Written By Carlos Peláez
Can you make more conscious food choices that are better for the environment without sacrificing your favorite tastes?
I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. My diet has always focused on what I like to eat because that’s the way I have always eaten. Recently, I read some facts that gave me some cause for concern: A one-pound steak requires approximately 1,800 gallons of water, which is the equivalent of more than 100 showers. That’s a lot of water! And for a state like my home state of California, which is in the midst of a major drought, I have cut back on watering my lawn and begun taking shorter showers—but I had never considered cutting back on eating meat.
The cuisine in the Los Angeles area has a lot of variety, with delicious vegan and vegetarian options (see some of my favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants below). I have a great opportunity to try all sorts of food that I may never have heard of, and surprisingly, I always find that it tastes great. An added bonus is that I am finding appealing options without meat, which matters to me because it helps reduce the amount of water required to prepare these foods.
I started to experiment. Could I cut out eating red meat, chicken, or fish? I started thinking about all of my eating habits—not just meat—realizing that there are a variety of environmental considerations to take into account when evaluating your diet.
After a month, I did go to In-n-Out and order a delicious hamburger, but then I returned to what I think of as a new type of diet: I call it Ecoterianism.
The term “Ecoterian” introduces a diet that is neither vegetarian nor vegan, but one that considers the environment in your food choices. The idea is to reduce consuming foods that drain more resources. You can still eat meat and fish. You can simply choose to reduce the amounts of foods that are resource-heavy to produce.
Try this for a month. Let us know what you think, and help us spread the work about making conscious food choices with their environmental impact in mind.
If you are in the Los Angeles area like some of us here at Blueprint Earth, here are a few recommendations for restaurants that offer meals that are packed with flavor but they don’t focus on meat:
Plant Food for the People. This is a food truck that serves tacos using jackfruit vegetables that are not fully ripened. The effect is that they replicate the texture of carnitas. The food truck moves around; find out their schedule on their website.
Veggie House. This is a Thai restaurant with soy and tofu used instead of meat. Link to their Yelp page so you too can enjoy this great restaurant:
Crossroads. This restaurant has cheese, ice cream, calamari, and many more items that are all vegan and delicious! It’s a great place for a date or special celebration.
Taco Bell. Maybe you don’t consider this as the culinary gem of the world, but fast food has its place in our society. If you want to have options that could help your ecoterian crusade, try Taco Bell’s vegetarian menu. You might be surprised!