Friday, May 9, 2008

Changing How We Eat: The Protein Plan

Eating locally grown food is important for health and the environment. My household is working on finding local farmers to buy our meat and dairy products from, and plan to grow and store much of our own produce. However, after using environmental footprint calculators, and reading things like this...
NPR: Is It Better to Eat Locally or Eat Differently?: Talk of the Nation, May 9, 2008 · When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, what you eat may be more important than where that food comes from. A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicates that replacing the calories from red meat and dairy products with calories from chicken, fish or vegetables could have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as shifting to an entirely locally-grown diet.
...I am becoming aware that we need to also cut back on our meat and dairy consumption. Fortunately, my boyfriend (meat and potatoes kind of guy) is very supportive of the Sustainable Living Challenge, and we are working to change our diets.

The Protein Plan:
  • Lunches- Instead of meat and cheese we now have sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly, hummus, or egg salad (all homemade but the peanut butter).
  • Dinners- 3 nights of week we have meat and 4 nights a week we have a bean dish (Sometimes leftovers incorporate both).
  • Meat- Beef will be locally raised and at least somewhat grass-fed, and we will also try to eat more poultry and fish.
I have found that the new Protein Plan saves time and money. Meat takes longer to thaw out and cook and the storage time is less than meals made with the other protein sources. Per ounce of protein, eggs and beans are less expensive than meat. Peanut butter can be a little expensive for the natural stuff, but I love it. I hope to eventually be able to harvest wild growing nuts in my area, which will cut down on the cost.

I have come up with lots of great bean recipes, which are fun to make, delicious, and very good for you. I will be posting some soon. If you know of any good egg or bean recipes, please add a comment.

Cutting down on dairy may be a little harder though- we are Wisconsinites. I am making my own yogurt, and will soon be trying this method of homemade butter, but we are really big fans of milk and cheese. Think the neighbors would notice a cow in the back yard?

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