an experiment and a winner

November 18, 2009

vegan . . . for a day
you don’t have to be an avid reader of this blog to know that i am FAR from vegan. in fact, in cooking through martha’s great food fast over the past year, i’ve definitely eaten more red meat than i’ve ever eaten before.

just one of many examples: martha’s steak sandwich served with sauteed peppers and onions. mmm.

for me, i do not believe that being vegetarian (or vegan) would lead to greater health benefits. i find the protein from meat to be very satisfying in modest amounts, and most of the time my meat consumption is just one meal per day (unless i’m trying to use up leftovers for lunch!).

in case anyone is wondering, i definitely did not gain weight while cooking through martha’s book — meat + potatoes included (disclaimer: the project does not include her desserts! 🙂 ). i actually think that the traditional plate of protein/carbs/veggie is a great way to eat, provided that these elements are present in the right proportions.

however, while i have no problems with the nutrition side of meat, i do worry about its environmental and economic impact. after seeing food, inc, i’ve made a point of buying all of my meat at whole foods, which has high baseline standards for the treatment of their meat products. if there is a local or higher-humane-level option available for the product i am shopping for, i always choose that one, even if it means spending a bit more.

but that still doesn’t solve the environmental impact problem. i wonder how ethical it is for me to be eating lamb that is shipped in from new zealand (that’s a LOT of energy to move it from there to here!) or cattle with its enormous associated carbon cost. i don’t think that humans NEED meat to survive at all. i just like it and enjoy having it as part of a diet that works for me. but is that really fair? or just selfish?

i do think that after i finish my martha project, we will eat meat somewhat less often, and red meat even less frequently. but i don’t think i will ever put an all-or-nothing label on my food group consumption — despite being that way about some other things, i learned long ago that it doesn’t pay to be that way about food.

that being said, i think that there is value in being more mindful of the impact of one’s diet. mark bittman is vegan before dinnertime, which i think is an interesting way to go. this week, bloggers from silly tater tot and eating journey are hosting a ‘vegan for a week’ challenge.

i’m a little late in the game this week (see the sumptuous, non-vegan, non-vegetarian pizza photo below), but i think that would be an interesting challenge to undertake in the new year. for now, i think i will plan on just participating for a day! the official date suggested is november 19, which is perfect, because

a) i have the day off!
b) wine is vegan (thursday is the meetup at six plates!)

i will plan on blogging the day’s eats (and there will be A LOT of them, because i also have my 20 mile run planned!), and will aim for 100% vegan. while i certainly don’t plan on making any sweeping lifestyle changes long-term, it will be a fun adventure! join me if you are interested!

and the winner is . . .

gina! her answer to what she is looking forward to is:

“Going home for the holidays! Ahh, I miss my bed, my parents, and pup!

congratulations gina! send me your address — for my budget’s sake, i’m hoping it’s not in australia — and i will mail you the honest foods loot! and definitely report back on what you think.

one more shift!!
well, really two more total until the month is over. but i’m super-jazzed for my day off on thursday — my first day off WITHOUT the death flu since . . . november 2! i have a fun and relaxing day planned that i’ll write about tomorrow. because for now, it’s off to work!



workout: 5 miles with 2 x 2 minute fast intervals (7:18 – 7:30/mi), on the treadmill. it was a fun and easy workout that went by quickly.

doin’ time: on break: i love the loop! it’s close, convenient, and such a lifesaver on those non-cooking nights.

i even like this cute graphic on their website.

it’s been forever since we opened a bottle of wine! this one was from our sonoma trip back in may — i remember thinking it was a ‘pizza wine’ when we originally tasted it, so i decided to crack it open!

YUM. could i live without this pizza in my life? yes. but i would be slightly less happy.

reading: i think my brain is on vacation already. oh well! too bad i just got an email about registering for next year’s pediatrics boards! it’s a $2000 test so i need to pass. that should motivate me to get my study on in the future!


  • Reply Chelsea March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Wow, $2000 for a test is insane. I guess it weeds out the less serious candidates- although I&#39m not sure how you medical school + internship + residency without being pretty darn serious.

    If you do decide to do the vegan before dinner thing, I&#39d be interested to see what you are doing for lunches. I&#39d like to do something similar, but I feel more satisfied having some kind of protein at lunch and soy seems to bother my stomach. So I&#39d be interested in the other options out there.

  • Reply Anonymous March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    hmmm i think i could go vegetarian for a day but i&#39m not so sure about vegan: definitely would be hard for me!

    and that is such an annoyance about paying so much money to take a test! and i thought the amount of money i paid for the MCAT and all the prep stuff was ridiculous!

  • Reply martinidad March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    i am thinking that cows that eat grass and are raised on farms are much less carbon negative than we might think – they produce much less methane (yuck), require less feed to be transported to them, require less antibiotics and they eat grass that subsequently re-grows, capturing more carbon. And they taste better, by the way. Grass fed beef…mmmm…

  • Reply shannon March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    I have just recently found your blog and am enjoying it a lot–I am a pediatric nurse that likes to eat, cook, read and am trying to get back into running so I find a lot to relate to here! In light of today&#39s post can I recommend a great book? "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer (maybe you&#39ve read some of his fiction?) It is an excellent exploration of this topic and great food for thought….pun intended!

  • Reply Anonymous March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    The steak sandwich does look great, and I am not a big meat eater!! The loop is definitely a cute place. Enjoy your day off tomorrow.

  • Reply hjlongmo March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    I love your attitude about meat-eating. I find myself echoing a lot of what you had to say – it really is all about balance!

    I&#39m curious how your 20-miler will affect your experiment. On days when I burn a lot of calories, I find myself craving meat even more, but that could just be me. You&#39ll definitely have an excuse for lots of peanut butter! Yum!

  • Reply Lu March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    I love the name of the wine. I could do vegan for a day. My love of cheese keeps me from making a permanent switch. Wow! $2000 for a test. That&#39s motivation to pass.

  • Reply Jess March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    There are quite a few days where I go vegetarian without even trying, but I tend to get a lot of dairy.

  • Reply sharon March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    i also agree that being vegetarian/vegan would bring minimal to no health benefits. meat is an important source of b12 and so much more (iron, protein, to name a few). However, it&#39s not like the human species can&#39t survive without it. I ate virtually NO MEAT at all my first 12 weeks of pregnancy because the thought or sight of it made me throw up…yet the baby seems to be doing fine (so far, knock on wood!) i did eat a lot of cheese tho, so i guess i wasn&#39t being completely vegetarian/vegan.
    We are on the same page about meat consumption and its carbon footprint, so I try to make a few dinners without meat (and Mike complains haha). Mostly things like tofu stirfry and veggie pizza or veggie risotto. I will start buying more responsible meat too once we have the budget for it (it&#39s sooo expensive!)…but in the meanwhile, i hope just cutting down on the meat is enough to not damage the environment too much!

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