I’m becoming a huge fan of Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Although he’s not vegan/vegetarian himself, he’s doing his part for the cause. The cause being, reducing the number of animals processed for food. Actually, I believe his cause is the environment, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. If people reduce their consumption of meat, both the animals and the environment will benefit. This is, of course, the “baby steps” approach, but it’s an approach that is more likely to affect change in the population at large. His suggestions are a pretty good way to ease your omnivorous friends and family into a less meat intensive diet. Most of us know that “demanding” or even simply suggesting that they go vegan usually doesn’t work.
Anyway, in yesterday’s New York Times, Bittman gives a few strategies on how to cut down on meat consumption. His basic statement is to change the focus of the meal, instead of considering meat the focus, he suggests planning meals around the “side dishes.” This is actually a good strategy for new vegans too, at least if our experience is typical of how most people make the transition. We relied very heavily on the faux meat products at the onset of our vegan life. As Jane’s gotten more comfortable with the new cuisine, we’ve been able to wean ourselves away from most of the faux meats. We still really enjoy some of the faux products (Riblets), and will base a meal around them, but the “meat” doesn’t occupy the center of the plate.
If Bittman’s article doesn’t give you enough suggestions to help your omnis eat less meat, Gary over at Animal Writings has been writing a very comprehensive series directed at meat eaters, entitled “easy ways to reduce meat consumption.” He’s already up to part 38, so you’re sure to find great tips there!