5. You work at the USDA (or maybe don't anymore):
And thus got an internal memo last week, which helpfully pointed out that "one simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the 'Meatless Monday' initiative." (Meatless Mondays is a 2003 non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaign, Inc., in association with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.) The newsletter then outlined the myriad ways in which going meatless, just for one day, would help the environment -- and cheerfully concluded thusly: "Did you notice that our cafeterias have tasty meatless options? So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!" The newsletter is no longer on the USDA site, since seemingly every Republican politician from the meat-producing quadrants of carnivorous America started screaming (via Twitter no less) about how un-American it was of the government agency to, I guess, care about the environment. Here's the memo, which The New York Times, bastion of vegetarian liberals, made damn sure got linked.
4. You've been listening to way too much Morrissey:
Remember him? If you still have Rollings Stones albums, maybe you have a few by The Smiths. And even if you don't, you might hear the soundtrack of "Meat Is Murder" during a few Olympic Moments as part of the All-England oldies rock playlist -- albeit inadvertently, since McDonald's is sponsoring the Games. Right. Maybe Jamie Oliver should fill a school bus with sand -- or maybe English peas -- outside of one or another stadium in protest of that one.
3. You're a Mario Batali fan:
Batali, hardly a spokesman for outright vegetarianism, instituted Meatless Mondays at all 14 of his restaurants, including Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza here in L.A., in May of 2010. Yes, you can still order your lardo pizza, your fennel sausage pizza, your calf's brain ravioli, your maltagliati with wild boar ragu; but you can also order designated vegetarian dishes engineered specifically as Meatless Mondays options. And if this man, one of the industry's last great heavy-eating gourmands, a man who seemingly eats most everything with lardo, a man whose father runs a meat-specific business (the glorious Salumi in Seattle), thinks we could all stand to eat vegetables for a day, then maybe it's worth considering.
2. Animals talk to you too:
You may be having a vegetable moment, not unlike the one chef Roy Choi (Chego, Kogi, A-Frame) had not too long ago in which he noted that animals had actually been talking to him and thus he was considering giving up meat (not forever! not in his restaurants! calm down.) or something like that. Or maybe yours more resembled Lisa Simpson's epiphany (see: this YouTube video for a reminder of that one). Either way, probably a good time to obey the maxim: If it talks back, probably don't eat it.
1. You've spent all weekend eating at gastropubs:
Because if you've been trying out some of the vast majority of the restaurants that are opening these days, you will need a break. How much pork belly and bacon and hanger steak; how many marrow bones and colossal hamburgers, made from meat sourced, fabricated, hand-chopped and griddled by artisanal elves, can you really consume? (Don't answer that.) With menus reading like upscale riffs on county fair food (deep fried bacon!) and kitchens that seemingly mandate whole animal butchery, these are restaurants that should make you sign an agreement, prior to being seated, that you will NOT eat meat at least one day a week, just to make sure you live long enough to come back.