Meat-Free week is this week, February 4th through 11th. There are a number of cool meat-free events (mostly involving food, of course!) run by DC Vegan, The Kindness Collective, and Compassion Over Killing. I’m going to try and get to at least one event but I’ve been feeling a little under the weather this week so we’ll have to see.
In honor of Meat-Free week, I will share with you my adventures into partial veganism! Exciting! As you know, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 4 years now. I love it and I’m not thinking about going back to meat any time soon, if ever (sorry, N and JJ). I got into vegetarianism mostly for three reasons: 1) I wanted to reduce my impact on the environment (sources here and here); 2) I wanted to incorporate more vegetables and whole foods into my diet and focus on eating healthier; and 3) I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do it!
I have successfully fulfilled #2 and #3. But what about #1? Yes, reducing my meat consumption has absolutely reduced my environmental footprint. But cheese (and other dairy products) is also a big water-guzzler, fossil fuel-guzzler, and polluter (source here). Some studies that I’ve read even rate it as high on the environmental villain list as chicken! Not cool. And dairy in general, while it has benefits (protein and calcium), also has some dietary pitfalls.
So I decided that in 2013 I am going to try and significantly reduce my dairy consumption by not actively purchasing any eggs, milk, yogurt, or cheese. I’m not going 100% vegan – just not purchasing these dairy products on my grocery trips. I’m okay, for now, with trace amounts of dairy appearing in my food (e.g., cream in a can of tomato soup). Also, while I will try to go vegan outside the home by taking advantage of vegan options in restaurants, generally this is really hard to do – and can drastically limit your social options (I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that I’m not ready for that level of commitment yet). So I’ll stay my usual vegetarian outside of my own home.
Note: I know that what I am attempting is not veganism. It’s not even close! I’m just trying to do my part to reduce the environmental impact on our planet by reducing my overall dairy consumption. Who knows, maybe this will open all kinds of new doors for me in terms of food and health! And who doesn’t want that in 2013? 🙂