Lately I’ve been trying–with some success–to follow Mark Bittman‘s “vegan before six” (or vegan before dinner) regimen, with one qualification: only during the week. On the weekends I like to leave open the possibility of eggs for breakfast or a grilled cheese sandwich with fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market for lunch, or what have you.
So, for instance, the menu from today:
-1/2 cup soy milk
-1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
-splash of vanilla extract
Mix in blender/food processor (I use a hand blender)
(and coffee, of course)
Black-eyed peas, long grain rice, and salsa
Clif Bar (chocolate almond fudge)
Delicious stuff and entirely satisfying. Dinner will be vegetarian enchiladas with cheese.
Bittman advocates reducing consumption of animal products for both health and environmental reasons. I’m more moved by animal welfare concerns but don’t see those as incompatible motivations. And this post by vegan dietitian Virginia Messina convinced me that incrementalism is a respectable strategy (indeed, I doubt I’ll ever go 100% vegan). Ms. Messina’s blog, by the way, is full of good, practical, down-to-earth advice on diet for v*gans. For example, here’s a post on why it’s OK to eat convenience foods.
UPDATE: John suggests an amendment to this, noting that people might need more of a nutritional wallop at breakfast and that it would make more sense to reduce animal-product consumption at dinner first, and keep the bacon and eggs. It’s true that the American pattern of eating is backwards in some sense: does it really make sense to have our big, hearty meal at the end of the day? And yet, my sense is that skipping or skimping on breakfast has a lot to do with other patterns, specifically work. My impression (based on highly anecdotal evidence) is that in Europe, for instance, people both eat heartier breakfasts and start work later, whereas in the U.S. I think people are more likely to grab something on the go if they eat breakfast at all. I personally seem to be constituted such that I prefer not to eat a heavy breakfast and have gone years where I scarcely ate breakfast at all (coffee is my one sine qua non for starting the day). Nowadays I eat breakfast daily, but am usually content with a smoothie or a bowl of cereal. But I’m all for bringing breakfast back as the most important meal of the day, noting, for the record, that it’s entirely possible to have a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs vegetarian breakfast too.