This post was written in honor of Food Day 2015, which is this Saturday, October 24th. What is Food Day? It is a chance for all of us to explore and celebrate healthier and more sustainable food, both with our families and with our larger communities. In other words, it is a cause that is near and dear to my heart!
For decades now people have assumed that I am a vegetarian. Maybe it is because I’m from Boulder, Colorado. Maybe it is because I am passionate about many social justice issues. I don’t know. For years, though, I felt guilty. As if I were somehow betraying my own true self. I flirted with vegetarianism, buying tons of vegetarian cookbooks and cooking primarily vegetarian meals, but it never fully stuck.
Overtime, though, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of eating any meat. I became more and more aware of the toll that conventional meat took on the environment, the animals involved, and my own body. So about 13 years ago I made the decision that from that point on I was only going to eat what I call “happy meat.” To me, “happy meat” is meat that is sustainably and humanely raised without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. Usually, but not always, it is organic. And more often than not it involves leaner meats (i.e., poultry and fish).
When I started down this path there were a couple of things that I had to come to terms with. The first was that I basically stopped eating meat at restaurants. This was hard at first, but now when I go to a restaurant that serves “happy meat,” I am completely overwhelmed by all of the options and usually opt for a vegetarian dish. The second was that I couldn’t afford to eat much meat. The meat that I was willing to buy was (and is) more expensive, so I was forced to start thinking more carefully about how I ate meat, when I ate meat, and why I ate meat. In the end it became clear that I had to cut way down on the amount of meat I was eating. So I started learning ways to eat less, but better meat.
Since making the transition, I have developed five tips and tricks that have been helpful to me. I truly believe that in making these changes I have come to more fully enjoy and savor the meat that I do eat. So if cutting down on meat or shifting away from conventional meat towards the “happier” stuff is something you have been interested in, perhaps these tricks will inspire you to try:…