Mark Bittman has gained a lot of attention in the last few years for his stance on eating meat…or rather, not eating meat. One of his most popular books “VB6: Eat Vegan before 6” details his journey from “overweight and pre-diabetic” to healthy and medication-free. Taken from his website (which I encourage you to peruse): Mark Bittman faced a medical directive: adopt a vegan diet or go on medication. As one whose professional and leisure time revolved around cooking, eating, and enjoying a wide variety of fine foods, neither choice was appealing, yet it was clear something had to give. His solution? Shift the focus of his diet to vegetables, fruits, and grains, following a strict vegan diet (no meat or dairy) and eliminating processed foods for most of the day, then eat the foods he simply couldn’t give up forever only after 6 p.m.—and (mostly) in moderation. Beyond that, his eating plan involved no gimmicks, scales, calorie-counting, or point systems—and there were no so-called forbidden foods. Just wholesome, all-natural, mostly home-cooked meals that were as varied and satisfying as they were delicious. The results of this dietary recalibration were swift and impressive. Best of all, they proved to be lasting and sustainable over the long haul.
It seems like every day there is a new article or study touting the benefits of a plant-based diet. Even the government can’t fight the studies indicating this to be the more healthful approach to our diets. Every 5 years the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) meet to discuss and amend the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Some of the changes from 2010 to 2015 include recommending limited amounts of meat, particularly red and processed meat products, and more plant-based foods in a person’s diet. Basically: more plants, less animals.
So how can you turn your Meatless Monday, into meatless meals? As Mark Bittman suggests, start small. Take one meal that you would have a burger, for example, and replace it with a veggie burger (try homemade options over replacing meat with processed soy-based products). Take that taco tuesday and make them with mushrooms, spinach, and beans instead of ground meat. Choose one meal a day (to start) and opt for a vegetarian entree. There are many, many amazing blogs with wonderful recipes to get you inspired. Check out a few of my favs:
- The First Mess: Laura’s photos will be the first thing to draw you in, but it’s her unique and impeccably-tested recipes that will keep you coming back for more. She makes vegetarian cooking feel completely doable!
- Green Kitchen Stories: “Eating is about feeling good, not following rules.” That’s what David and Luise, the voices behind this dynamic vegetarian food blog, insist. And it shows in the friendly tone and inherent excitement that underlies each and every post.
- Cookie & Kate: We only link to her recipes every other post…so you know we love this blog!
- Naturally Ella: Here you can search by Season or Special Diets (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free) and you can also read all about Erin’s pantry inclusions in her Bulk Bins Section (great information on whole grains here).
- My New Roots: Sarah Britton’s site is a true celebration of whole foods and seasonal ingredients. Sarah is a holistic nutritionist and develops mostly original recipes that exhibit great variety
- Sprouted Kitchen: Sara and Hugh Forte are the powerhouse couple behind this visually stunning, almost-always vegetarian (they feature fish occasionally) blog — Sara develops the recipes and usually writes the posts, Hugh photographs the food (and sits down and enjoys it with Sara!)
- Happyolks: Beautiful writing, beautiful recipes.
I will leave you with this: after reading too many articles on the treatment of animals and conditions of slaughterhouses/farms/etc., even my meat and potatoes husband went totally meat-free for 3 months, and only consumed meat recently twice when he could control the source (AKA…a local farm like Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co.). If he can do it…anyone can.