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A Meat Lover’s Guide to Going Meatless

June 20, 2011 •  6 comments.

 •  Blog, News

Picture Courtesy of The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook Author, Kim O’Donnel

Written by Robyn O’Brien

I’m not good with recipes. In fact, I’m so inept at cooking that when I met Martha Stewart several years ago, I passed on having her sign the cookbooks she was handing out and had her sign the financial statements for her company instead. I simply couldn’t cook.

But as life would have it, when our youngest was diagnosed with food allergies, I suddenly realized that the processed food diet that I was feeding my family was loaded with all kinds of foreign proteins, artificial dyes and things that our grandmothers would never have recognized. And I had to take a crash course in cooking.

Gone were the days of nuking nuggets and pouring artificial colors onto noodles, and born were days filled with failed attempts in the kitchen, including burnt noodles and blackened pancakes. But I couldn’t turn back. I’d learned too much. And thankfully, things started to look up.

And in a constant effort to save money in order to buy more fruits and veggies (which are annoyingly priced so much higher than processed foods because of the way that we’ve structured agriculture in this country), I also had to learn how to reallocate the family budget.

So instead of buying meat for dinner one night a week, we decided to go meatless. It felt kind of radical in the beginning, after all, I’d been born and raised on meat at every meal. And like so many others, I’d been led to believe that if we didn’t have some piece of an animal on the dinner table that we were going to starve (or get fat, as The Zone Diet had made its impact on my food-thinking, too).

But one night a week, who could argue with that? It was perfectly in line with my 80/20 Rule: four out of five nights, we’d keep it business as usual, and on that fifth night, we were going to go meat-free. And in order to make it happen, we did it on Mondays so that we wouldn’t forget.

And as the years have rolled by, we’ve actually learned quite a lot about the role that our decision had on more than our family budget, as we learned how crops are mass-produced and genetically engineered primarily to feed livestock, and we found Meatless Mondays a great way to afford more fruits and vegetables.

So when a friend named Kim reached out after authoring a cookbook called The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook, I was ready to pay attention. And as Kim shared her story about family members lost to heart disease, her own foody-isms and the pork chops she knawed on as a kid, I took note because she was speaking my language.

And as I flipped through her cookbook that includes recipes for things like “Egg in the Hole” and “Reliable Stovetop Rice That Even My Husband Can Make,” I realized that I’d finally found a cookbook that I’d keep.

So today, in honor of those of us who were raised on sausages and to Kim for her great work, we’re going to kick off Meatless Monday’s on the AllergyKids Recipe blog, recognizing that diet, like religion, isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of thing.

But since we are all trying to get our kids to eat just a little bit better, I asked Kim if we could start with one of her kid-friendly recipes, Dino Mash. And thankfully, she said “yes.” So circle back next week to learn more.

And if you are one of the first to tell us what you think, by sharing your story, we will send you a copy of Kim’s cookbook. Because just like those little ones whose health we are working so hard to protect, Kim’s book is a keeper.

You can learn more about Kim’s book, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook, at http://kimodonnel.com and www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

6 Responses to “A Meat Lover’s Guide to Going Meatless”

  1. Lisa Gruich

    This is great and I so can’t wait to see these recipes. After pumping up our fruits and veggies, dropping most processed foods, eliminating articial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and preservatives, I have toyed with the idea of going meatless. I truly am not sure I can do it myself and fooling my family will not be easy. They will notice the meat is missing from their plates. BUT, starting with once a week is totally doable. We do it on Fridays during Lent, why not Mondays all year? I have learned that gradual change is the key and I am ready to move forward.

  2. Diane

    My 12 yr old son’s ADHD let me to revamp my family’s whole diet. I learned so much from your book Unhealthy Truth, and Michael Pollen’s books and movies like Food Inc, Fast Food Nation, King Corn I also couldn’t turn back. I employ your 80/20 rule at home — kids get home made “clean” food 4 days a week. They actually ask for it on Friday’s some times too.

    We have been trying to go meatless on Mondays — but pasta and eggs are getting tiresome!! I really look forward to reading Kim’s book!!

    Keep up your awesome work!! You have made me a believer that small changes form habit!! i can never turn back now!!

  3. Carol

    We’ve always been a whole foods household because of the way I was raised. My husband and I enjoy whole foods, but our children seem to merely tolerate what we serve them. They’ll eat it because that is all that is available, but they just don’t love it. I’m constantly searching for new recipes that we will all love. I’m looking forward to seeing more recipes from this book!

  4. Jen

    This is so timely! I was just scouring the web for meatless recipe ideas for kids. Sadly, I didn’t find a whole lot out there. I have a two year old and a 4 month old and I want them to grow up loving and looking forward to eating good food….I am hopeful about this book and happy that this will be a topic that you are covering. Thanks!

  5. Hilary

    Thank you for this and for starting Meatless Mondays! Similar to your story, Robyn (and Diane), my 6 year old daughter’s crippling eczema led me to your book and Kenneth Bock’s 4-! Epidemic. Once my eyes were opened by you – the path was set and I couldn’t go back. It’s been hard with picky kids and me being a single mom, but I have maneuvered our family diet to 50% veggie and 25% unprocessed carbs and fruit for dessert. I served them a meatless meal last week and they didn’t even mention it.

    So I am thrilled to see this new cookbook but mostly I am grateful to know what feels like a secret that everyone should know. We have to eat food in the way its intended; not fake food, not frankenfood, not dayglow food! Thank you for continuing on your mission – I am right there with you!

  6. Kimberley_From_Chicago

    Can’t wait to see this — my DH and I are considering going meatless (we’re like mostly there but still ‘cheat’ every now and then). I’m always looking for new vegetarian cookbooks and recipe ideas!

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