Eat Less Meat - Lose More Pounds (and Fewer Dollars)

We had visitors here from Thanksgiving to yesterday, and today I'm working hard getting ready for Christmas travel. Please enjoy this post I wrote a few months ago for another blog, which is new here and still contains eminently relevant thoughts.

A new article from Mark Bittman at the New York Times just popped up in my newsreader. It continues a theme the Minimalist has been pushing a lot lately, that of eating less (but not no) meat.

The reasons to cut back on meat consumption are many and are covered in various past articles. Some important ones are improving health (as meat is generally high in saturated fat), cutting costs (because meat is more expensive than grains and produce, even with rising costs for grain -- animals here are fed grain, after all), and reducing environmental impact (in several ways, including this weird yet true bit: Cattle flatulence is a source of air pollution).

We've cut down our meat consumption considerably while living overseas. Our egg sandwiches are baconless, and our burgers are often made out of beans. The ultimate reason for us is that we are on a tight budget, what with the currency having tanked this year. Subbing beans for beef is economical and healthy.

Still, I've also reduced meat portions in straight-up meat-and-potatoes meals. Now, we share one boneless, skinless chicken breast piece between the two of us rather than each having our own, for example. (I do pound them flat and cut them into cutlets first, though, so it looks like a normal size).

But even though this is ostensibly "less," I find it's better this way. Growing up, we were never big meat eaters in our house. I don't know why, but the habit of cutting up a portion of the meat dish into small pieces for the kids to take never left my mom. Thus, even as a teenager I was putting maybe six small cubes or a chunk smaller than a deck of cards on my (American-child-sized, European-adult-sized) plate and considering that a full portion. I never grew to like big meat portions much, always preferring the side dishes.

In a way, then, I feel like I'm getting back to normal rather than moving away from it.

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