Friday, March 2, 2012

I ate bacon for lunch

So I have finally made what I hope is another sustainable decision about my diet: I am cutting my dairy consumption by at least half — less cheese by far, soy milk in my coffee, very little yoghourt or sour or cream or what-have-you — but I have also decided to start eating pig products again.

I get asked often enough whether I'm a veg, and my response is always that I'm n "environmental vegetarian," by which I mean I'm trying to do my best by the environment by the food choices I make. So beef has been an obvious choice to leave out because of the effect of methane, a powerful "greenhouse gas," on the atmosphere and the fact that cows, which ruminate, produce a lot of it. But I miss meat. So last week I did a little digging around about exactly which animals were ruminants, hoping to discover that maybe there were some animals I hadn't thought of that I could sink my teeth into. Well, in fact, in large part the answer was no, BUT, it turns out according to a report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, pigs are better than cows emissions-wise because they don't ruminate (to oversimplify, chew their cud).

So my thought is this: if I cut my dairy by more than half but eat a little pork or bacon now and then, I am in fact decreasing the emissions for which I'm responsible. Granted, cutting the dairy and not eating the pork would be better again, but I'm not ready for that yet. I love cheese. I had even begun having a new recipe for savoury oatmeal for my breakfast most mornings... as a digression, here is the recipe:

1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup rolled oats
...stir oats into stock in a microwave-safe bowl. cook 3 minutes.
grate in 1/2 a cup of cheese (I used cheddar but anything will do) and stir until melted.
best served with Louisiana hot sauce. giving up this amazing creation is no fun, but if I console myself with a little pig now and then — we ate 7 strips between 3 of us this morning — I won't just break and slide back into heavier-emissions consumption. It's not perfect, but it's something I think I can probably manage long-term, which veganism really wasn't.


  1. 7 strips between 3 people... that would not go over well in our house! Good luck with this Ben :)

  2. ...the 7 strips was also a financial thing. We bought the grain-fed, no-antibiotic, free-run "happy" bacon which was about 40% more expensive than the other stuff. But then we buy so little meat we can justify it.