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March 25, 2009, 12:08 PM
An Almost-Meatless Diet
A recent report from The Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular eaters of red meat had a modestly higher risk of dying during a 10-year study period than those who ate very little meat. And beyond personal health, many people are finding other reasons to eat less meat. Several reports now say meat consumption contributes to global warming, and regular reports about animal cruelty and the meat industry have caused many people to lose their appetite for meat. At the same time, meat tastes good, and many people don’t want to become full vegetarians.
As a result, some people are trying to cut back on meat, but not give it up altogether. While it sounds simple, eating a little meat can sometimes be harder than eating none at all.
“Vegetarian recipes and traditions are everywhere,” writes my colleague Mark Bittman, who counts himself as a meat-eater who has scaled back. “But in the American style of eating — with meat usually at the center of the plate — it can be difficult to eat two ounces of beef and call it dinner.”
Now there’s a new cookbook for the reluctant meat eater who doesn’t want to go vegetarian: “Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet,” by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond (Ten Speed Press).
Ms. Manning, who was a vegetarian from the age of 14 until 26, said the idea for the book began when she realized that she was eating a lot of processed “vegetarian junk food.”
“I came to the conclusion that an almost-meatless diet was healthier, tastier, and more ethical,” said Ms. Manning, now 31. “I didn’t want to dive into the meat-centric meals that are typical of most non-vegetarians.” Notably, Ms. Manning said she lost weight after adding a little meat back into her diet.
Below, I’ve included three “Almost Meatless” recipes: Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie; Corn and Cod Cakes; and Springtime Spaghetti Carbonara.