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Because You Asked

How Can I Reduce My Meat Consumption? 5

By Recyclebank |

Livestock production comes at a huge environmental cost, which is why the simple act of going meat-free just one day a week can make a huge difference.

Dear Recyclebank: How can I reduce my meat consumption and still get the nutrients I was getting from meat? –Floyd W.

Dear Floyd: If you have made the choice to consume less meat, congratulations! You’re among a growing number of conscious consumers who are reducing their meat consumption for the health benefits and for environmental reasons. And remember, this doesn’t mean you have to cut meat out of your diet altogether. Many savvy eaters are realizing that when you eat less meat, you can put your money into getting the best meat possible, when you do occasionally eat it. This is better for you and better for encouraging a more environmentally friendly food system by “voting with your dollars.” You can certainly maintain a well balanced diet with less meat!

Below are 5 things to help you cut down your meat consumption:

1. Transition to less meat with this flexitarian meal plan.

2. Replace meat with a tasty alternative. Find some great meatless-protein ideas here.

3. Get more than enough protein, without eating meat.

4. Grow your meat-free recipes list here.

5. Take the 30-day meatless challenge and learn amazing new recipes!

If you’re not yet convinced you should eat less meat, let’s explore some of the environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption.

Avoiding livestock production — including meat and dairy — is one of the biggest ways you can reduce your negative environmental impact on the planet.

Want to save the rainforest? Eat less beef. Unfortunately, one-fifth of the biologically diverse Amazon rainforest has already been cut down to make room for raising resource-intensive cattle, leading to higher amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: From fossil-fuel-burning logging machinery; from the fact that there’s fewer carbon-trapping trees; and from increased methane emissions from the livestock that replaced the trees.

Ruminant animals grow for meat and milk, such as cows, emit high levels of methane as a result of their natural digestive process, which contributes as much as 36 percent of US methane emissions; that’s more than double the methane emissions of landfills!

Livestock cultivation also requires huge amounts of fresh water, more than any other food.

The simple act of going meat-free just one day of the week can actually make a huge difference in reducing environmental damage. And contrary to some myths, for most people, eating less meat does not limit one’s health. Nutritionally, you can supplement meat products with other sources of protein, vitamin B, iron, and zinc, such as nuts, seeds, produce, baked beans, and legumes.

There are also a variety of delicious meat stand-ins such as seitan, tofu, jackfruit, tempeh, and mushrooms, which can all be creatively made into a wide variety of textures and flavors.

The key to a successful transition to eating less meat is to start slowly and see what feels right for you. Remember, red meat is the biggest culprit, so if you reduce beef and keep chicken; you’re still helping the environment and making progress! If you’re serious about cutting meat out altogether, you might also want to team up with a nutritionist to create a meal plan. Keeping a food log can also be a fun and inspiring way to track your and your family’s progress.

SOURCES: EPA, Science Mag


Have you reduced your meat consumption lately? Share your experience — and recipes — in the comments!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Deborah W. 1 day ago
    Vegetables, beans, cheese, soy are great alternatives. The size of a deck of cards is the portion of meat one is supposed to eat with a meal.
  • Julia P. 8 days ago
    A group of friends meet once a month to share a (potluck) vegan meal. Originally, our group was only those who wanted to eat more vegan, but we also ended up inviting other friends who were not interested in being vegan. However, everyone loved the food. If you know foodies and good cooks, banding together to try cooking vegan is a fun challenge (to some) and encouragement to all, as well as being social.
  • ALEX R. 12 days ago
    Hi everyone, does anyone have any recommendations for Vegan catfood - both the "wet" and "dry" varieties?
    • Julia P. 8 days ago
      (A little off topic of your question:)I tried some years ago to give my cat vegan food. (I don't think the brand is around anymore.) She ate the dry food without complaint but would not touch the wet. Cats are true carnivores so be very mindful if you're trying to feed it a vegan diet. I don't eat meat or fish, but do give it to my cats (one is 17 y.o.). I would suggest you could feed cats vegan dry food, like Wysong, but give them wet meat or fish food for optimum health. Dogs can eat vegan as they are omnivores like us.
  • Patricia S. 16 days ago
    The portions in restaurants are way to big usually I have a box to take home. When I purchase any meat I cut it back to smaller portions and mix them with beans and vegetables like a chili. We enjoy broiled chicken chopped fine in salads with lite dressings. We get our protein and nutrients all at the same time pluse save on our shopping.
  • ava o. 22 days ago
    Try to make a effort to have several dishes a week with no meat. Love Dishes with Black beans!
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