One of the most often inquiries I receive from customers is, “Must I become a vegetarian to embrace a GREEN lifestyle?” Well, to be honest, there is no black-and-white answer to this topic. Some will argue an unambiguous “Yes!” while others will say “No!” I will respond by stating, “That depends on your dietary lifestyle.” I believe our dietary habits can all contribute to the preservation of the world. Let me clarify… I’ll begin by stating that, calorie for calorie, plant agriculture is more energy efficient than animal agriculture. Removing beef and dairy from your diet, which rely heavily on oil as an energy source, will result in immediate savings for you and the environment.
This is due to the fact that producing vegetables requires approximately 2 fossil fuel calories per calorie of food, whereas growing animal protein requires 20-80 fossil fuel calories per calorie of food. Therefore, consuming more vegetarian meals throughout the week would reduce your carbon footprint and produce a calorie deficit. This diet is both healthy for you and the environment if you wish to reduce weight.
But if you find it tough to give up eating meat, whether it be beef, chicken, hog, or fish, let’s consider another perspective. I am aware that not everyone is capable of making a complete transition to a vegetarian lifestyle, and that not everyone will choose to do so. For those of you who still want to “have your meat and eat it too,” here are several ways to do so while maintaining a “greener” diet.
Reduce the quantity of animal protein in your diet to get started. Are you familiar with “meatless Mondays”? Begin by eating one or two meatless meals per week. When you do consume beef, chicken, fish, or fowl at a meal, you can also reduce the amount of meat on your plate. And when you reduce your meat consumption, increase your veggie intake. Make it enjoyable by attempting a new vegetarian meal every so often.
Whenever feasible, purchase sustainable meat, fish, and poultry. Yes, I am aware that this can be a bit more expensive, but if you consume 1-2 vegetarian meals per week and reduce your protein portion sizes, the extra cost of organic beef should not significantly strain your food budget.
That concludes the discussion. I’m a realist; although it would be wonderful if the majority of people adopted a vegetarian lifestyle because the benefits are so evident and well-documented, I realize that won’t happen. But I DO believe that each and every one of us can contribute to a healthier diet that will have a great effect not just on our personal health, but also on the sustainability of our world!