Eating Less Meat
Oct 12, 2023
Whether for ethical reasons, planetary wellness reasons, cholesterol reasons, or any other reason, eating less meat is in vogue. For some, its Meatless Mondays, for others, its going full Vegan. I've decided to eat less meat, and it lead me on a journey of self-education, and discovery.
I first began eating less meat when my doctor told me I had high cholesterol. The doctor recommended that I eat less red meat. So I began to eat chicken breast in place of beef and pork, and ground turkey meat in place of ground beef. This began to get boring rather quickly, so I decided to mix things up a bit by making easy, quick "bowls". These bowls were delicious, but started to get expensive. I made a bowl packed with delicious nutritious ingredients and spent over $14 on ingredients without any leftovers. For that much money, I may as well have just eaten something from a restaurant!
After realizing how easy it is to splurge on dinner even if you're cooking everything from scratch at home, I decided to cut back a little bit. Instead of barley pearls, amaranth, or quinoa, I'm using rice (actually, a 75/25 rice, quinoa blend). Instead of butter, I'm using olive oil. I even replaced the chicken breast with tofu for a while, but it wasnt filling enough, so now I use a blend of tofu, black beans, and lentils. Tofu isnt much cheaper than organic chicken breast, but black beans and lentils are about as cheap as you can get. After a few weeks of trial and error, I ended up reducing the cost of my dinner bowl drastically. My meal is now down to less than a dollar, and is more filling than I would ever have imagined.
Before I began this journey, I didnt put much thought into essential amino acid profiles. However, as I began researching ways to reduce spending by replacing meat with plant based options, I dove deep down the rabbit hole that is plant based nutrition. Essential Amino Acid profiles were only the beginning. Even though I had no plans to become vegetarian, I quickly learned how with only a fraction more effort, I could cut meat from my meal completely, and even save money. Learning about what plants contain calcium, iron, magnesium, etc, was interesting and sort of fun. Like a little puzzle where you have to figure out a matching set of nutrients without ending up with a huge bowl of stuff you'll never have enough room to eat!
Having made these changes to my diet, I still have no plans to go vegetarian or even vegan, yet. This simple change to my nightly meal prepped dinner has opened my eyes to the possibilities of a meat lover not eating meat... for a day or two. But maybe at some point in the near future, I will be able tear myself away from fried buffalo chicken wings, and dig into some fried buffalo cauliflower "wings". In fact, that sounds quite nice.