At the butcher’s, grab some tofu

With soy products readily available, it’s time to reduce the role of meat in our diets.

Alia Jeraj

This past weekend, the very first vegan butcher shop in the country opened in Minneapolis. The shop will offer vegan alternatives to meat and cheese. I’m thrilled to hear the news.
I have been a vegetarian for nearly 10 years. In that time, I’ve faced many cries of, “I would be one too, but I just can’t live without meat!” 
Now, at least my Minneapolis friends will no longer be able to use “missing the flavor” as the excuse to not attempt a vegetarian lifestyle. 
I don’t expect all of my friends to become vegetarians or not to eat meat around me — I made my lifestyle decisions for myself alone.However, the world would benefit if people decided to remove meat from their diets.
Vegetarianism has a number of important benefits. For one, scientists have found a correlation between meat consumption and slightly increased risks of several health issues, including cancer and diabetes.
Additionally, when populations eat less meat, the planet benefits. Meat production requires much more water and fuel than plant agriculture. 
Finally, meatless diets actually tend to be cheaper than those with meat, as grains and vegetables are often less costly than purchasing animal products.
Again, I don’t expect everyone to hop on the vegetarian train. However, there are ways we could begin to reduce our meat intake. For example, Meatless Monday is a campaign to cut meat out of your diet one day a week.
Especially now that we have our own vegan butcher shop, I urge you all to try (for at least a day) some vegan ribs instead of those from a cow.  
Alia Jeraj welcomes comments at [email protected].