An August Challenge: Reverse "Meatless Monday"

While we were laying around in paradise last week, eating lots of bad-for-you food and drinking way to many daquiris, the Hubs and I were talking about how we needed to “crack down” once we got back and get back into shape. I make this statement a little too frequently, actually: “Monday, I’m gonna crack down again. I’m gonna start hitting the gym and eating right again.”

The Hubs surprised me. He does this from time to time. He suggested we eat vegetarian all week except one day for the month of August. I couldn’t believe my ears.
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. With so much vegetable garden bounty from both our garden and my father-in-law’s, you can be a vegetarian several days in a row almost by accident. We both really like grilled vegetables and fresh tomato salads, so I’m sure it won’t be hard to come up with enough variations to keep up satisfied and not missing meat six days a week. The August Reverse Meatless Monday Challenge is born!

A “minature white” cucumber from my vine
Freshly dug new potatoes from my garden and beans.

This project couldn’t be more timely, either.

This week, I read that the USDA has retracted an informal endorsement of the Meatless Monday campaign after meat industry outcry and some snarky tweets by a few Congressmen hailing from meat industry states. Which makes sense, afterall. The USDA is the agency charged with making sure Americans have healthy food to eat and the agriculture industry remains sustainable… (insert internet sarcasm here.)
Over the years, very few things that go on in Washington actually get me mad enough to fire back. But I talked myself down from my own snarky reply to the Congressmens’ tweets. Now, I am just baffled at the remarks. The two most alarming tweets are below:
        @SteveKingIA “USDA HQ meatless Mondays!! At the Dept. of Agriculture? Heresy! I’m not grazing there. I will have the double rib-eye Mondays instead.” (Rep. Steven King, R-IA)
I’m sure his cardiologist is thrilled.
       “Who at USDA thought ‘Meatless Mondays’ was a good idea? Anti-[agriculture] agenda at USDA is irresponsible, even for a day.” (Sen. John Thune, R-SD)

Last time I checked, the cultivation and production of vegetables was also considered “agriculture.”

No one can argue with the fact that the cost of healthcare is ballooning year after year, mostly because of treatment of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. While the statement from the USDA seemed to go the way of environmental concerns for eliminating meat one day a week, the plain and simple fact is that the “Western” diet is just not that healthy. Almost all Americans exceed the recommended daily and weekly amounts of meat in their diets. It wouldn’t hurt anyone’s waistline to go meatless one day a week. Shame on the industry and a few members of Congress for bullying the USDA to retract a gentle suggestion to it’s employees to choose a vegetarian option one day a week when dining in the company cafeteria! It makes me loose hope that our food system will never completely and fundamentally be changed when our decision makers subscribe to this type of thinking.

Which only motivates me to follow through with this project even more now. There are a few caveats, though, that I should disclose up front. Even the Eat Local Challenge has a few rules. I need to travel for work in August and some meals will be provided. So, here is my rule, we will eat vegetarian six days a week when we are cooking food at home or eating out in our local area. This rule should catch everything except when I, or Jeremy (there’s a slight chance he’ll have some work-related travel, also) , have to travel for work. And, when I do travel, I am going to try to do my best eat vegetarian, if there are meatless options. I still get meat one day a week, so even with the travel, I think this is totally doable. And, it’s supposed to be a challenge, so it’s not supposed to be a breeze. Here we go!


One thought on “An August Challenge: Reverse "Meatless Monday"

  1. Pingback: PROJECT RECIPE: Buffalo Falafel | Delicious Potager

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