Nice to meat you - except on Mondays..05 Sep 2018
You've decided it's time to be better. You're going to trade your SUV for a Hybrid. Maybe you're going to trade it for a push-bike and improve your health as well. You'll be a star, your friends will be so impressed and the earth will thank you! But when you are 20km into your 35km cycle, you might begin to reconsider.. Good news - praise the vegetable gods, there's an easier way!
Skipping steak-night couldn’t possibly have the same impact as sweating it out along the highway? Hats off to those who do it, but going meatless one day a week is certainly more achievable. It may seem that reducing your meat intake once a week wouldn't even scratch the surface of emission reduction? Imagine 26 million people in Australia all giving it a crack, the difference would be immense. The raising of livestock and production of meat products uses more energy/water and generates more waste than the equivalent amount of protein and energy generated from plants. The methane produced, transportation, refrigeration and packaging for meat products creates huge amounts of emmisions.
Comparison of perceived and actual contribution to climate change - Chathamhouse.org
If we consume less meat, less will be produced. What about your health? 3-years-deep into a bachelor of Nutrition Science, I am all for the benefits of consuming a little meat. As a source of protein for muscle growth and function, iron for healthy blood, vitamin B12 for cell development and much more. Though if there’s one thing we learn over and over, it’s that with any nutrient crucial to health, too much is not good either. As a country our meat consumption is well above where it should be.
By replacing meat with a vegetable or a plant based alternative once or twice a week, you are more likely to consume less fat, more fibre for steady digestion, antioxidants to assist in lowering disease-risk and essential vitamins for immunity and balance. Without meat, you may want to over-do the carbohydrates. To fill the meat gap try these, legumes (tick), beans (tick), or more veggies (big tick)! Develop healthy habits, automatically switching from meat and pasta, to sweet potato and sautéed greens. You’ll save time cooking, save money, purchase your groceries package-free, and you’ll feel lighter and fresher on the inside.
Doing good feels good, and eating well will improve your mood. Don't worry about missing your social Sunday brunch because you're not eating bacon, many venues are on board the veggie train! Healthy eating is becoming normal, be part of it and help the planet while you’re at it.
Eloise Mounsey - Fair Food Forager / UOW Intern
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