You’ve heard of Meatless Mondays… but why would you want to skip meat for a day? While meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it needs to be eaten as a part of a well balanced diet (should you choose to indulge your carnivorous nature...we’re not judging!). Typically, people who don’t eat meat “generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians do.” (Mayo Clinic, 2016). Not only that, but there is evidence to suggest avoiding meat can improve overall mood by giving you more, sustained energy, and a confidence boost because you’re doing right for the Earth!
You could say that tapping into your inner herbivore is as easy as skipping the meat section in the local grocery store. We’ve learned first hand that it’s a little more complex than that. Before we give you some tips on how to replace meat in your meals, let’s discuss how you can help the environment just by skipping the deli at lunch!
The meat industry has surprisingly negative effects on the Earth:
83% of farmland is being used for meat and dairy. To keep up with high demand of meat and dairy, ranchers/farmers must destroy wildlife areas to create space for more cattle. Cattle ranchers have cleared 1 million square kilometers of forest to create bigger farm space.
Cows creates 12x more greenhouse gases than any other farm animal. Cows release methane and ammonia that come from their waste.
Water pollution can be attributed to the result of animal waste contaminating the water. Also there is an increased use of freshwater to maintain the farm animals.
What you can do:
The popular and effective solution is adopting a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. However, making this lifestyle change can be a long and difficult process, especially for a long-time carnivore like myself or like many others.
Here are some easy changes you can make right now!
Commit to reducing your meat and dairy consumption by just a few meals a week
Read the ingredients labels. Some products might have animal byproducts you may choose to avoid such as Carmine, Gelatin, and Lanolin
In short, cutting down on meat intake can significantly improve your mood, skin, and overall health… all while helping preserve forests and the ozone layer! You can also join a Facebook group for support and to share tips & tricks; we recommend this one which has a broad focus on overall sustainable living.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
By Naomi Jackson, photos + links by Jackii Ramis