I love me some steak (and chicken, turkey, ham, fish…and BACON!). I always have and always will, but over the last few years I have made a conscious effort to cut down on my meat consumption. I don’t eat meat for breakfast or lunch. I also plan for 1 dinner with meat and 1 dinner with fish each week. Red meat is reserved for a once a month indulgence. Why have I cut back? There are real benefits of eliminating meat from our diets (at least some of the time). For the meat lovers out there like myself it might seem like a daunting task, but being a part-time vegetarian is a good way to help your body, your bank account, and the planet.
Here is why I am a part-time vegetarian…
People who eat little to no meat have a decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and certain cancers. Studies of more than 900,000 women done by the Archives of Internal Medicine have shown that women in their 20, 30s, and 40s who ate red meat or processes meat on a daily basis were more likely to develop breast cancer. And even more recently the World Health Organization announced a direct link between processed meats and colon cancer.Although the effects of meat consumption are not thought to be as harmful as say cigarette smoke, the findings are enough to make me cut down, especially with the processed meats! Bye bye bacon.:(
Meat consumption can totally break the bank, especially if you are trying to eat organic, grass fed, free range products (the “healthy” meats). Compare a $14 organic chicken breast to a $5 package of tempeh or beans. Or a $29/lb cut of organic beef tenderloin?! If you opted for the plant based protein, you would be cutting out a major chunk of change from the grocery bill. I save a minimum of $50 per week eating the way I do. Sorry, Whole Foods, but you already take enough of my money. I am going to sauté some tempeh tonight!
Word is spreading about how the livestock industry is one of the leading causes of global warming on the planet. There are a lot of percentages being thrown around by environmental experts. The facts seem to differ depending on who you talk to, but one thing they all agree on is that meat consumption is harming the planet and will continue to do so if we don’t change our eating habits. According to World Bank environmental advisor Robert Goochland, it has been estimated that up to 15% of the worlds greenhouse gases are produced by livestock and 61% of those gasses come from cows. With a growing population and demand for more food it is estimated that the world’s carbon budget will be exhausted by 2050. What?! That’s terrifying. According the US Department of Agriculture each American eats 125 lbs of meat per year, so I try do my part by making meat a once in a while indulgence. At the risk of sounding super corny and idealistic here… Just think of the difference it would make if we all cut back just a little bit?!
That being said… The part-time vegetarian life style has worked for me so far. Could it work for you? I have some really great recipes for plant based protein meals if anyone is interested. Contact me anytime! firstname.lastname@example.org