Swapping Meat for Plants

If you haven’t read the last post you should know my family is changing its ways. In the first of our four steps to become a more sustainable family, we have agreed to eat less meat. This first effort may be the greatest leap.  Its wouldn’t be that hard to supplant the meat dishes in our diet with more carbohydrate rich foods like pasta, bread and pizza.  My kids, 7 and 9-year-old boys, would love that.  Yet, our goals are to introduce a lot more vegetables as mains. 

The plan to achieve a more flexitarian diet:

  1. Bring the family in on decision making and solutions (especially our boys)
  2. Personally learn to like vegetables
  3. Find reliable recipes

Step 1: Convincing the Boys

I broached the topic one afternoon with the boys. The sell was easy because they still normally believe me. I had some help from the Rainforest Alliance’s primer on climate change. Its designed for children without scaring them to death. We learned a little bit about the global carbon cycle, the changing temperature and precipitation, the causes of these changes and what we can do to stop it.

After this discussion, a podcast and a video, they both made clear they could help. The younger one, Nolan, suggest we could eat meat two or three times a week.  The older one, Quinn, thought it would be better to just eat vegetables for one lunch a week.  Hmm…we are not on the same page…but a savior arrives…ground up crickets.

Out of curiosity of insect protein, I had purchased a few bags of cricket chips (Chirps).  I thought they might be gross…I was certain the boys would recoil…but the boys agreed to give them a try. 

That brown powder pile is…well…crickets.

It was an instant match and as they grabbed the bag out of my hand, Quinn noticed the back.  A diagram of the comparative impact of cows and crickets on the environment. They kind of got it. They both agreed I can choose how much meat we eat every week but not too many vegetables please (at least two meat free days a week).  This may be a win.

Step 2: Learn to like Vegetables

The next step is hard too because I don’t like many vegetables, its even hard to admit this. Even good friends just think I’m unsophisticated. The list includes but is not limited to bell peppers, beets, bean sprouts, raw onions, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, spring onions, radishes and most things in a “spring mix”. Bell peppers are by far the worst.

So I have started with the hope that my palate is maturing. Actually, I have learned through this great article on how to stop hating foods that a mature palate just means I smell less (flavor is a mix of smell, taste and texture). As a kid I was more sensitive to flavors and chemicals but as I get older those senses have dulled and things aren’t as repulsive. I did pick up mushrooms recently!

So I’m just doing it.  I’m just eating them.  I’m making simple salads for lunch.  I force eat all the vegetables on my plate. Recently, I had to eat a whole skewer of bell peppers because that was what was served. I did it…it was awful…no one noticed. It was a silent victory.

Step 3: Learn what to eat

The meal planning needs to both be rich in green plants and reduce our food waste. These have to be dishes the boys will eat… We need to be able to prepare just enough to ensure that left over food and ingredients are consumed before they expire. Wish us luck 🙂

Look out for updates on part 1 of the challenge!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s