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5 Reasons to Eat Less Meat

5 Reasons to Eat Less Meat

People are eating more meat than ever, but how does meat production impact the environment?

Even as we struggle with a shaky economy, we’re seeing more meat consumption worldwide. This is partly because more people in developing countries are eating meat. As food prices rise, another worrisome trend in meat consumption is that people are consuming cheaper cuts of meat. That tends to mean meat from factory farms and low-quality meats that are more unhealthy than their leaner counterparts.

We know that too much meat is unhealthy for your body, but it turns out that producing the meat you eat isn’t so hot for the planet, either. Here are just a few of the environmental impacts of eating meat:

  1. Efficiency. Rather than directly eating beans and grains, we have to grow these plants to feed to livestock, which uses more land, more water, and more fossil fuels.
  2. Deforestation. All of those animals have to live somewhere, and when farmers need more land to raise livestock they sometimes do so at the detriment of forests. In fact, a 2009 study found that 80 percent of Amazon deforestation was linked to raising cows.
  3. Antibiotic resistance. Factory farming operations rely heavily on antibiotics to keep their animals healthy and help them produce more meat per animal. This antibiotic abuse is already breeding antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
  4. Water pollution. Factory farming methods are notorious for water pollution. According to the NRDC, these concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) can produce as much sewage waste as a small city!
  5. Fossil fuels. Conventional agriculture in general is very fossil-fuel intensive, and meat production is incredibly wasteful. It takes eight times the fossil fuels to produce meat than to produce plant-based proteins, like beans and corn.

Opting for meat from smaller-scale, non-industrial farms can help mitigate some of the problems above. Ditching the CAFO meat means paying more, and a good way to mitigate the increased cost is to eat less meat or even cut it out of your diet all together. I know that giving meat up completely isn’t for everyone, but even replacing a few meals a week with meatless ones can make a difference! If you are looking to cut back or cut out the meat, check out some of these vegan cooking tips for beginners to help get you started. A couple of good vegan or vegetarian cookbooks can be a big help in transitioning to a less meat-intensive diet, too!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Ian Mynard

Related:
The Staggering Impact of Meat Production
Factory Farming 101
10 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes

Read more: Basics, Conscious Consumer, Eating for Health, Eco-friendly tips, Food, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , , , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

227 comments

+ add your own
3:34PM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Kudos to all those people who evolved into being "Vegans". Change is not easy and that they changed shows that they cared so much ! :)

6:43AM PST on Jan 1, 2014

Absolutely!!

12:08PM PST on Nov 12, 2013

www.eatneat.com !

7:52PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Excellent article.

7:51PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

I almost never eat animal protein,

9:15AM PST on Nov 29, 2012

All true. Thanks.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Always an interesting discussion and the world is full of a variety of foods where one can try out a number of different fruits and veggies almost any day.

One can eat less meat, the required portion is actually around the size of a deck of cards or less. while some opt for no meat in their diet. There are days when one doesn't have to include meat in the diet. This being said, people can follow their own path.

No one side in the eat meat,/do not eat meat has a monopoly on Truth, Wisdom and Virtue. Citing websites/studies in hopes of changing a meat eater's mind is not going to work. Telling a vegan or vegetarian to dine on steak is ridiculous. Choosing organic, non GMO, laced with pesticides veggies/fruit or free range organic meat is going to result in healthier bodies.

If Mother Nature wants to get around to redesigning the way things work on Earth where all living entities survive by consuming inorganic rock pate, it will certainly make food less expensive. Boring perhaps. Until then we all survive by eating organic matter be it plants, fruits, honey, eggs, quinoa, meat or whatever. Throughout life follow your own path, avoid berating anyone who disagrees with your lifestyle.

9:04PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Thank you for sharing this great info

1:48PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Eat NO meat! Sentient life is here to experience freely and with total self-determination, regardless of the material form the spirit enters.

3:53PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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