, eating for a more sustainable planet (I still have to read Diet for a Small Planet from the 80s), but it's important to keep the dialogue open! :)

  8. I read about your vegan monday's on Aquainted With the Night. Love the idea!