While the vast majority of Americans are probably not ready to embrace vegetarianism as a lifestyle, there appear signs of a slight movement away from meat as the meal focal point.
It could be another sign of the recession-driven weaning process, of our withdrawal from excess. Environmental concerns certainly play a part, too, as does our national obesity epidemic.
Reporting for boston.com, Devra First, makes note of several indications of meat retreat.
â‹… In his book â€˜Food Matters,â€™ Mark Bittman espouses eating a vegan diet during the day and whatever you want in the evening. The cover of his book includes the subtitle, â€˜Lose Weight, Heal the Planet.â€™
â‹… Philadelphia magazine restaurant critic Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond’s new cookbook, â€˜Almost Meatlessâ€™ is filled with recipes that are light on meat, highlighting flavor over flesh.
â‹… Michael Pollan, Slow Food advocate and author of â€˜In Defense of Food,â€™ spoke at Tufts University recently and reiterated his simple message: â€˜Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.â€™
â‹… There was much hoopla over the groundbreaking of the White House garden as First Lady Michelle Obama cheered â€˜Let’s hear it for vegetables!â€™ along with a gathering of fifth graders.
â‹… Oprah went on a vegan diet for three weeks. If that’s not a sure sign of a trend…what is?
The environmental aspect of this movement can’t really be ignored. The cover of Manning’s book includes the subtitle, â€˜Lose Weight, Heal the Planet.â€™ Bittman’s book calls out his â€˜Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet.â€™
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization report, â€˜Livestock’s Long Shadowâ€™ calls animal agriculture a major contributor to climate change, pollution, and land and water degradation. The report claims that livestock generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation. (Meat industry spokespeople dispute these findings.)
An oft-cited statistic from the 2006 report â€˜Diet, Energy, and Global Warmingâ€™ asserts that reducing our intake of animal products by 20 percent would save the same amount of energy as if we all switched from driving a Camry to a Prius.
For those of us who love a sizzling Porterhouse steak, me included, that’s certainly food for thought.
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