Sometimes when I’m bored, I go to TED. It’s as good of a way to pass time as there ever was. Each video offers you a chance to hear someone accomplished say something insightful. I came upon this video one day.
Each TED video can be distilled into a central insight. This video gave me the idea that you don’t have to be fully vegetarian or fully omnivorous. The speaker in the video, Graham Hill, suggests that we can be vegetarian part of the time: on the weekdays to be specific. I decided to try it out when I got to college. I’ve been wanting to have a healthier diet for a while, but I didn’t really have much choice in high school. Now, when people get to college, it usually goes the other way: they gain the freshman fifteen. I wanted to do the opposite: become healthier than ever. (A side note: studies show that freshmen usually gain no more than three or four pounds.)
Why exactly did I want to do this? At home, I didn’t eat meat very often. However, I knew that I’d have access to it all day, everyday in the college cafeterias. Eating grilled, fried, or baked meat every meal is not as healthy as eating it at a more moderate level; this fact is common knowledge. Reducing meat intake by 5/7ths means that you reduce your the bad stuff that comes along with it by that much. You even (indirectly) reduce your contribution to environmental problems caused by the production of meat.
And why am I not going full vegetarian? Because I don’t want to. I do enjoy the occasional plate of hot chicken wings and Chicken 65. Plus, meat is a great source of essential proteins. I don’t want to have to chug down bean cocktails.
Weekday Veg has a nice ring to it. But, I didn’t want wait until the weekend. In my version, I am allowed to eat meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This spreads the carnivorous gorging evenly throughout the week. So, I’m following the Five Day Veg plan.
I also added some exceptions. Eggs are always allowed. They offer a daily source of protein. And I love scrambled eggs. A lot. Fish is always allowed because it is good for you. In practice, I dislike fish, so I never use this exception. Eating meat is allowed if you’re eating out with friends. I’d like to be able to eat anything I want if I’m chillin’ with my peeps. If I have to spend more to eat outside, I’d like to eat whatever I please. You can move the meals around if I like. If there’s something especially nice on Monday, you can make that the meat day, as long as you skip Wednesday. Finally, if you really feel like it, do whatever you want.
Now, these exceptions sound like they defeat the purpose of the plan. But they don’t. The idea is to consume less meat. After a few weeks on the plan, I defaulted to picking vegetarian options for all of my meals. I had to remind myself that I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted on meat days. Even then, I picked the vegetarian option much of the time. The idea is to make it attractive for you to go through with the plan, not to get a certification.
For some, using exceptions might be the rule. You might take advantage of them too much. It all depends on who you are, of course. But, for me this works. I’d say I eat a lot less meat that I would have. And that was what I was trying to achieve.
Make your own plan. The key is to make it fit your desires. You might want to start with a Meatless Monday, and then add on a Tuesday, and so forth. I’d be interested in hearing if/how you implemented your own part-time veg plan. Comment away!