i took a long drive up to sacramento over the weekend, and had the pleasure of listening to a radio interview with mark bittman, new york times columnist and author of "food matters." he had alot to say on the issue of eating responsibly as far as the environment is concerned, and since i found them so interesting, i thought that i'd share.
bittman stated in his interview that 18% of greenhouse gasses arise from raising livestock--a sizeable amount, i actually thought it was much higher but i guess that doesn't matter. anyway, he also stated that the average non-vegetarian/vegan american eats 1/2 pounds of meat per day, along with 1 1/2 pounds of animal products (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.). that equates to 2 pounds of food daily, which doesn't leave much room for fruits, veggies, grains and beans.
bittman advocates changing this "over-consumption" of animal products, but not by cutting them out altogether. rather, he advises breaking the day into segments, stating that he often eats a vegan breakfast and lunch, and then a normal (carnivorous) dinner.
all of this really struck home for me, as i have had food on my mind a lot lately. if you read yesterday's post, then you are aware that i have challenged myself to get by on $100/week for groceries and gas--not an easy accomplishment for someone who is also trying to eat as organically as possible. in addition to all of this, i have also been thinking a lot about how to raise a new little eating machine. part of me really wants to try raising lucy as a vegetarian, while part of me believes that humans (especially those of us who are rapidly developing) are intended to eat meat. i really felt that my dilemma was an all-or-nothing issue, and wasn't quite sure how to proceed.
bittman's argument falls perfectly in place on the how-to-eat spectrum, without being extreme at either endpoint. i understand that our little family (lucy included) can change how we approach our consumption habits. we've never been meat-every-night people, but milk, eggs and cheese certainly pass through our fridge door quite freely. and, for the record, i'm not saying that i want to cut these things out altogether, or even cut back on them drastically. what i want is to start really taking note of the animal products that we consume, and figure if that amount really seems right in the bigger picture.
my budget has me taking more care about what i buy--each dollar that i spend seems like a small message to the food industry, as well as a marker for who i am and what i believe in--cage free eggs, hormone-free meats, beer from local breweries instead of stuff trucked in from other countries.
bittman recommends "whittling down" the consumption of animal products by eating vegan once per day. this is not unlike the pb&j pledge that i posted about a while back. for me, i think it's time to revisit that idea, and make a commitment to giving it a go. at this point, i think lunch would be the easiest meal to implement a change.
i'll try it for a week and get back to ya.