Hopefully, as a responsible inhabitant of this unbelievably awesome planet you do your best to be mindful about your role in the environment. When asked how individuals help the environment, the most common answer is through recycling – which is a very honorable practice and I highly encourage it! However, there is so much more you could easily, almost effortlessly, be doing to help scale back your footprint – and it starts in the kitchen.
Reducing your meat & dairy consumption is the single greatest thing you could do to reduce your environmental impact!
This does not mean you must commit to a life of meat-free, dairy-free existence. By just choosing one day a week to commit to going vegan (no animal bi-products) you can have a huge impact on the environment! It is easy to tell ourselves that as just one person we do not have an impact on the earth, but that is absolutely not true. Each and every one of us has both an impact and a duty to keep that impact in check. It may take practice, but with preparation and planning, everyone can do their part to help reduce the carbon footprint through dietary choices. I challenge you to adopt #MeatlessMonday into your weekly routine!
Still not convinced? Here are some statistics:
According to Earthday.org:
If over the course of a year you:
• Ate one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.
• Skip meat and cheese one day a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
• Skip steak once a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for nearly three months.
• And if the entire U.S. did not eat meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
Many people voice the concern that they will not be getting enough protein if they do not eat meat. Fortunately, by eating a combination of vegetables it is easily possible to get enough protein. “Complementary proteins” is the term used to refer to vegetable and/or grain combinations that provide all of the essential amino acids that meat provides.
If you are struggling to think of ways to switch up your usual dinners, check out these 23 meat & dairy protein alternatives from the Greatist Newsletter to remix your meals sans meat:
- Garbanzo beans
- Black beans
- Black eyed peas
- Split peas
- Pumpkin (Pumpkin Seeds)
- Textured Vegetable Protein
- Imitation crab
(Click here to read more about proteins in my article over protein digestibility).
Black bean tacos
Black bean spaghetti
Beans, rice, and tomato stuffed peppers
Additional sources on the potential of Meatless Monday’s: