by Jay Hiller, July 31, 2022
I’ve been a vegetarian in the past, sometimes for years at a time. I’ve participated in Veganuary (sticking to a plant based diet during the month of January.) I’ve also eaten a vegan diet for longer periods of time. For most of the last 3 years, I ate an omnivore diet, mostly because I was interested in building muscle and countering the muscle loss that comes with aging. Eating meat was an efficient way to do that.
About 6 months ago I stopped eating meat on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The impetus for that was not health based, or at least not directly related to my own health. I read in a newspaper that one of the most powerful things that individuals can do to counter climate change is to cut their meat consumption back by 40%. Using elementary school math skills I calculated that 40% of a week is 2.8 days. When my cholesterol came back a little high when I went for my annual check up, it was another argument for cutting back on meat.
This has been super easy to implement. My daughter suggested getting a pressure cooker which makes cooking beans and legumes very easy. She also generously sent me a vegan cookbook. There’s an abundance of good vegetarian recipes on the internet. I’ve had absolutely no difficulty meeting my goal of eating about 30 grams of protein per meal on my vegetarian days. Having the overarching goal of skipping meat 3 times per week makes it easy to be flexible, if someone offers me something with meat in it on say, a Saturday. I just make my meatless day another day.
It’s hot. In the paper today, I read about floods and wildfires in different parts of the world. The writers of The Carbon Almanac place eating less meat and dairy second on the list of 9 things that individuals can do to make an impact on climate. It seems like such a simple thing to do and provides a counter to the feeling of helplessness that comes with the more and more obvious effects of climate change we’re all experiencing. I hope you’ll consider it.
The Carbon Almanac’s ranked list of nine things people can do to make an impact on climate:
- Make your voice heard by those in power
- Eat less meat and dairy
- Cut back on flying
- Leave the car at home
- Reduce your energy use (and bills)
- Respect and protect green spaces
- Invest your money responsibly
- Cut consumption and waste
- Talk about the changes you make
I am not a doctor or a registered dietician. If you have questions about your diet and health you should consult with a professional.