Shortly before the turn of the new year, Sona put an excellent post on her blog about making outrageous commitments. You can read the post for the full explanation, but the high points are that an outrageous commitment:
- Isn’t bound to any time frame.
- Comes from deep within.
- Is surprising, even to those who know you best.
- Is a commitment you only make for yourself.
And while I applauded the idea and Sona’s own outrageous commitment to become a yoga instructor, I didn’t feel like it was something for me.
You can make an outrageous commitment when you least expect it
Those of you who are keeping up with this blog already know that I’ve been working with a fantastic nutritionist since last July. Working with Leanne has been instrumental in helping me change my relationship with food so that I can be passionate about creating delicious, yet healthful, meals.
What I didn’t anticipate was how much a single cookbook would also change my views of food. After receiving a Chapters giftcard for Christmas, I picked up Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook. Apart from providing 500 phenomenal, yet simple recipes made with whole food, it also opened my eyes to some of the problems associated with eating a largely meat-based diet (and if you’ve read Sona’s review of Food, Inc., you’ll know this is on the minds of a lot of people these days). I didn’t know that it costs two calories of energy to produce one calorie of plant-based food, versus forty calories of energy to produce one calorie of meat-based food. I also didn’t know that the majority of grain raised in the US goes toward feeding the meat that we consume at our dinner table every day, and that if we took some of that meat off the table we could help eradicate some of the world’s hunger issues just by giving that grain to people.
That said, I know that I need to eat some meat to feel healthy, so my outrageous commitment is this: I am going to consume meat in much smaller quantities, using it as a garnish as Mark Bittman suggests, and trying to only have it once a day. Also, not only am I reducing the amount of meat I’m cooking with, but I also want to ensure that the meat I’m eating is both raised and killed ethically. To that end, I’m going stop buying factory farmed meat and buy it from a local butcher.
I understand that this may not seem outrageous to some people, but for me it’s huge. I’ve always been a big-time meat-eater, and this represents a major shift in the way I will be purchasing, cooking and consuming food going forward. It won’t happen overnight and I don’t think it will be easy, but do I think it will be rewarding, since I know it will help me to improve my health and will be more sustainable for the environment.
And why am I putting it out here? I want to be accountable. So go ahead and ask me how I’m doing from time to time. I hope I surprise both of us.