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Resolution Follow-up #2

July 27, 2011
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My second resolution of 2011 was to eat less meat. I thought this would be a big step for an omnivore such as myself. At the time, I thought that cutting out meat for 6 meals per week would be doable, but not quite easy as pie, (or cake, or something like that). I also expected to miss how I was eating in 2010. Oh, wow, was I wrong.

First let me say that I have been right in some of my expectations, eating less meat has helped my food budget a noticeable amount. I never purchase red meat for my house and the other lean proteins last quite a bit longer. I also found this to be the case when I dine out. Vegetarian meals at many restaurants are priced below those with meat. Cha-ching!

I was also correct in my belief that eating more meatless meals would reduce my carbon footprint. Only cutting out 6 meat-filled meals a week though did not reduce it by as much as I had hoped. By some counts, I only reduced my carbon footprint by about 0.28 tons. But, not to be defeated, I decided to amp up my meatless meals. I’m now holding steady at 15 vegetarian meals each week. When possible I choose vegan meals as well, although I do not eat vegan in my house, just at vegan-friendly restaurants around town like: Pattycake Bakery, North Market, Northstar, Chipotle, Columbus Brewing Company and Betty’s Family of Restaurants. (Check out Yelp for these and other vegan-friendly restaurant suggestions.) The food at these restaurants and others is so delicious that it is difficult not to fall in love with it.

As a side note, I have chosen not to focus on vegan meals at home for a couple of reasons. Vegan options can break my budget. Even with the savings from going meatless, I find that vegan food erases, and in some cases eliminates, that savings. I also find that when I cook vegan meals for myself I don’t care for it nearly as much. So, since I’m still an omnivore, I’ve chosen to keep dairy and egg-based products in my fridge.

Back to my carbon footprint idea though. I think that I’ll be closer to cutting out 1 ton with my new plan. Especially now that I’m being more choosey with my meat-purchasing selections. (Check out the EWG guide for details on how you can make better meat-purchasing decisions too.) And going meatless more often has not been that difficult. I’m still working through how much produce to buy for one person, but I had that same issue before too. Practice makes perfect, right?

Lastly, I expressed that I thought I would be a healthier person eating less meat. So far, the jury is still out on that one. I feel about the same as before, although my meals are certainly more colorful, which indicates that there are probably more nutrients in what I am eating now versus before. Once I find the way to balance the complex carbs in my diet I think I will feel a difference. Then again, it is possible that the shift has been gradual enough that I can’t quite recall how I felt before. I also wasn’t that unhealthy in 2010. Maybe in 2012 I will amp this resolution up again and see a bigger change. I think I have it in me, but man, do I enjoy a good bratwurst. Mmm, sacrifices.

So far this year, I don’t think that this resolution has been as much of the sacrifice as I thought it would be. So, why didn’t I do it sooner? I think a change like this that seemed substantial at the time was easy to put off until tomorrow. I am so glad that I’ve made the change though and stuck with it. I’m even more happy that I amped it up. So many resolutions that people make each year get dropped by the wayside within a couple months, weeks, or days. Here I am in July with my head held high, already looking forward to 2012 and the resolutions and changes I can make to stay on this path and make it a lifestyle. I think if I can do it, anyone can, and I recommend giving it a chance. You will most definitely surprise yourself.

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