Skip to main content

One Year Of Meatless Mondays

On November 3, 2011, I wrote and posted my very first blog entry.It explained why I was making a commitment to observing Meatless Mondays for one year and why I felt the need to blog about it.Well, here we are a year later and I'm happy to report I did it!

For those of you unfamiliar the Meatless Monday movement, it is a global initiative to eliminate meat products from their diet one day each week (or about 15%). There are lots of reasons to consider going meatless one day each week. Some do it for health reason, others to promote a better environment and others still for ethical reason. In my case, I'll readily admit that my reasons were different (and maybe even more trivial) compared to the others. Very simply, I wanted to see if I could do it. Nothing more, nothing less. It sounded interesting and I wanted to challenge myself. If you want to know more about Meatless Mondays and the global movement, click here.

As I stated in my first post, I'm not a vegetarian. I don't particularly want to be a vegetarian (yeah, that bacon thing). I do however, like vegetables, so the idea of eating more of them one day a week didn't seem that daunting. What I didn't immediately consider a year ago was that I was essentially committing my wife, Cynthia, to a year of vegetarian cooking on those Monday nights were ate at home together. I travel in my job some, so there were probably a dozen Mondays that I was away from home. There were something int he range of another ten when we ate out locally on Monday. That still leaves about 30 Mondays that Cynthia willingly and expertly made vegetarian meals at home. Thanks for being such a willing an supportive partner.

So, you may ask what did I get out of this grand experiment?

First and absolutely foremost is the satisfaction of having made a commitment to do something that I didn't have to do and required a change in behavior and sticking to it for a full year. Secondly, it exposed me to a pretty heretofore unexplored variety of foods that, as it turned out, I liked a lot. During the year, we ate meals that included quinoa, farro, tofu, forbidden black rice, adasi and falafel. (If you haven't figured it out, each of these links will take you to the original blog post on the topic).

Another curious outcome of the past year is that I simply ate less meat - not just on Monday, but in general. There was a higher level of conscious thought about what constituted a "meal". When we ate meat, we both seemed to eat less of it. Instead of two steaks, we would cook one and split it (after all the recommended portion of protein for an adult is around 4 oz). The makeup of our dinner plates morphed in a way that the meat was more of a side dish and the vegetables were more of a main course. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that this is some path (for me) to vegetarianism - it's not. It is however, a redefinition of how a meal is constructed. For those of you that worry that this type of diet is protein deficient, don't. We ate lots of beans, lentils and other protein rich non-meat foods.

So, after a year, I have decided to stop doing Meatless Mondays. Why? It's not that I have lost my faith in their overall goals. I haven't. In fact, I strongly support what they promote. For me, however, the goals have not only been achieved, but have been integrated into my routine - every day. I eat less meat (more than 15% less than I did before) while still enjoying it when I do eat it. I've discovered that there are plenty of vegetables, grains and fruits that can add taste, texture and enjoyment to meals. I feel like I'm eating a more balanced diet - every day. Institutionalizing it to Mondays no longer seems necessary for me.

If you're interested in reading about some of the other Meatless Monday meals I ate during the year, both at home and out, head on over to A Reluctant Foodie and explore. Thanks for reading!


  1. Less meat is the ultimate goal right - even it's not on a Monday! Congrats on your noble efforts!

  2. That makes perfect sense to me. It's all about balance and I think you have achieved that!

  3. Sounds like it was a great learning experience, and I enjoyed reading many of your recipes. I take a similar approach to what it sounds like you will know be doing...integrating a lot of vegetable focused meals into the week's meals. Sometimes it works out to do it on Mondays!

  4. Thanks David. I agree - it was a great learning experience that has opened up a whole new world of food possibilities for me.

  5. Hello David, I just stubbled upon you blog and very happy to see all the beautiful dishes. Great ideas and delicious. Congratulations in pursuing one year of your goal.

  6. I am a big fan of adding meatless meals to our weekly rotation. Looking forward to trying some of your creations.

    1. Thanks so much. There are quite a few sprinkled throughout my blog - hope you find some you and your family enjoy!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Oven Roasting Fresh Tomatoes for Pasta Sauce

A while back I wrote a post about using the preserved tomato sauce from 2008 that we still had in our pantry. It was the last jar of what was the best tomato crop we have grown -- to date. This weekend we picked and roasted the first batch from this year's garden with high hopes that we could match the richness of flavor from that magical year.

I wanted to share the process, especially since it's so simple, at least up to the canning, which I won't cover here. Those of you that can know it's not really hard, just a little time consuming.

The first step is pretty obvious, get yourself some tomatoes. We like to grow our own, but you can also buy them from a farm or farm market. Here's a little tip if you decide to buy -- offer to buy the "seconds", you know, the less than perfect tomatoes that everyone else has passed on. They can have blemishes, partial spoilage and even the occasionally bug hole. Don't worry, you're going to cut away any bad par…

2008 was a very good year....

...for tomatoes in Newburgh, NY. That's where we lived then and where we grew, roasted and canned tomato sauce. We actually did that every year but there was something magical about the quart mason jars full of that 2008 vintage. Last night, as part of Meatless Monday dinner, we opened the last one.  Nearly 4 year old tomato sauce you say? Isn't that, um, dangerous? Not at all if the jars are initially prepared correctly, the canning process is carried out properly and the seal remains intact. It was both exciting and a little sad to crack open that seal, but the finished meal made it all worth it. Cynthia's original recipe was a perfect use for that special vintage.

Herbed Crepes with Ricotta, Spinach and Chard Filling
Ingredients (crepes) 1 cup AP flour1 cup + 2-4 tbsp liquid of your choice, could be stock, milk, beer, water or any combination thereof - I used 1 cup Better than Bouillon No Chicken and 3 tablespoons of Duck Rabbit Milk Stout beer3 large eggs2 tbsp unsalted q…

Authentic Unbeatable Swedish Meatballs!

Think Ikea, But 100 Times Better
A Guest Post by Anneli from Delicieux
I am delighted to be back here on A Reluctant Foodie doing another guest post for Al. Our last challenge (Stuffed Peppers) was such fun that we decided to do it again and this time I suggested 'Balls"!

'Balls' was a fun choice as it gives such a large scope for experimenting - meatballs, fish balls, rice balls, chocolate balls, ice cream balls...the possibilities are endless. Not to mention the childishness of repeatedly writing 'balls'!! (and yes, I'm 36, not 3!)

In fact, I had no trouble at all deciding which 'balls' I was going to make, it was inevitable. I am half Swedish and I was brought up in a house where certain Swedish foods were regulars at our table. I was aware of Ikea and their meatballs before the rest of the world began their love affair with them.

My Mormor (Grandma) used to make them fresh and serve them with dollops of sweet lingon berry sauce, boiled potatoes …