2021: Plant-based versus MeatEater

Is 2020 over yet?! I can’t believe how fast and how slow this year has gone. We have endured so much anxiety, stress and worry this year. I don’t know about you, but I think 2021 is going to focus on our physical and mental health. If 2020 has taught anything, it was 1) Mother Earth legit sent us to our rooms to think about what we have done and 2) We need to invest in ourselves. We need to focus our efforts and energy into the decisions we make each day and ask ourselves, “how does this impact the life I am trying to live?”

That leads me to the following question our household will face in 2021: What’s for dinner?

If you know us on a personal level, you know my husband and I compliment each other very well. It works because we have many opposing views, still respect each other, but are willing to blend our ideas to collaborate in unity. In doing so, we have landed ourselves into a household that practices a lot of different ideas, especially in relation to food. I plan to focus my thoughts and efforts in 2021 on how food can affect our mood and how we can be mindful about what we eat. My goal is to shift our eating habits towards a plant-based diet for our health, the planet and for the animals.

It’s okay if you rolled your eyes…my husband just did! When I think about the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, my mind can easily go into, “what will I give up” mode instead of “what will I be gaining mode.” We decided to literally mix it up and focus our efforts on buying perishable food items, buying organic and supporting local farmers. That means, a lot of plant based food items, but also meat!

Our household decisions surrounding food will focus on one philosophy: “Where did this come from?” “Can I trace this back to the farmer?” “Is it perishable or is it processed too much?” This will change the way I shop at the grocery store (perhaps a much needed mid shift, too!) but I think we are up for the challenge!

I understand why individuals avoid meat; methane emissions https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2019/11/18/are-my-hamburgers-hurting-planet/ the treatment of animals, physiological effects on the body, etc., I also understand why people are meat eaters; humans have always hunted meat, health benefits of iron and protein, etc., There has been a shift in our food culture that has evolved over many years and I can’t help to think it is due to our privilege. We live in a society with an abundance of food (and food waste) so much that we get to decide what we want to eat at all times. We can deny ourselves certain foods because we have access to everything. I think we owe it to the world to be smarter when it comes to food, not just ourselves.

I received a lot of great advice and tips on going-plant based from the Green Matters Website https://www.greenmatters.com/p/switch-transition-plant-based-vegan-diet and a Food Farmacy blog out of Sweden https://foodpharmacyco.com/. These websites have a lot of ways on how you reduce your carbon footprint and shop smarter with Mother Earth in mind. The food you eat can either be the safest and most power source of medicine or the slowest form of poison. Switching our mindset to, “let’s pay the farmer not the pharmacist,” is going to be our motto for 2021.

But we moved to the Midwest…away from hippieville Colorado! Can we still live this lifestyle?! Yes, yes we can. Here is where we collaborate (not compromise; compromise implies someone giving up something. A little therapy tip I had to add in there!). Dustin is a hunter. I believe if you go hunting, you cook it and eat it. You do not hunt for the thrill alone, you respect the animal and do not waste. It is hard to find someone with a common mindset and promotes it so others follow. Then my husband found MeatEater.

Steven Rinella is the host of the Netflix Original series MeatEater and The MeatEater Podcast. He’s also the author of six books discussing wildlife, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking, including the bestselling MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Every Hunter and Angler (recipes I have completed are below).

When Dustin asked me, “hey, do you want to watch this hunting show with me?” my immediate response was, “hard pass, no thanks.” Dustin insisted that I would enjoy it and I gave it a try. I appreciated his knowledge on policy and legislation surrounding wildlife management and public lands and water. I appreciated his voice that spoke from passion for hunting but also for the animal. Plus, he is a darn good inventive cook! Below are just a few recipes we have done from his book (where you can purchase here: https://store.themeateater.com/products/the-meateater-fish-and-game-cookbook-signed-copy).

Duck Nachos
Goose Pastrami and pickled onions
Roasted pheasant in brine

At our farm, we will be growing a luscious garden with composted soil AND raise animals (humanely, of course). We can take care of the soil under our feet (if you have not watched Kiss The Ground on Netflix, go watch it now!), raise animals and be hippie plant-hugging people!

Needless to say, our 2021 resolution surrounding our health will be focused on how to eat better not just for our health, but to support the farmer, respect Mother Earth and her animals. Not conform to “being one thing or another,” just focusing on being healthier, better educated and smarter when it comes to buying (or better yet growing) food. Bon appetite!

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