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Trying to Eat Less Meat? Here's Help

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Long ago, meat lost its starring role in my diet. Like many aspects of my life, my diet was profoundly influenced by the year I spent teaching English in South Korea.

There, meat could be found in almost every dish, but it wasn't a dominating ingredient. A sprinkling of pork flavored the spicy kimchi stew, some dried fish added depth to broths, and a lone clam sank to the bottom of the tofu soup I ate almost every day for lunch.

Koreans love meat (just not American meat, if you've been following the news this week!). DIY BBQ places line the streets, and a favorite Friday night activity was eating pork BBQ at a streetside restaurant with my fellow teachers. We sat on small plastic stools, coughed from the smoke rolling off our combination table/grill, and drank pungent Korean soju to wash it all down. Even there, we rarely ate meat by itself. Though the samgyeopsal (pork belly) or moksal (pork chops) were the star ingredients, we carefully wrapped each bite in an entire Romaine lettuce leaf, along with roasted garlic and onion, grilled kimchi, ssamjang (a combo miso-pepper paste) and a bit of pickled radish.

In today's NYT Dining section, Mark Bittmann writes about "Putting Meat Back in its Place." www.nytimes.com/2008/06/
(Warning: You might need to sign up for a free log-in to read the full story. Please do. It's definitely worth it!)

Bittman, a self-proclaimed meat lover, is, like many of us, cutting back on the amount of meat he eats. He's not giving it up cold turkey, but he's trying to make less of the focus of the meal.

In most foreign cuisines, "meat is seen as a treasure, not as something to be gobbled up as if it were air," he writes.

Like any gastronomical "vice," be it chocolate, red wine, or ice cream, there is room for meat in a healthy lifestyle. It's all a question of moderation. Bittman offers great pointers for people who are trying to wean themselves off the 16-ounce ribeyes found on most restaurant menus.

I've already cut meat from my diet, but my boyfriend found the tips quite helpful and informative. He's a flexitarian, meaning he eats vegetarian meals several times a week (any time he eats at home).

Are you eating less meat these days? What are some ways that you make a little meat go a long way?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am trying to introduce more vegetarian meals to my family. My kids are okay with it but my husband is very resistant.
    3754 days ago
    Thanks for the heads up on the NYT article. We've never been heavy meat eaters. My son decided to become vegetarian about 13 years ago and we've cut back a little more each year. I'm finding so many good vegetarian main dish recipes and nutrition information here that we probably don't eat meat more than twice a week most weeks, and those are usually a chicken and a fish meal. I never would have believed it a few years ago, but I LOVE bean entrees.
    3916 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    Milk and eggs are both cheap sources of protein. emoticon emoticon
    3921 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    Milk and eggs are both cheap sources of protein. emoticon emoticon
    3921 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    Milk and eggs are both cheap sources of protein. emoticon emoticon
    3921 days ago
    i've never been much of a meat eater, but i still like it in small doses, which is why i never became a vegetarian. my husband has also recently been trying to consume less meat. we like to make thick vegetable stews, especially with winter coming. sometimes we add ground turkey and sometimes we don't.
    3921 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    I have found that I like the new veggie burgers and other substitutes for meat. I could go without meat but not my hubby so trying to get him to change as he has mild kidney disease and should not eat a lot of protein so together we will conquer and stay healthy.
    3922 days ago
  • no profile photo SSORDI1
    I have found these comments very interesting. My husband cut back on meat a while ago--but I still loved my steak--but i have noticed that little by little I am going meatless more--I have been with Spark People since late February--and learning more everyday--I started to become healthier--and I know I am! Some days it is hard but on the whole--I am doing a great job!
    3923 days ago
    When I stopped eating meat, I dodn't lose any weight, but I feel better and my food is cheaper!
    3924 days ago
    We have cut back on the amount of meat we eat. Now we have more vegetarian meals during the week than ever before.

    emoticon emoticon
    3924 days ago
    3925 days ago
    I love to eat, no doubt about that, but that is of course part of my problem and why I'm a SparkPeople person. I try sometimes to eat no meat at all at a meal and not eating meat is not a problem for me. What is a problem for me is that I don't quite know how to go completely veggie. For one thing my husband likes his meat so how do I get around that?
    I do however eat less meat where possible. Sometimes when we go out to eat I will order a meal with no meat and my husband always orders something with meat like country fried steak with gravy. YIKES! I don't see how he eats that.
    Thank you for sharing this information. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3926 days ago
    Yes that is so true every time we go shopping we come home less cause I like to buy salads, Vegetables, Fruits, yogurts, beans, cheese, we do buy Chicken, and Fish,
    { No Beef }-- emoticon Trudi ;-)
    3926 days ago
  • SUZ424
    My 14 year old daughter adopted vegetarianism about 5 months ago. We all eat more meat-less meals now. It's definitely a cheaper way to eat and better for our health and our planet.
    3926 days ago
    I love meat but reduced the serving size about 20years go. I love vegetables too.... I love food and that is the problem.
    I enjoued my world meatless day emoticon
    3926 days ago
  • MS_LADI28
    Good info!
    3927 days ago

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3927 days ago
  • 145HEALTHY

    I'm one of those that uses meat to flavor a dish. That started as a result of a tight budget about 20 years ago. that's not to say I don't enjoy a 6oz. slab of beef once in a while, but that's a treat.

    Thanks for sharing.
    3927 days ago
    Thanks for sharing

    3927 days ago
  • JEN1239
    Thanks for sharing this information
    3927 days ago
  • CESAU5679
    I inevitably and unintentionally follow a flexitarian diet. That's just what happens when you listen to your body and just give it what it wants (in moderation of course!)
    Keep Sparking!
    3927 days ago
    3927 days ago
    3927 days ago
  • PMP9255
    I ate meat free breakfast and lunch, dinner was beef barley soup homemade had a little bit of roast beef in it but mostly vegetables and I added brown rice. I just started working in a health food store, so I am trying to eat healthier. Adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet and subtracting red meats. emoticon
    3928 days ago
  • BARBIE66
    I had breakfast and lunch meat free but ate dinner already and had fish.. tomorrow will try the whole day see how it goes..
    3928 days ago
    i normally eat meat, but today no meat. I'm not sure if eggs are meat. I ate eggs, peanut butter, and chicken. Maybe chicken is a meat? Well I tried. emoticon
    3928 days ago
  • CHUCKLES0719
    Very good advice. Love kimchi. A former daughter-in-law from a town south of Seoul introduced us to it. Though she and my son are no longer married, we have three wonderful "half-a-kids". That is what Tae Mae called them because they were half Korean and half Caucasian.

    > emoticon

    3942 days ago
    I'm a flexitarian but strive to be as meatless as possible. I've lived overseas in Spain for 2 years and do alot of seafood but still keep it in it's right place. It is so good to eat lots of veggies with any meal whether it includes meat or not. I love all the info that you bring to us each day here on SparkPeople! emoticon
    3949 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this! I am a flexitarian but I always enjoy new tips and tricks on how to make it easier :)
    4384 days ago
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