Have your steak and eat it to. Just not so damn much of it.
Mark Bittman doesn’t care why you want to cut down on meat. He just wants to show you how to do it.
In a recent New York Times article, Bittman offers some very practical suggestions for cutting down on meat. One suggestion in particular is worth emphasizing:
Buy more vegetables, and learn new ways to cook them. Cutting down on meat does not HAVE to be an effort or a chore. Learn how to make vegetables yummy and you will enjoy making them the centre of your meal.
Don’t know how to cook veggies? Mark’s article has a few recipes to get you started. Though they are not vegetarian, his recipes illustrate that you meat alone does not make a complete meal. And if that’s not enough, go to a recipe site like Recipezaar or Allrecipes and punch in whatever vegetable you want to cook with. Or let the veggie blogs inspire you.
Mark’s article has a few other useful tips: simply buy less meat, prepare beans and grains ahead of time so they’re easy to prepare, and start looking at the veggie options at restaurants. He also stresses that you don’t have to panic about protein. How will you get enough?
The answer is “by being omnivorous.” Plants have protein, too; in fact, per calorie, many plants have more protein than meat. (For example, a cheeseburger contains 14.57 grams of protein in 286 calories, or about .05 grams of protein per calorie; a serving of spinach has 2.97 grams of protein in 23 calories, or .12 grams of protein per calorie; lentils have .07 grams per calorie.) By eating a variety, you can get all essential amino acids.
You also don’t have to eat the national average of a half-pound of meat a day to get enough protein. On average, Americans eat about twice as much as the 56 grams of daily protein recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (a guideline that some nutritionists think is too high). For anyone eating a well-balanced diet, protein is probably not an issue.