Sunday, June 29, 2008

Humane-itarian, Part II: The first 72

Well, my first few days as a "humane-itarian" would rate a solid "good". Thus far, I haven't had any major problems sticking to the plan. Of course, I also haven't had to attend any family dinners, take any work-related road trips or face the inevitable 4th of July barbeque ...obstacales which my calendar tells me will present themselves in the next couple of weeks. Read below for the first 72 hours, and stay tuned for the challenges to come.

Day 1:

Breakfast: Peanut butter on whole grain bread. No harm, no foul.

Lunch: Can of minestrone soup and bread. This is easy! (famous last words?)

Dinner: Vegetarian pasta. Hubby is satisfied - I'm surprised he doesn't miss the usual ground beef and/or sausage in the sauce, but decided to stick to the basics - and save a few bucks, too. Wondering how long the honeymoon will last.

Day 2:

Again with the breakfast. Lunch is same as yesterday too.

Dinner is another story: Spend 30 minutes reviewing menu for restaurant we're heading to for dinner, only to encounter a last-minute change in plans. Dinner is now at El Fenix, and I have no info on their meat. Not to worry - there's lots of choices for dinner from cheese and/or bean nachos to enchiladas with cheese or spinach, etc. Decide on spinach and mushroom quesadillas. Delicious...but I begin to worry about protein.

Day 3:

Important discovery! A quick investigation of the Chipotle website reveals the following info on their chicken (my favorite meaty burrito filler):

To meet our naturally raised standard, chicken must:
- Never be given antibiotics
- Have more room to move about than in conventional chicken operations
- Be vegetarian fed, never given animal by-products

I am very happy with these standards - I knew the pork at Chipotle was top-notch in this department, but the chicken is a surprise. So glad I checked! Similarly virtuous beef is also available in some areas (not yet Texas). I proceed directly to the nearest Chipotle and chow chicken-style with a clear conscience.


Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm ready to make a change.

Over the past several months, the treatment of my fellow four-legged earthlings has been on my mind with ever-increasing frequency.  I read The Omnivore's Dilemma not too long ago (see previous blog post), and I wrote on the issue of fish safety in a column in the Dallas Morning News (again, see related blog post from earlier this year).  Throw in the fact that it seems impossible to turn on the television these days without hearing a new feed lot horror story or the details of another micro-ecosystem demolished by a fish farm, and I've had it up to *here*.

To be clear, I have no moral issues with the consumption of meat by human beings for the purposes of nutrition.  My issue is with the treatment of animals destined for our dinner plates, and the environmental impact of the places where they are raised.  Not that it's so simple a matter that it can be explained in one sentence, but that's the Cliff's Notes version.

So, I've decided to do something about it.  I want to be one person making a tiny difference when it comes to these animals and our environment.  I am going to try my darndest not to eat any fish or chicken or beef or what-have-you without knowing for sure that it was raised in a humane manner, fed what it was meant to eat, and that it didn't un-do any carefully balanced ecological chain-of-command on its way to my belly.

This is going to require some hardship - I can't afford to eat grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and/or wild seafood every night of the week.  I'm also not in the habit of dining out in the sort of places that only use the aforementioned ingredients on a regular basis.  To add insult to injury, a big part of my life right now involves traveling in rural areas with an already limited selection of dining establishments.  But I'm a smart, resourceful, stubborn girl, and I'm sure that I can make it work.  ...Pretty sure.  85% sure.  Check back to the blog regularly for updates on my adventure.  I'll be sharing with all of you, as candidly as possible, the various ups and downs of my new life as a "humane-itarian".  Wish me luck!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

RIP: One of Robin's Crave-able Dishes is Off the Menu

RIP, Baby Spinach Salad at State and Allen Lounge. Oh, how I will miss your tasty combination of raspberries, oranges, onions and warm bacon vinagrette.

I will try to fill the hole in my heart with the Silver Bowl, a bed of chopped romaine mixed with fresh bacon bits, chopped red bell peppers, orange slices, sliced grapes topped with spicy chicken chunks and two dressings, a tangy balsamic vinaigrette & creamy Caesar dressing. I definitely enjoyed it, although it will take me awhile to get over the Baby Spinach Salad and fully invest myself in the relationship with the Silver Bowl.