Monday, March 29, 2010

Meatless Monday Broccoli Timbales

Meatless Monday: one day a week make the choice to cut out meat.

In conjunction with the Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, Meatless Monday's goal is to improve the health of individuals and the health of the planet.

Going without meat on Mondays isn't a round-about way of promoting a vegetarian diet.

Rather, it's a campaign designed to encourage meat-eaters to be more aware of their health, for instance, less saturated fat is better for one's heart.

It's also a means of alerting meat-eaters to the impact factory-farming animals for human consumption has on the environment and ultimately the planet.

In previous posts, I've linked often to the Animal Welfare Approved site which certifies and promotes family farms (versus factory farms) that raise their animals (for human consumption) with the highest welfare standards.

So if you do eat animal protein, as I do, then choosing meat stamped with the AWA label or with other Humane Food Labels ensures that at least your purchase has not contributed to the environmental and inhumane scourge that is factory farming.

Additionally, humanely-raised animal protein is antibiotic and hormone free, which is good for the animal and for the consumer. And despite how ironic this reads, humanely-raised animals graze happily and live according to their species before being humanely slaughtered.

Humanely-farmed protein items have a slightly higher price tag. But by reducing the amount you consume, for example:
go meatless on Mondays,
eat sustainably-fished seafood a couple evenings,
3) eat no more than 3 ounces of animal protein at any one meal, then you can avoid going over budget.

So there are responsible and creative ways to eat animal protein with your budget, health, and the health of the environment, in mind.

This weekend I stumbled upon actress Alicia Silverstone's newly-released vegan cookbook The Kind Diet. Flipping to the part one, I noticed these section headings:

Nasty Food #1: Meat
Nasty Food #2: Dairy

Recently, I quoted a friend as saying, "sometimes food just seems scary." She was making reference to the way certain foods are represented in the media as cancer causing, heart-attack inducing, filled with chemicals, bad for your health, etc. etc.

When I read Alicia's "Nasty Food" labeling, I thought of my friend who finds topical information about food overly worrisome.

As a minimal-meat and minimal-dairy eater (but nevertheless a responsible consumer of both) I found the "nasty food" labels very worrisome since they advocate against the dietary choices of the majority, which is not vegan.

Beware nasty food labeling that is extreme.

A balanced diet full of colorful seasonal veggies, fruits, fish, small amounts of animal protein including meat and dairy, plus grains, legumes, nuts and seeds is a sound approach to health and wellness.

By way of making intentional and healthy dietary choices for ourselves and the environment, Meatless Monday is something we can easily integrate into our lives -- far easier than completely eliminating meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy.

With that in mind, I'm linking to a recipe I posted last fall for Broccoli Timbales. Delicious vegetable, egg and cheese-based individual custards, timbales can be served on their own as a light meal or with a side of rice or noodles, and perhaps a side salad.

Keep in mind that you can swap out the broccoli for carrots, spinach, chard or a combination of all three or your choice of seasonal vegetables.

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