This post is a free bonus chapter to go with my book “Greensplaining”. You can get the full book here.
Eating less meat is one of the steps you can take to live a little greener. (If you’re wondering why, go to the reading list below this chapter for sources). On paper, this sounds good: eat less meat, help climate change, maybe live a more healthy life. In practice, though, it’s hard. How can you tweak your diet to be less meat-reliant? Try these three questions, and ask them often.
1. How can I get really good meat-free stuff?
This is my usual first hurdle, the first thing that trips me up: I don’t really know if something I’m about to eat will be good or not. When supermarket shopping, I know a chicken is a chicken – but the meat-free alternatives I’m not always sure about.
So ask this question often when you shop, eat out, prepare a meal plan. And then go research your answers. In the UK, PETA tries to regularly publish awards for good vegan food, and it works: take a look at the vegan churros on this page and tell me you’re not a bit more convinced.
2. How can I get good meat-free fast food options?
This is the next problem. If you’re out and about, perhaps with a group of friends, saving the planet is maybe not your top priority. If you’ve only got an hour before the game, or only two or three places on this motorway exit, how can you possibly be picky about meat-free stuff?
Do your homework. Ask this question when you’re preparing for your trip, or day out. Research your stuff in your own time. And then, once you find something you like, just stick to it. If you can go vegan with a Subway sandwich (you can), then what’s the problem? Check out this article for more evidence and inspiration.
3. How can I make sure I cook big batches of good meat-free food?
This one is pre-emptive. You choose your meal plan, then you cook your meals, and make sure there’s little or no meat involved. The result is a fridge / freezer full of good, meat-free stuff. If you’re into cooking, you were going to shop, prep, plan, and cook anyway. So make the recipes use less meat, and you’re done.
I’m a big fan of this question, and I’d really recommend this: batch-cooking is a brilliant thing to do for your budget. And cooking without meat means you don’t even have to think about being greener – the food is just there! Check out this website for a few ways to get started.
Reading list / sources
“Eating less meat could cut climate costs”, New Scientist
“How meat contributes to global warming”, Scientific American
“Livestock a major threat to the environment”, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
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