Dare I say it…but it seems that plant-based diets are becoming a little more acceptable. Less “weird” to our meat eating friends and family. I think, or hope, that there is beginning to be a shift in the way we approach food: what constitutes food and its affect on our health. You may have heard of “Clean Eating”, “Meatless Monday”, Gluten Free Friday” and now, I would like to introduce to you: “Semi-Vegan”.
Mark Bittman is not a chef, but a journalist and a passionate home cook. He wrote the food column The Minimalist for The New York Times for years. He is also the author of several cook books, including How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Mark Bittman acknowledges that one of the ways to better health is through diet–to eat more plants and the diet that best represents this is Veganism. He makes the point that many of the dishes we eat and love, are already vegan, think fruit salad, beans and rice, eggplant with garlic sauce…..and on. I bet you can name at least 3 more. It is challenging to think about eating vegan for many people. It involves a cultural and societal shift. It involves overcoming the stereotype that vegan food is bland, tasteless and/or unappealing. So what Mark Bittman suggests is Semi-Veganism: replacing or leaving out the meat in one of your dishes once a week and in doing so, you will find yourself eating better and I think opening yourself up to the possibilities of vegan cooking.
I like the way he ends: “This is not a gimmick or even a diet. It’s a path, and the smart resolution might be to get on it.”
If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia Lowcountry, we can help you on that path. Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry gathers once a month. Keep your eyes here for details on our January 2012 meeting.