These days, I really don’t eat much meat.
That ain’t much at all. I calculated that number based on about 90 meals and 70 snacks during the month, so eating about 4-5 times per day, which is pretty normal for me.
So, we’re talking about only having meat 3 times in one entire month!
Believe me, it wasn’t always that way. I was a regular carnivore (probably like most Americans) for a good portion of my first 29 years (one week from 32—woohoo!).
I think like most meat-eaters, I couldn’t even fathom becoming a vegetarian or (gasp!)—vegan! How the hell would I survive without meat?! It just tastes SO GOOD!!!
So, it was really psychological, but I didn’t really know that.
Nope, it wasn’t until I watched a 4-minute TED talk (seriously amazing site) that helped me see HOW I could eat less meat.
This was all back in the summer of 2010—before I sold everything and went to Hawaii, before I worked at the vegetarian farm, and before I dove headfirst into the deep end of the nutrition pool!
Enter the talk…
Becoming a Weekday Veg.
I remember watching this and thinking, “oh—well, I could do that. I’m not giving up meat, I’m just going to have it on the weekends!”
It became this point of integrity for me (if you know me, you know I love that word):
I wanted to demonstrate (to myself) that I was stronger than my desires for meat.
(It also didn’t hurt that I had just finished up the original Optimal Living 101.)
Well, and yeah, Grant does make some great points about nutrition, too.
So, I took up the challenge in the Summer of 2010.
I went Monday through Friday, and by the time I got to the weekend, I thought, “I just went 5 days without meat and I didn’t miss it. I don’t feel like I need it…”—and then I was back to Monday and started again!
In no time, I was eating vegetables around the clock, all during the week, and so I never really “decided” to become vegetarian—it just happened. :)
It was funny that when I did start eating meat again (after about 6 months without), it was actually a psychologically tough decision to go back—“I’m going to START eating meat! Oh no!” Haha… :)
I’m not espousing that you absolutely need to be vegetarian or vegan.
In fact, I find those terms vague, as they only tell me what people don’t eat (animal products), rather than what they do.
My all-time favorite example: seeing a menu on Maui describe a Veggie burger as “meatless patty”—um, so what the hell IS in that thing?! ;)
Sadly, there are lots of vegetarians who still consume processed foods, sugars, and junk, and either justify or rationalize it because that item didn’t have a face.
I do, however, think that a more plant-based approach to eating makes the most sense (and science backs me up on this one). Making lots of vegetables the center of your diet, along with fruits, nuts, and seeds (we’re talking 70-80% of what you eat!) is the healthiest way to go.
I’m still experimenting with grains and legumes, and I know people who do well with including and excluding these items.
If you want to learn more about being a Weekday Veg, check out this article on Graham Hill’s site Treehugger:
After over 800 days of traveling, I can easily say that getting over this psychological hurdle of eating less meat (and more vegetables) has been one of the *best* decisions I ever made.
I feel good, I have the energy to do what I want, and I look goooooooood. ;)
OK—tongue in cheek on that last one (though it’s true!)—check out my health numbers for more concrete data.
What do you think about being a Weekday Veg? And what TED Talks have shaped your life?
I’d love to hear your response + any other thoughts you have below.
Looking forward to learning more!