How and Why Should We Eat Less Meat
At present, most of our lives are about doing something more. It could be working or exercising more. Or even calling our parents more. However, did you know we can do something good by doing less? This is exactly what we can do if we eat less meat. It is estimated that an average American eats more than 220 pounds of actual meat. This was a report done in 2018 by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. If you compare this number to an average Indian’s consumption of meat you will get around 9 pounds a year.
By consuming so much meat, we are slowly harming the health of our bodies as well as the environment. Due to our excessive meat consumption, one forest after another is cleared out to bring up livestock. Besides that, there is also a lot of waste being dumped into the water sources. On the other hand, by reducing our meat consumption we can also decrease our risks of cancer and heart problems.
However, these are things we have known about for years now. Since the beginning of the 2000s, the Meatless Mondays movement has been around. This is when John Hopkins stated that people can easily make changes to their behaviour on the first day of the week. But, even if we’re motivated, it is hard to actively eat less meat. Although with some tweaks to your meals, you can make a change.
The Right Mindset
It is always helpful to understand the science behind changes in behaviour. This is because when we understand something, we’re more likely to follow through. Also, being educated on the subject can help guide you on your journey to eat less meat. It can even help redirect the blame you may put on yourself if you slip up.
One thing that is found to help change behaviour is stress. Now we may think that stress is bad because everyone says so. But, it is useful in this case because your body and mind will work harder to reach a point of no stress. So, it is important that you improve your relationship with stress for this to work.
Another concept that seems to work for people is the “growth mindset” promoted by Carol Dweck. This mindset talks about how some people pin their satisfaction on the journey. These people seem to have better success than those who aim for the end goal. Besides that, there are studies that show that working with a partner or a group is more motivating. This helps people to identify with others on their journey. It also keeps each individual accountable and committed to the journey.
Alternate The Types Of Meat
It is found that there is a clear variation between how different meats impact both our health and the environment. But, it is a bit hard to eat less meat as it cuts back on a large chunk of your diet. This is why you can swap the unhealthier meats out with relatively healthier ones.
A good option for both the environment and your health is seafood caught in the wild. But, this also has some nuances to it. Because of high pollution levels, some of the seafood you get may contain traces of mercury. And so, you should limit this type.
Besides that, compared to dairy, poultry is also less harmful to the environment. Also, it is much healthier than most red meats. However, the poultry industry does have some controversial and unethical practices. Even so, red meat is the main problem right now, so you can consume poultry on cheat days.
Experiment With Meat Substitutes Like Tempeh And Tofu
You may have seen that plant-based foods have increasingly become more popular. This is due to the rise in vegan and vegetarian diets and many people choosing to eat less meat. Due to their popularity, the flavour and quality of these foods have become much better. A great meat substitute is Seitan. It is produced from wheat gluten so it is a great option assuming you don’t have a gluten sensitivity. You can use it in tacos or pho. You can make really delicious dishes if you prepare them well.
Besides that, you can also try TVP which is a textured veggie protein. This is made with soy flour. It is a great alternative to recipes with ground meat. You can also go for tofu or tempeh.
Find Inspiration From Various Cuisines
If you’re struggling to eat less meat, a lot of cuisines out there are vegan and vegetarian-friendly. This means you can really explore them and find out what works best for your meals. You can also bring a great umami flavour to your food through other cuisines. For instance, Indian food uses different flavours of spices and pungent sauces. This helps bring a new level to the dish that would usually be taken by meat. You can try out a samosa with potato filling or chana masala.
Discover The World Of Legumes
A lot of what is stocked on the shelves of our grocery stores is fixed. This is because the suppliers will put only products that they know will sell and are more profitable for them. In any case, if you’re looking to eat less meat, you can look at some unknown or foreign types of legumes. You can try fresh or dried fava beans or some daal with black lentils. You don’t need to keep eating the same refried beans all the time.
Keep Your Eyes On The Grain
You will find quite a few types of grain out there. Each of them offers a special texture, nutrition and taste. This means you can choose from a wide choice of grains. They can satisfy your goal to eat less meat. If you’re someone who enjoys a huge bowl of porridge in the morning, you can swap your oats for amaranth or sorghum. Besides that, you can also go with cornmeal for a yummy polenta, millet, buckwheat, and many other types of rice.
There are many ways we can eat less meat. However, a lot of people don’t understand how they can do it and why they should.
The methane gas produced by goats, sheep and cows at the time of digestion has stretched our ecosystem thin. We can even reach healthy levels of weight by eating less meat. Also, the consumption of seafood, red meat and poultry affect us as well as the environment.
Some ways you can eat less meat are as follows:
- You can use teff grain to make an alternative to bread like Injera.
- More than that, shredded jackfruit is also another substitute for pulled chicken, rok or textured beef. Though, it is not a good substitute for protein so you may want to add it through another item.
- There are also Israeli cuisines with kosher rules. This removes meat from their dishes. So you can go with a Falafel sandwich or Za’atar roasted carrots.
What are some of your favourite alternatives to meat? How did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments section below!
Danielle is a content writer with a love for books, music, and lifestyle blogs.