Do you know anyone who couldn’t quote a line or two from Green Eggs and Ham, the classic children’s book by Dr. Seuss? The author’s last name was actually Geisel, by the way, and he didn’t hold a doctorate of any sort.

And, he pronounced Seuss (his middle name) as “Soyce,” but that’s neither here nor there, or maybe even anywhere.

Certainly not in a box or with a fox, on a train or in the rain.

The book, which was published in August 1960, came about when Seuss’s publisher bet him that he couldn’t produce a children’s book using only 50 different words (the wildly successful Cat in the Hat had used 236). More than 60 years later, Green Eggs and Ham perennially ranks as a favorite among both teachers and children.

The familiar plot finds Sam-I-Am offering an older friend a plate of ham and eggs that just happen to be green. His friend is convinced that he does not like green eggs and ham, and he would not eat them under any circumstances.

In the end, of course, Sam-I-Am wears him down and gets him to try the unusual breakfast dish. The friend discovers that he likes green eggs and ham after all, and he would happily eat them in a house, or with a mouse, here or there or anywhere.

The book came to mind when Susan and I decided to try shifting to a greener, more plant-based diet. We figured it could be good for our health as well as good for the planet.

And shouldn’t we care about the planet? I’ve driven a Prius for years. We recycle like crazy. We turn usable vegetable scraps into broth for soup and mulch everything else to enrich the garden boxes. Shouldn’t caring for the environment extend to what we eat?

Numbers vary greatly depending on who’s doing the calculating, but there’s no question that animal agriculture contributes significantly to global warming, which is driving ecological disasters from mammoth forest fires to the weird combination of both drought and flooding.

In large part to support animal agriculture, the trend toward miles and miles of pesticide-supported monoculture crops with little to no diversity eliminates habitats for critters like bees and butterflies, significantly weakening their populations.

The U.S. alone has 90 million acres in corn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and large swaths of the Amazon rain forest are still being destroyed for giant soybean plantations and cattle farms.

A significant portion of both corn and soy grown worldwide is used to feed livestock, which in turn feeds our hunger for meat. The oceans are demonstrably overfished, and fish farms have their own problems. Even if advocates may sometimes overstate the case, it’s clear that the planet would benefit if more of us shifted to a plant-based diet.

That leaves room for farmers to produce more diverse crops, and it would make fisheries more sustainable.

So, it’s been a month or more since I’ve had a barbecue sandwich, a fried egg, or a glass of milk, and I have to say it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Chicken has nothing on well-prepared tofu in a stir fry, and it’s amazing what Susan has been able to do with lentils.

Why eat processed pasta when there’s spaghetti squash available, or spiralized zucchini “zoodles” from our own little garden? Who really needs ground beef or even impossibly fake “meat” in their spaghetti sauce when peppers, onions, and mushrooms can do the job even better?

My version of “green eggs and ham” in the photo above includes a slice of lentil loaf with home-grown basil pesto to go with half an avocado. The lentil loaf, which also includes oatmeal and finely chopped carrots, seasonings, and barbecue sauce on top, is both delicious and satisfying.

The surprising thing to me, a lifelong carnivore, is that I don’t miss the meat.

Not too much, or at least not yet.

I’m not saying I’ll never eat another bite of brisket, and I don’t obsess over things like whether the mayonnaise on the whole grain bread in my tomato sandwich contains a bit of egg yolk, but a variety of egg substitutes work well in baking, and plant butter tastes just fine on toast, in my oatmeal, or with caramelized pears.

Oat “milk” on cereal does the job, and pancakes made with applesauce instead of eggs are actually an improvement. “Nice cream” blended from frozen bananas plus strawberries or peaches and a bit of maple syrup and plant-based “milk” is delicious and nutritious.

I haven’t put my hand on a Bible and sworn to a permanent lifestyle change. I am unlikely to become a whole-hog vegan (how’s that for a bad turn of phrase?), and I don’t plan to be a problem child when someone else is cooking.

But I figure that even if I occasionally dally with chicken or catfish, if I shift to a 90% or 95% plant-based diet, it has to be good for the planet as well as my health.

It turns out that eating more greens is, well, green.

And I do like it, Sam-I-Am. I do like green eggs and ham.

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