Reducetarianism: Meat and the Environment

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For some, going completely vegetarian may seem like a daunting task. Learn about the positive impacts simply reducing your meat intake can have!

Did you know it takes as much water to produce a pound of beef, as one person would use by taking an average shower every day for four months? The standard American diet currently requires 4,200 gallons of water per day, while a vegan diet only requires about 300 gallons per day. Meat production also uses more fossil fuels and creates more waste than fresh produce production. An article published in the Climate Change Journal in 2014 showed that omnivorous diets create 2.5 times more greenhouse gas than a vegan diet of the same caloric value.

Being health conscious means understanding not only how what we eat affects our body, but also how it affects the planet. Producing food takes water and fossil fuels. Not all foods are created equally – some use considerably more natural resources than others. By understanding these differences, we can use our forks to reduce our carbon-footprint; the mark we leave on the world by living in it.

So how can we help?  Reducetarianism is a term used to describe someone who is committed to consuming less meat and animal products than they were previously, in order to reduce environmental impact. Here are some ideas to get you going:

  1. Participate in Meatless Mondays where you go vegetarian once a week!
  2. Swap beans, lentils, or crumbled tofu cooked with taco seasoning for meat in tacos.
  3. Choose the veggie patty or portabella mushroom instead of a burger patty.
  4. Try a new tempeh or tofu dish once a week.
  5. Consume half the amount of meat your normally would at a sitting, building meals around colorful vegetables, whole grains, and beans instead.
  6. Try a restaurant with a vegetarian menu section. A good place to start is Asian cuisine, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian, as they often have many options.