At this point in time, nearly everyone reading this article either knows personally or knows of someone near to them who does not eat meat. Vegetarianism and veganism have gone from being a near-stigma and subjects of ridicule generations ago to seen by some in the here-and-now (including an increasing number of scholars and scientists) as one of the tools necessary to save our environment.
Regardless of how you or I may feel about the ethical and moral implications of animal consumption, growing numbers of studies are showing that the system now in place in the U.S. and the world over is reaching dangerous and unsustainable heights. With global population poised to reach 9 billion people by the year 2050, and famine and world hunger reaching epidemic levels here and abroad, concerned individuals everywhere are starting to deliberate on what to eat and take into consideration what they are putting in their body and what our dietary habits are leaving the next generations to deal with.
This level of discourse has also made its way into my own home. A few years ago, my wife (then fiancee) decided to stop eating meat, which is a personal decision that I have never disagreed nor agreed with. It was and is hers and hers alone, but a decision I very much respect. It’s hard to do in this day and age, in a largely carnivorous American culture, and especially in a geographic location not exactly known for easily accessible vegetarian and vegan fare. In the ensuing years, we adopted a mutual stance of tolerance and acceptance for each other’s intake, trying our best not to become grossed out at neither hamburger nor Boca burger.
The phrase “weekday vegetarian” was bandied about a few months back at a party I attended, and caught my attention; “How does one undertake such a thing? Why even bother? Isn’t it a tad hypocritical?” Well, yes and no. Of course, by still eating meat, I would be contributing to the problems of factory farming, eco pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the ethical dilemmas involving the process of bringing meat to my table. In the end, I decided that any step forward was a positive one.
After a bit of research on the topic and a series of frank conversation with myself, I decided that Weekday Vegetarian was a great idea, simple enough to remember, and almost brilliant for those who want to reduce their global imprint but aren’t quite ready to quit cold turkey and would like a palatable variation (both puns unapologetically intended).
The Weekday Vegetarian diet doesn’t necessarily mean that Monday thru Friday there is an absolute rigid restriction on meat. Rules are broken every so often, but never with reckless abandon and to be honest not very often at all. At times, however, travel to unknown places, special and family events often test my otherwise strong resolve. But even now, my own family has learned to lovingly accommodate our quirky dietary concerns, and a quick Google search of a new city quickly points us to the nearest veg-friendly joint (or at the very least an open Taco Bell).
With Weekday Vegetarianism, I’m happy to report, I’ve been able cut around 70 to 80 percent of my meat intake, not to mention losing some weight and saving some money in the process!
Now, there is no wrong or right way to eat, or live for that matter. You people know that. I would never suggest to anyone that what I do or don’t consume has any intrinsic worth to anyone but myself. However, there are so many people out there interested in eating and living more consciously, but the idea of “going veg” had always seemed to be an ironclad issue of black and white; you either eat meat or you don’t, with no middle ground whatsoever. For some that’s fine, but I sincerely believe that if we all tried to think a little more about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, even if it’s as simple and seemingly easy as what we eat, we as a world would be a better place for everyone (and everything) that calls it home.