7 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Meat in Your Diet – EcoWatch

7 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Meat in Your Diet – EcoWatch

It’s common knowledge that meat has an outsized impact on the environment, but a new study finds that the consequences are even more dire than previously thought. The study, published by Nature Research in 2021, determined that meat is responsible for nearly 60% of all food-production-related greenhouse gas emissions, which is 2x more than plant-based foods. In terms of total global emissions, 14% come from livestock alone, and beef is the main culprit. To put it into perspective, 2.5kg of greenhouse gases are emitted to produce 1kg of wheat, while 70kg are emitted to produce a single kilo of beef.

Meat consumption is directly linked to human-caused climate change and the extreme weather and temperature events of recent years. It also has a proven impact on water and air pollution, deforestation, and global loss of biodiversity. To prevent catastrophic warming, scientists warn that drastic changes must be made regarding our food choices, and soon; to meet global emissions goals for 2050, the World Resource Institute recommends that all wealthy nations cut their consumption of dairy, beef, and lamb by 40%.

We wield great power with our food choices, and small changes to our diet can make a big difference. Corporations are responsible for the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, but individual choice is still an important tool for combatting climate change and environmental degradation, including what we put on our plates.

Plant-based alternatives have rapidly gained popularity in the last 15 years; in 2020, Ipsos Retail Performance conducted a study of retail traffic data that concluded that 9.7 million Americans are now following plant-based diets, which is an increase of 9.4 million since 2004. With the new, plentiful options for plant-based food available to consumers, many are ready to consider replacing meat in their diet. While vegetarian and vegan diets aren’t automatically healthy, eating less meat is associated with lower risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers, which has also encouraged many to go plant-based.

Going fully vegetarian or vegan is a great goal, but you don’t need to cut out meat entirely to make a difference with your dietary choices. The flexitarian diet – a term coined in the early 2000s – focuses on eating fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and other plant-based items, but gives individuals the leeway to still enjoy meat on occasion without making it a part of their daily routine. A flexible plant-based diet like this opens up the possibility of eating less meat without a full commitment to vegetarianism or veganism.

Whether you’re strictly plant-based, a flexitarian, or just beginning to explore meatless eating, here are a few easy tactics for cutting down on meat in your meals.

Treat Meat as a Side Dish, Not the Main Course

You can still enjoy animal products while also minimizing how much of your plate they take up.

Protein is an important part of a healthy diet, but evidence suggests that we eat much more than is necessary. It is recommended that women and men consume 46 and 56 grams of protein a day respectively, but American men consume an average of about 100 grams per day, leaving plenty of room to reduce meat in the average diet.

The American Cancer Society recommends eating only 3-4oz of meat …….

Source: https://www.ecowatch.com/how-to-eat-less-meat-2656045481.html

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