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Race to the Meatless

It’s not that far-fetched to assume that, at one time or another, many people around the globe have considered going meat-free. And the reasons vary—you’re a pet-lover, a friend is a vegetarian and he or she encourages this way of living healthier or you have seen the all-too-disgusting and very real videos that animal rights groups post to the internet.

No matter your cause for vegan-like thoughts, the arguments for eating less or no meat at all are prevalent. And if a guilty conscious or queasy stomach has you leaning toward an animal-free life, you may still be asking yourself, “How am I gonna do it?”

If you’ve ever heard Frank Sinatra croon, “Lets take it nice and easy…” then you may get the picture: The solution is to start off by taking it slow. Read on for a few tips on how to cut back on meat without going buck wild in one day. You may just save a piggy.

Protein, schmo-tein. Ask anyone what he or she thinks about you pulling back on meat consumption, and most likely their first question will be, “But what about protein?” The truth is plants have protein, too. In fact, a cheeseburger contains 14.57 grams of protein in 286 calories, or about .05 grams of protein per calorie. A serving of spinach, however, has 2.97 grams of protein in 23 calories, or .12 grams of protein per calorie.

Stop making meat the center attraction. Try changing up portion sizes by taking smaller servings of meat, and larger helpings of what are typically considered to be “side dishes” – veggies and whole grains.

Set some rules. This might mean committing to eating a vegetarian dinner three times a week or simply skipping bacon at breakfast. Either way, it will be helping you trim meat from your menu.

We want to know: What tactics have you used to cut back on meat consumption? [New York Times]

Posted: 6/11/08