Why Meatless Monday?
I initially wanted to do it because, I admit, I can be a green-bandwagon jumper. I read about it on a lot of the blogs I read, and it seemed like a good environmentally-friendly thing to do, as well as a bit of an interesting challenge. I figured you might want some more compelling reasons, so I found a great Meatless Monday resource, sponsored by The Monday Campaigns and Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health. I'm so happy that I looked for this site; it has a ton of great recipes and resources for Meatless Mondays! There was a recipe for baked apple donuts that might be in our future. In any case, here are the reasons to have one meatless day a week, according to them:
- LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
- REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
- FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
- LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
- REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
- MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to
- 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
- HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
I've made a few attempts at homemade Indian dishes, and this one was a little different for me because it didn't really have any type of sauce. I made a few changes - I excluded the serrano pepper (didn't feel like hunting one down, and was, frankly, a little scared) and added about a half cup of chickpeas because
a. I wanted to add some protein
b. I love chickpeas. Seriously. I would have put 3/4 of a cup into the recipe, but didn't because I popped the rest like Cheetos while I was waiting for the potatoes to cook.
It was good! The smell was amazing. When it was just the toasting cumin and frying onions, I wanted to climb in the pan and close the lid and just SMELL.
Kevin's preference is for something a little "saucier," but admitted that it grew on him. One issue that I've had the 2-3 times I've prepared Indian (not from a jar) is that even if the dish has HEAT, it doesn't have as much FLAVOR as we would like. Does that make sense? Any suggestions?