Why to Give up Meat (even just for a bit...)
Dear Kosterina Family,
How many of you have fostered a habit of deprivation-indulgence? For me, a little bit of bingeing is often followed by some self-imposed strict rules. How do we break this cycle? I believe the answer is a sustainable healthy lifestyle that includes real food, lots of movement and includes healthy indulgences from time to time.
So where did this culture of fasting and deprivation come from? Well, it's ancient practice.
Last week marked the first day of Lent for those of the Catholic faith (we Greeks wait until March 15th this year - long story!). Lent is the 40-day period before Easter where one is encouraged to fast from meat and other animal-derived products. According to ancient Christian beliefs, meat was considered a luxury - so giving it up was seen as a sacrifice to God. This act of self-discipline was meant to spur self-renewal before Easter.
But, this isn't just a spiritual practice - it's now also a health and environmental one. Six years ago, the World Health Organization, among others, issued reports that recommended for all to reduce their intake of processed red meat and even listed it as a carcinogenic (in the same category as tobacco).
Separately, there are apparently environmental benefits to replacing our protein sources with plants more often as we can reduce our carbon emissions. According to research, a largely vegetarian diet requires two-and-a-half times less land to grow food than a meat-based diet, and uses far less natural resources like water.
Regardless of whether you are observing Lent or not, there are likely benefits to (even temporarily) reducing meat intake both for our own health, and the health of our Earth. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing our favorite vegetarian recipes for your cooking pleasure. Stay tuned.
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Peace, love & EVOO,