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4 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Meat Use

Smoked and grilled steak
Creative Commons License photo credit: FotoosVanRobin

Increasingly the green community is adopting an anti-meat ethic as environmentalists are realising just how bad eating meat can be for the planet.

Whether it’s the inefficiencies inherent in producing meat, the cutting down of the rainforest for cattle, the carbon footprint of transporting lamb from New Zealand or the methane produced by many animals cutting down on your meat use can really make a positive impact on the planet.

And yet many people, like me, love our meat. A juicy steak. A bacon sandwich. A steaming hot sausage hotpot on a cold winters day. So what are we to do?

If the idea of going “cold turkey” (pun intended!) is too much to consider, then why not instead make a concerted effort to consciously *reduce* the meat you eat each week. As the saying goes, every little helps, and if plenty of people only do a small amount this will all add up.

I would therefore like to offer you four simple ways you can lessen the impact of the planet as a result of meat production.

Meat Free Mondays

Catching on in a big way recently is the concept of “Meat Free Mondays” where quite simply you opt not to eat meat on a Monday. Do what you like the rest of the week but pledge to at least give up meat on one day of the week. I’m sure anyone can manage this and as a self-confessed meat lover we have introduced this concept into my own household without any problems at all.

Swap Meats

Some meats are less green than others. Most authorities agree that beef is the least sustainable meat of all while some other meats such as chicken are less damaging to the environment. And choosing organic meat can be even better.

So why not make the conscious choice to reduce your beef intake and instead enjoy an organically reared, locally-produced meat as a treat.

Meat Substitutes

I have to admit that the idea of meat-free sausages is a bit like alcohol-free lager to me. It seems like a contradiction in terms but after some pressure from my partner I finally gave in and tried some. And whilst some meat substitutes really were terrible, I have found a limited range that really does taste almost as good as the real thing.

Be aware when it comes to meat substitutes that many are soya based – which also has the potential to be environmentally damaging – but do your research properly and I think you’ll manage to find a few meat substitutes that will help you to reduce your meat intake while still getting that “meaty taste”.

Find Vegetarian Meals You Like

Having recently stayed with a vegetarian family I must admit that my concept of boring, vegetarian food was totally transformed thanks to the cookery skills of the ladies of the house. The smells would drift through the house each evening, drawing me in like a moth against my will. Every meal was absolutely delicious and totally meat-free.

So why not grab yourself some vegetarian cook books from your local library and get experimenting. There are so many options these days that I’m sure you’ll find at least a few that get your taste buds going 🙂

2 Responses to “4 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Meat Use”

  1. Small FootprintsNo Gravatar 27 April 2010 at 6:27 pm Permalink

    Wonderful article! Simply replacing one meat meal a week has a tremendous, positive impact on the environment. A entire meat-free day is all the better. And as you pointed out, it's really not all that difficult.

    Here are a few more ideas … simply remove the meat from dishes … for example, spaghetti does quite nicely without meat. Try different ethnic cuisines … many Indian dishes, for example, are delicious without meat … Mexican dishes such as bean and rice burritos are wonderful. Visit a vegetarian restaurant … "veggie" food has come a long ways (gone are the raw carrot & celery meals) … one will find delicious meals that even the most devout carnivore will enjoy.

    In the end, it's all about our willingness to try something different and our commitment to making the world a better place.

    Have a great day!

  2. RichardNo Gravatar 1 May 2010 at 11:41 am Permalink

    I agree with you completely. I'd trying something new this week actually in the form of some breaded brocolli and cheese burgers which look *amazing*! Can't wait!


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