Recently my husband and I watched Cowspiracy on Netflix. Cowspiracy is a documentary exploring the effects of animal agriculture on our environment. Last week, The Blog Bloom announced a challenge that they have created for themselves (and others) to eat only locally grown food for the month of August. And lastly, our garden is FINALLY starting to produce a good amount of veggies for us. All of these things made me decide to try to spend August focusing on getting simple with food.
Okay, so Cowspiracy...I liked it and here's why: While it did talk about the negative aspects of animal agriculture on the environment, it did not villianize farmers. It actually focused on how poor of a job environmentalists are doing about recognizing animal agriculture as a problem for the environment even though the United Nations did a study and basically said that animal farming is worse for the environment than all of us driving cars! The documentary came to the conclusion that if anyone truly wants to call themselves an environmentalist then they must adopt a vegan lifestyle on top of their low-flow showerheads.
Now, I do not plan to become vegan or even vegetarian because...BACON. But I've watched enough other documentaries and read enough articles to know that a mostly veggie diet is better for your health and, now it turns out, the environment. That's why I've started to try more vegetarian dinners, made with vegetables grown by us or bought at the local farmers market.
Not only is this cheaper on our family's grocery budget but it is better for us, and could help save the environment. A quote that The Blog Bloom shared when announcing their challenge to eat local this month that I found extremely profound was:
“Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles….If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”
Wow! Food that is not locally grown and raised contributes to the need for more fuel usage. Plus, the extra time spent in processing, transportation, and sitting in the grocery store leads to the vegetables loosing nutrients.
I realize that us having a large garden makes it much easier for us to eat locally grown produce, but as far as meat goes, we do buy off of a local butcher shop, but that meat is not necessarily locally raised. That's another reason I'm trying to focus more on vegetarian dinners, health benefits being the first.
Eating locally also means less processed food, which I'm not sure we've done very well with. We still buy Teddy Grahams and apple sauce pouches because they're easy snacks to through in the diaper bag. And I still buy white pasta, frozen chicken strips and Drumstick ice cream cones and I still drink my Mountain Dew even though I don't buy it to keep at the house. We do however, avoid frozen meals, canned soups and things like Hamburger Helper most of the time. We could still improve in this area.
So the goals this month are to continue to eat the majority of our meals straight from the garden, put up as much produce as we can for this winter, and to not drink pop for the rest of the month (which will probably be the hardest for me).
How about you? Do you have a favorite vegetarian dish or something that you cook with only local ingredients? Share it in the comments!
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