Making Mondays Meatless

Bryce and I have attempted to make Mondays meatless since Bryce watched the episode of Oprah where she explained the movement and showed how she and her staff participated by, well, you can imagine. Unlike Oprah and her staff, our success has thus far been rather limited. And that’s wording things kindly. For every Monday we achieved our meatless goal, we failed miserably on five others. We turned whatever excuses we could into justification for meatful Mondays, whether it be work, family, travel, dining out, etc. We lacked the courage of our conviction and proper level of commitment. Plus, no one held us accountable. This morning, as I pondered what topic should fill my next blog post, I almost instantly thought of Meatless Mondays. What better medium than my new blog to better commit to the movement but also share our experiences and meatless recipes while possibly encouraging others to join in?

Now, I’m a self-professed lover of meat. (Insert dirty joke here.) Serve me perfectly grilled steak, tasty tacos de carnitas, mouth-watering roasted rack of lamb, blackened sea scallops, or anything bacon-wrapped and I’m happy as a kid on Christmas morning. I relish in a great meat-centric dish. That does not mean, though, I don’t love me some fruits and vegetables. Very few dishes, regardless of complexity, truly surpass the sublime taste of fresh heirloom tomatoes, hand-picked apples, or sun-ripened peaches. Shopping at the local farmers market to find such fresh produce always brings me a sense of excitement and sometimes inspiration. For Meatless Monday to be successful, we must rely on those unparalleled pearls of nature as well as other nutrient-rich grains, proteins, and dairy products. If planned and executed well, I doubt either Bryce or I will notice the absence of meat from our Monday menus.

I suppose your question now is why go meatless on Mondays? These days, so many organizations, movements, and individuals bombard us with ways to improve our way of life, making us more health- and environmentally-conscience members of society. Why choose this one? Meatless Monday’s core principle suggests that reducing our weekly intake of meat by one day produces a positive impact on both the human body and the planet. As Ina Garten might say, how bad could that be? They are not suggesting we overhaul our lifestyles completely, merely that we challenge ourselves to change eating habits one day a week – something easily manageable.  For more information about Meatless Mondays, please visit the campaign’s website: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/.

At the end of the day, I realize Meatless Mondays may not be for everyone. I do not intend for this blog to be a pulpit for preaching the completely meatless lifestyle (not that I find fault with that). I mean, seriously, did you read the bit about me being a meat lover? I do think, however, change is good, especially when the benefits to both my own health and that of the environment outweigh the costs. Besides which, I’m positive committing to one day a week without meat will also save money. Having an outlet with which to share my experiences may very well be the motivation Bryce and I need to finally make Mondays meatless.

And we get to eat food like classic Grilled Monterey Jack Cheese & Tomato on Rye with deliciously rich homemade Lentil Soup:

Grilled Monterey Jack Cheese & Tomato on Rye
Lentil Soup

For the lentil soup, Bryce has successfully prepared two recipes he found online – Ina Garten’s and Epicurious.com’s – with slight variations to both (which unfortunately neither of us remember). Both recipes make plenty for eating and freezing. Our dinner tonight came from the frozen excess and tasted just as good as, if not better than, the first time around. To garnish Bryce’s deliciousness, I topped his lentil soup with croutons, sliced tomatoes, parmesan cheese shreds, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Yum.

CJC

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