Join millions of Americans who plan to abstain from eating meat for just one day in celebration of the Great American Meatout — held the first day of Spring — March 20.
Since it’s inception in 1985, the "meatout" concept has grown and taken hold, from a once a year event to a newer weekly version dubbed "Meatless Mondays." This grassroots campaign promotes the health and environmental benefits of going meatless — even if only for one day. Since most people would agree that foregoing the burger for just one day is not asking too much, it has gained acceptance even with mainstream American eaters.
If you have ever thought about trying to live lighter on this planet, want to explore the ethical reasons to eater lower on the food chain, or perhaps just want to lose some weight and get healthier. Eating a meatless diet could be the answer. Try it out for just one day and see how it feels.
Of course you won’t reap huge health benefits in that short a time but some people swear they feel a difference. It’s not even that radical a concept when you think about all the vegetarian foods that are probably already in your diet. How many times have you eaten a cheese pizza, bean burrito or macaroni and cheese? Peanut butter or hummus sandwich? Cereal or pancakes for breakfast?
If you are already there, or that sounds too easy, push the envelope a bit and try to go vegan for a day. That means no meat, dairy or cheese, eggs or other animal by-products (e.g. gelatin, honey, or whey). Makes it a little harder but still very do-able. How about oatmeal for breakfast, a salad with beans for lunch (skip the ranch dressing) and spaghetti with marinara and roasted vegetables for dinner. Interested? For more information about the meatout and some great recipe ideas check out: www.meatout.org and www.livevegan.org.
We’re hearing more and more about the health benefits of eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains and less meat. I don’t think anyone can argue against that. If you are interested in learning more about going vegetarian — learning recipes and connecting with like-minded people there are a lot of support events in our community. The Compassionate Living Outreach group sponsors a vegan dinner and discussion the first Friday of the month as well as a pot-luck and speaker monthly on Saturday at the Humane Society. This Saturday’s speaker is Dr. Alan Goldhamer from the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa.
There is also a monthly pot-luck on the first Sunday of each month in Penngrove. So many ways to connect and learn, if you are motivated! For more information on all these local events go here.
If you are too intimidated to try your hand at cooking but still want to support this one-day event, Sonoma County is rich with restaurants that cater to the vegetarian crowd. A few that you might want to try are The Slice of Life in Sebastopol, Lydia’s Kitchen in Petaluma and Gaia’s in Santa Rosa.
One restaurant here in Rohnert Park that has some mock meat dishes that are really tasty is China Delight on Golf Course Drive. All Indian restaurants have vegetarian entrees, as do most Italian/pizza places.
My personal favorite veg-friendly place is the Redwood Café in Cotati. Aqus Café in Petaluma also has some yummy options (try the tempeh reuben...delicious!). I could go on and on — this list is by no means exhaustive. I hope it tempts you, though, to try a new place or a new dish in your usual hang-out.
Let’s see if we can’t get this county to go meat-free for just one day: Tuesday, March 20. It might just start a new trend!