18 April 2012

The 50 percent less meat challenge

There are a few reasons why it's a good idea to reduce the amount of meat we eat - it's a more environmentally friendly choice, it's cheaper and some would say it's healthier, although I am not convinced that it is for everyone.  I certainly don't think we have to eat meat every day and over the next month, I'm going to halve the amount of meat we eat, for no other reason than I want to. I challenge you to join me, for whatever your own reasons may be.

I think one of the problems when we do something like this is that the family might complain, but with a few carefully chosen recipes, or modifying old ones, it can be done fairly easily. Hanno and I were vegetarians for about eight years but when I read the Nourishing Traditions book we started eating meat again. I won't go back to being meatless again but our menu needs a shake up. I want to cut down on the amount of meat in a meal containing meat and to eat meatless a few times a week. I am hoping some of you will join me and share your favourite recipes, so those of us who do this, can build up a good selection of new, but satisfying, home cooked meals.

And that is the challenge - can you reduce the amount of meat you eat by 50 percent? The challenge will go for a month but for us, this will be a permanent change. For clarity, I classify beef, lamb, pork and chicken as meat. 

So how do we do this?

Now that the chooks are laying well again and we have the garden up and running, it will be easy to make up my favourite silverbeet/spinach pie. Click here to see how to make it.  I'll have to make the pastry or buy some filo but I have cream and cheese in the fridge and the rest of it in the backyard. That's tonight's dinner. I have celery in the fridge too so towards the weekend, I'll make up some potato and celery soup and serve that with a small wholemeal damper - easy, quick, economical and very filling.

Of course, over the course of the day we all need to be eating complete proteins and when you take meat out of the meal, that is more difficult to achieve. Meat is a complete protein, vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, eggs, cheese etc, are not, but by combining certain foods you can get complete proteins. For instance, beans alone are not complete protein but beans on wholemeal toast are. If you don't know about complete proteins, I encourage you to read this or to research it further.

I have some chicken in the freezer that we'll have on Friday night and possibly leftovers on Saturday, and by then I'll have sorted out some other meatless ideas. That is part of the challenge for me - to be more organised in my meal selection. We already eat meatless meals but I want to have a better selection of them. Generally I don't menu plan but over this coming month, I will, so I can get into the habit cooking with less meat. I hope to some great ideas from you.

Would you like to join me in this challenge? Please let me know here and also join in the discussion about it on the forum. I'll make a new thread for it later today. Remember, these need to be tried and true recipes that your family or friends love to eat. It will do us good to cut down on meat, doing it together makes it fun, and hopefully, sharing our recipes will give all of us plenty of great ideas for our own meal plans.
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