“Isn’t that just a conspiracy theory?”
“Is what a conspiracy theory?”
“That eating meat causes climate change?”
“Well… according to the UN, eating meat does contribute to climate change.”
“So that’s true?”
“Yeah, I think at this point we call that either science or news. Your pick.”
. . .
It’s easy to feel powerless when it comes to climate change. But, there’s one simple thing you can do: eat less meat.
Eating meat contributes to climate change because the amount of resources needed to produce meat on an industrial scale in our modern world. Sure, if we were all farming our own chickens in the back yard, it would be a different story. But we’re not.
Now, if you’re a big meat eater, you don’t need to stop reading here. The UN isn’t suggesting anything crazy – just eat less meat. Just once or twice a week, switch out something you might usually eat with meat and put a veggie there instead. It all helps.
But for realsies, there are some major financial, health and environmental benefits to eating less meat.
Here’s why I’ve made the switch.
We’ve already laid this out on a global scale: if, as a global population, we eat less meat, there’s less deforestation to grow plants to turn into feed for cows who are shipped across the world and individually packaged for us to eat. It uses loads of resources for a cow to go from the paddock to our plate compared to vegetables alone, and every single step of that path contributes to climate change.
On a personal, daily level, by not eating meat, I use less single-use plastic, because meat is always wrapped in plastic. While I can’t see how I’m impacting a forest on the other side of the world by not eating meat, I can see that there is one less piece of plastic that I am not interacting with each week.
It’s official: bacon causes cancer. And red meat isn’t too great either – it counts as a Group 2A carcinogen (which means it probably causes cancer). Let’s face it – eating meat is basically the new smoking.
In fact, there are no real health benefits of eating meat as an adult if you’re eating a wide variety of veggies to get your vitamins. Yep, it’s great to have iron and protein from a steak. Or you get those vitamins from baked beans.
Related Listening: [PODCAST] Vegans: Are They Right?
There are only a couple of vitamins that you might receive fewer of by being vegetarian. If you throw in some tofu and spinach into your diet and get regular doses of sunlight; you should be good to go in terms of getting the vitamins you would otherwise get from meat.
Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that there isn’t a plant-based alternative for, so taking a multivitamin supplement is important to keep your blood pumping around your body. No one wants the feeling of their leg falling asleep every day for the rest of time.
The only thing to keep in mind that when you’re a vegetarian, you need to, you know, eat vegetables. Potato chips, cookies and two-minute noodles are technically vegetarian – but won’t give you the vitamins you need. If you’re cutting out meat, make sure you’re cooking food that is legit healthy for you.
Any vegetarian meal at a cafe is significantly cheaper than one with meat.
If you’re at a restaurant, vegetarian meals are usually around $3-$5 cheaper, which, over a year, adds up.
If you ate lunch and dinner out in every meal and chose the veggie-only option, you would be saving over $3,500 compared to your meat-eating friends.
Do the math for how much meat you eat, and see how much you’d save.
How to do it
Switching up your diet isn’t that hard, so you add more veggie meals into your rotation.
It starts with:
- Pinteresting to find recipes where veggies are the hero
- If you eat out, try the vegetarian-only meal on offer. It’s probably amazing.
- Once a week, trying a new recipe to cook and bookmark your favourites to add into regular rotation
- Break old habits. Catch yourself when you go for meat as the default. All new things take practise!
It’s easier than you think – it’s just one meal at a time to do your bit for the planet.
Pick one meal you’re going to cook this week which would usually have meat. Google the name of it and pop the words “vegetarian or vegan” into the search and see what amazing alternative recipes come up. Give one a go!