Sunday, 13 April 2014

A 7-Day Dinner Plan for Bewildered Omnivores

(This post is a follow-up to this one. As I suggested in those earlier yammerings, I count myself among the bewildered. So, y'know, take what follows with a grain of ethically-harvested, organic Mediterranean sea salt.)


If only the business of what to eat could be straightforward ... if what were healthy and tasty for individuals could be sustainable for the planet ... if there could be something resembling agreement about what counts as "healthy" or "sustainable."

Or maybe: if only all the information and choices that confuse the hell out of me (but were unavailable to my ancestors) would just go away and leave me in peace ... wouldn't that be nice?

[Spot the word "eat" in the photo to the right!]

I recently read a fascinating and unsettling review* of two books about big-scale meat production (Farmageddon: the True Cost of Cheap Meat and Planet Carnivore), in which the reviewer, applying the math of the second book's argument, points out that globally sustainable meat consumption would require the wealthy, animal-eating societies of the world to cut back to the equivalent of 40 - 80 grams of meat per person, per day.

All righty, I thought. So, uh, what does a 50-odd-gram serving of meat look like? (It's been a while since I taught Grade 6 math.)

 Big Hauls

Well ... based on data from my freezer, it appears that 1) the average hamburger patty (grass-fedness notwithstanding) weighs about 250 grams, 2) Paul and I, with our paleo diet of stews and roasts and whatnot, are generally off the chart re. this particular scale of sustainability, and 3) our resident canine carnivore is scarfing back roughly 500 grams of meat per day. Sure, most of this meat — Freddie's included — is pasture-raised and organic and comes from local-ish farms ... but still!


If health (ie. mainly T1 diabetes) were the only issue, I would eat different kinds of meat several times a week, along with low-carb veggies. If sustainability were my sole concern, I'd go back to a mostly vegetarian diet, with lots of rice and dhal and occasional fish meals. If taste were all, I'd never eat another Dex 4 gluco-tab again in my life, but pretty much everything else in the buffet would find its way onto my plate.

You know times have changed when big-box stores give out rainbow flags!

Meanwhile, back in real life, I've been contemplating compromises and compensations. A few days ago, I came up with the proposal down below, and Paul, being the unflagging good sport that he is about my dietary experiments, said "Sure."

A Host of Dancing Daffodils

Ice-cream Castles in the Air

You'll notice I've only included dinners. Breakfast and lunch at our place tend to be what we call "stupid food" — not stupid as in unhealthy or otherwise bad, just stuff that doesn't require any intellectual effort to prepare (leftovers, almond butter on pear slices, sardines and seed crackers, nuts, cheese, plain yogurt w/ various toppings ...).

Anyway, without further ado, here is the 7-day dinner plan (ornamented by a very well-behaved golden retriever, from whom I hope Freddie was taking notes):

Day 1 — EGG dish (omelet, frittata, quiche)

Day 2 — FISH dish #1


Day 4 — MEAT dish (grass-fed beef/lamb or pastured chicken)

Day 5 — LEFTOVERS (from whatever; obviously the order of these choices can be shuffled around)

Day 6 — LEGUME dish (or a second meat dish, if my blood sugars are riding high)

Day 7 — FISH dish #2

This lovely "Day 2" dinner features mashed cauliflower w/ sour cream, steamed chard, almond-crusted sole, and a tomato-vegetable sauce. Yeah, just call me Julia.

OK, so that's the humans. Now, what about Freddie?

Obviously the photo right below isn't Freddie. It's a groovy wind turbine on Grouse Mountain (I was going to call it a "windmill," until Paul pointed out that it isn't likely milling anything), but I wanted to take this opportunity to warn you that there's a photo of dead fish coming up. OK? Dead fish. Viewer discretion advisory has been issued.

Well, Freddie's teeth and digestive system certainly appear to be designed for meat consumption, but that doesn't mean we can't make some modifications to his diet as well — starting with an increase in the amount of fish he eats (I realize fish still consumes earthly resources, but it's not as greedy as conventional "meat," is it?). From what I've observed so far, a whole herring on the bone mat doesn't get Freddie nearly as excited as a lamb neck (I can sympathize); however, if I chop the fish up and mix it in with half his usual quantity of "bowl food," he's happy to eat it.

Bon appétit!

There: global food crisis solved. Ha. As I write this, I'm wondering what new bit of information will come along to change the program yet again. I'm also thinking about all the nasty forms of food packaging we haven't yet eliminated from our life ... and the rather lonnnng shower I took this morning ... and the various power-sucking machines and devices that occupy our home .... but one thing at a time, I guess.


Thanks for stopping by! Y'all come back now, y'hear?

*I was a little disappointed to discover that the review is available online. I actually read the paper version and felt quite virtuous doing so!


  1. This was pretty fascinating.
    I like your take on the global sustainable meat consumption. I really like that you are concerned about it enough to make some small changes.

    1. Thanks, Scully! I always dig the food-related posts on your blog (though the food-related health issues you have to deal with suck!). So now I'm curious: if you had no health shit to worry about, what would you eat? (besides Skippy PB ;-))


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