Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Love a Good Steak--Rarely

I do love a good steak, but I don't eat many. I probably have one a year at  home--the rest are ordered at restaurants a few times a year.

Have you noticed you almost can't get vegetables with your entree at a restaurant any more, unless you order an extra side? I am staying at a hotel with my daughter and granddaughter while my daughter is in a practicum for her Master's program, so we have been eating out every day. Last night was the first night vegetables were part of the dish without having to order as an extra. Every other night, the entree has consisted of meat and a starch (usually potatoes or rice.)

In most restaurants, a salad is iceberg lettuce with maybe some shredded carrots, a tomato and some croutons. That hardly qualifies as a veggie. The side list also usually includes macaroni and cheese, baked beans, etc. There's nothing specifically wrong with these sides, but they are not green, orange, red or yellow.

I know a lot of people who won't eat anything green. My husband is largely in that group, although he does eat green beans and corn--not a big variety to work with in meal planning.

The US is largely a nation of meat eaters, although we do appear to be eating slightly less meat than in the past, although. Eating a lot of meat has a significant impact on our health, our budget, and the environment. NPR ran an excellent story on the environmental cost of eating meat recently. According to the graphic in the blog, a quarter pound hamburger requires 6.7 lbs of feed, 52.8 gallons of water, 74.5 square feet of grazing land, and 1.036 BTUs of energy. Quite an expenditure for the small amount of meat.

With a background in biology, I am not against meat eating in a moralistic sense--nature is pretty draconian in its approach to the food pyramid. However, what meat I do eat, I want to be produced humanely and safely. And like most sedentary humans, more fruits and vegetables, legumes and grains would be an improvement in my diet.

Did you know there is no vegetarian restaurant in Wichita Falls? You can find one or two vegetarian choices on the menu in some restaurants, but they are few and far between. If you know of a restaurant with good vegetarian menu choices, please share. I know many of my vegetarian friends eat frequently at the Thai Orchid because of the vegetarian options.

I suggest using comment cards at your favorite restaurants to lobby for more vegetable choices; and entrees with more veggies and less meat. If you find someplace with a decent vegetarian choice, make sure the restaurant knows you eat there because of the choice.

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