Can We Save the Planet by Joining Meatless Mondays?

Corey HarnishPlanet

meatless mondays

Have you ever pledged to become a vegan or vegetarian but constantly reverting back to your routine meat-eater diet? Don’t feel guilty. You are not alone.

According to the study by Humane Research Council, five out of six self-identified vegetarians in the U.S. eventually abandon their all-veggie ways. Vegetarian diet is quite hard for people to maintain over the long haul, and frankly, the veggie sausage or bacon strip may have lower nutrition value than junk food.

So how can you get the best of both worlds? In fact, whether you opt to forsake meat products for animal welfare, environmental protection or health reasons, it does not necessarily have to be an all-or-nothing commitment. Instead, you may try “reducetarianism” – by taking baby steps to cut down your meat consumption but don’t give it up entirely – like eating meat once a day instead of twice.

Benefits of Becoming a Reducetarian

Health Benefits

Various studies have demonstrated that plant-based diet can yield tremendous health benefits. Because veggies are usually associated with higher proportions of dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium and many phytochemicals, it can help prevent and even reverse some of the deadliest diseases in the modern society – such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

In a study that combined data from 6 studies in Europe and North America, researchers reported that compared to those with high meat intake,  adults who eat less meat appeared to have significantly longer life expectancy.

More specifically, the findings in two of the studies showed that long-term adherence to a vegetarian diet  (more than 2 decades) can produce an increase in average lifespan by 3.6 years.

Animal Welfare

If the health reasons are not enough, here’s another. Transition to plant-based diets means fewer animals are being tortured and then slaughtered to meet our demand for eggs, diary and meat.

The livestock industry is notorious for animal abuse. Actually, a factory farm is no better than a death camp – animals are kept in tiny, dark and filthy spaces for the entire duration of their short lives. Most of the animals never have access to the outdoors, breathe fresh air or feel the warmth of sunlight.

However, by eating more vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and legumes, you can save about 371 to 582 animals each year, which equals to at least an animal a day .

Environmental Issues

Finally, eating less meat is one of the most effective way we can take to fight climate change. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report, livestock represents 14.5 % of all manmade greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a majority of which coming from the resources needed to grow and ship the corn and soy that feed the animals.

Also, a new study from University of Oxford shows a positive relationship between dietary GHG emissions and the amount of animal-based products in a standard 2,000 kcal diet. Therefore, even if you find it hard to endure a completely meatless diet, you can easily reduce your carbon footprint by its third simply by cutting your daily meat consumption by half

Practical Guide for Reducetarian Newbies

Still confused about where to start as a reducetarian? Here are 5 tips provided by Brian Kateman, the president of the Reducetarian Foundation:

reducetarianism

If you are ready to prepare and cook healthy vegetarians dishes yourself, check out these websites and you’ll find thousands of delicious vegetarian recipes from the expert chefs!

  1. Jamie Oliver
  2. Food Networks 
  3. Vegetarian Times

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Corey Harnish

Corey is the CEO of Better Word International, leading the development of The Good Cards which is an innovative online-gaming platform and app that engages people worldwide in doing good deeds for happiness and global sustainability. As an active life coach and aspiring social justice activist, Corey empowers individuals and communities and helps them to flourish through personal development coaching and community service involvement.