Most current meat production practices contribute significantly to environmental issues such as climate change, deforestation, and soil degradation. This is in addition to concerns over animal welfare and a number of moral objections to killing animals for food. One way to reduce the impact of meat production on our planet is to eat less meat.
While this leads some people to opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet, they are very much the minority. For those of us who care about our food and our environment, but love meat, it is still possible to do our bit. Thankfully, we don’t need to go the full monty and cut out meat entirely. Simply reducing the amount of meat in our diet will have a significant impact, both for the environment and our health.
Here’s some really simple things you can do that will ultimately reduce the total amount of meat you consume on a weekly basis.
1. Sign up for Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday is a movement that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays – sign up on their website to get weekly newsletters full of tips and stories. There’s also a wealth of information, recipes and news related to reducing meat consumption on their website – fill your boots.
Tell everyone. Post it on Facebook. Tweet about it. Put a reminder in your diary for every Monday morning. The more people you tell, the more likely you are to follow through on a regular basis and actually eat less meat.
2. Buy a Vegetarian, Plant-Based or Raw Cookbook
There’s literally thousands of cookbooks with recipes that don’t contain meat. A quick Amazon search returned 10620 vegetarian, 9594 vegan, 1819 raw and 733 plant-based cookbooks.
Having a cookbook on hand helps when you’re not motivated to cook meatless, or simply want to return to your normal recipes that contain meat. A quick flick through a great cookbook will get your taste buds going and give you loads of ideas for dishes you would probably not otherwise have thought of.
For the chefs and kitchen fanatics, cookbooks give you inspiration, new recipes to try and ways to expand your culinary repertoire. Challenge yourself and see how many of the cookbooks you can cook your way through.
3. Make a Plan To Eat Less Meat
It’s very difficult to simply cut meat out of your meals without some planning. As some wise person once said, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.
We’re no longer in the 1940’s, meal planning doesn’t have to be a chore, especially if you’ve got new recipes you want to try out. The important thing is making sure you do your planning in advance so you don’t end up with an empty fridge and reach for your favourite takeaway menu.
4. Add More Grains and Vegetables to Your Meaty Meals
The easiest way to eat less meat is to eat more of something else, makes sense right?
Add more grains, pulses or vegetables to your plate instead of meat – you’ll get used to eating less meat and better at eating a higher volume of plant-based foods.
If you’re particularly resistant to removing meat from your meals to begin with, this is a great way to ease yourself into reducing meat. For example, if you normally have two sausages in a meal, have just one and a handful of greens instead. If you love two rashers of bacon on your breakfast sandwich, replace one with sliced avocado or tomato.
Not only will this reduce the volume of meat you’re eating, but it’s also likely to reduce your weekly food bill and is likely to also improve your overall health.
5. Educate Yourself About Meat Production
If you’re not ready to take the plunge yet, but would like to learn more about why it might be important to eat less meat, here are two films worth watching:
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret – a documentary that explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
Meat the Truth – a documentary explaining the toll the meat industry is taking on the planet’s environment.
Good luck. Go forth, eat less meat and let us know how you get on. We’d love to share your story with our community.