The meat lover’s guide to eating just a little bit less meat
The planet we call home has supported life for approximately 3.5 billion years, and even in the face of evolution, seismic activity and natural fluctuations in the climate - there has always been a balance - but human activity is beginning to change this, and our consumption of meat is one of the biggest contributing factors.
So how does meat impact climate change and the ecological dilemma?
Well, there are two reasons for reducing the amount that you’re eating.
Firstly, agriculture, and the rearing of animals in particular, is the third most pollutive industry in the world - with industries like tanning following closely behind.
Secondly, it’s actually pretty good for you (as well as the environment) to reduce the amount of meat that you’re eating.
If you look at areas of the world that have the lowest numbers of people recorded with chronic disease - they tend to eat a lot less animal protein - which means they’re not eating as much saturated fat that clogs up your arteries. On top of that - fiber rich vegetables and beans help reduce the risk of heart disease and a high-blood pressure.
Oh, and there’s one other benefit of reducing the amount of meat you’re eating. The cost! Ever wondered why vegetarians are always able to afford that extra pint or glass of wine in the pub? That’s right, it’s because they’re saving an average £750/$1,000 more than you by not eating meat.
Take it one meal at a time
Firstly, no-one is asking you to go tee-total on meat, because like most diets - it’ll work for about a week before you fall back into your old habits and give up on the whole idea as there are foods that you just miss.
Most research has shown us that if we want to get our emissions right down for the planet, we need to be managing a 40% reduction in the amount of meat that we’re eating.
So if you start with ‘meatless Monday’ and work towards adding in ‘save the planet Saturday’ and one other day of meat-free eating (we’ll let you name it yourself) - then you’re already well on your way to helping both yourself and the planet.
Swap red for white
Cutting down on the amount of meat that you’re eating is a great first step - but actually there’s something else that you can do that will help the environment.
To put things into perspective, if two people eat 100g of meat - one being red meat and the other being white, the person eating the white meat (chicken, turkey etc.), would have a carbon footprint that’s 113kg of CO2 lower (that’s just over 250 miles in the car) than the person eating the red meat (lamb, beef etc.).
So when you do eat meat - save the beef or pork for the special occasions, or at least do what you can to reduce that the most.
Reducing your red for your white is also good for your body. While red meat is good in moderation (for iron and other important minerals), excess red meat consumption can lead to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, and even certain cancers.
Find fleshy vegetables
One of the best ways to start phasing out meat in your life is to use vegetables that pack a punch, both in terms of flavour and texture. Vegetables like hearty mushrooms, aubergines jackfruit, cauliflower and potatoes all work well.
One region that has fully embraced meat free living is the middle east, and Israeli in particular. In Tel Aviv roasted cauliflower is a common centrepiece for a vegetarian feast, with its crispy burnt edges and golden crust rivalling any cut of meat.
Chef Eyal Jagermann puts together the most incredible roasted cauliflower as part of the Taste of Tel Aviv program we offer on Rassa.