Growing up, my meals always included a portion of meat, whether that be chicken, ground beef, or steak. This is how it was for the first 25 years of life and I couldn’t imagine a meal without any form of meat included. During college I had some friends that were vegetarian and I considered limiting my meat consumption, but I just didn’t know how to go about doing it. It seemed like a huge feat to accomplish without any baseline knowledge about how to cook vegetarian food. I just felt paralyzed, like I was staring up at a mountain that I had no idea how to climb. How could I eliminate meat if it was in every meal that I ate, I had no idea what vegetarian recipes to follow, and I had always relied on meat for the nutrients that my body needed?
I also felt that in going vegetarian, my decision had to be one or the other, either I was 100% vegetarian or not. I felt like there was no in between. Effectively, I felt like there wasn’t anything I could do to lessen my carbon footprint and I just continued doing what I’ve always known.
However, I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and discovered seitan after getting takeout from a vegan restaurant, Ginger Root. It opened my eyes to a completely different world. Upon taking my first bite, I was greeted with the familiar texture of meat that I was used to all my life. Immediately, I thought, “I could totally substitute meat with seitan and I would still have as equally as great of a meal. Why isn’t everyone doing this?” Going forward, I now have a way to lessen my consumption of meat and contribution to global warming. Switching out meat for a substitute like seitan is a great compromise for people that don’t want to completely cut meat out of their meals.