For those of you who are questioning my choice to give up meat for Lent – actually, wait – the one’s who are questioning it probably aren’t reading this, because they are too busy at their bible study group reading the ten commandments and eating chicken wings. Refresh my memory, but isn’t number seven on the list, “Thou shalt not kill”?
Of course, organized religion isn’t really about god, it’s more about feeling righteous, and you don’t need god to be righteous (or self-righteous) Just eat veggies instead. (But, let’s forget about hypocrisy for a minute, because if I get too self righteous I’m going to have to explain Venus fly traps.) Let’s just consider some real reasons to not eat meat, even if it’s only for a few weeks.
1. Factory farms are disgusting. Unless, of course, you like the taste of hormone-laden horse meat.
2. Large scale agriculture is by far one of the largest contributes to ecological damage.
3. I love my cat. I am I a pig-bigot?
4. Eating veg is cheaper and sexier. You can get two of these:
For the price of one of these – Sure, she’s cheap, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t taste like bacon….
5. We could just do the math:
In the analysis of long-term effects on meat diet, An Pan and his colleagues relied on a statistical study of an impressive scale. A total of 37,698 men and 83,644 women participated in the study. Their health, along with the diet, was tracked for 28 years in the second group, and for 22 years in the first group. During this time, 23,926 deaths were recorded in the two groups surveyed, of which 5,910 – from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 – from cancer.
“We found that higher consumption of red meat is associated with a significant increase in mortality from these diseases, and this relationship can be traced in the case of pre-processed and freshly prepared meats, with higher correlations for the pre-processed. – http://english.pravda.ru
A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who eat only plant-based foods — aka vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than nonvegetarians do. – the Mayo Clinic
6. Other obvious reasons – YUM, YUM and YUM:
Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos (from howsweeteats.com)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
8 flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup freshly grated manchego cheese
fresh cilantro for topping
chipotle lime crema
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
3/4 cup half and half
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
juice of half a lime
zest of half a lime
1/8 teaspoon salt
Season chopped sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and garlic, tossing to coat, then add sweet potatoes and stir. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are just softened and cooked through.
While potatoes are cooking, combine yogurt, half and half, adobo, lime juice and zest and salt, whisking well to combine. Set aside.
Once sweet potatoes are cooked, add in black beans and toss well. Cover and cook again for 5-6 minutes until everything is warmed through. Heat tortillas and serve sweet potato mixture topped with cheese, crema and lots of cilantro!