Top tips to help you successfully reduce your meat intake!
When you cut meat out of your diet not only do you lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even some forms of cancer but you also contribute to a better planet! We know it’s not easy to make that initial step- which is why we’ve rounded up some of the best strategies to help you reduce your meat intake long term..
1/ Understand the why - why should I cut down on my meat intake?
When we compare meat-based diets with plant-based diets, plant-based diets require less energy, water and land resources. By going meatless you not only reduce your impact on the environment, but you also cut down on your carbon footprint! Since a plant-based diet is significantly more sustainable- it’s a great starting point in your journey to leading an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
2/ Try the LESS strategy
We are all about sustainable long term change so you don’t need to become a full time vegetarian overnight. If you’re someone who finds yourself gravitating towards meat in almost all of your meals, then the ‘less’ strategy is a great place to start. Try encouraging yourself to have one plant-based meal a day. From here try having a dedicated day such as ‘Meatless Monday’- it’s only one day a week, but if everyone took part we would save 1.4 billion animals every year! Now that is a motivator!
Another option is to start by cutting out red meat initially as it has the largest carbon footprint - double that of white meat. Once you’ve gotten comfortable cutting out red meat you can move onto cutting out options such as chicken and pork. In order to be successful, you want to build up to your goal.
3/ Try out meat substitutes
To still make the recipes you enjoy, and love try substituting the following protein-rich foods for meat:
- Firm tofu — a perfect addition to stir-fry dishes. Tofu is a great substitute for meats including pork, chicken, beef, and seafood in recipes. It’s made from soybeans which makes it high in protein and calcium.
- Tempeh tofu - this has a great texture, perfect for providing a hearty meat like meal.
- Seitan - this is processed wheat gluten and it is a great source of protein and with the right spices you can kid your firends it is meat!
- Vegetable protein (textured dry mix); just add water and this is your new mince!
- Beans and legumes are great in casseroles and salads. Beans come in a variety of options such as green, red, brown, and black. They cook up quickly, are inexpensive, and a small amount goes a long way!
- Vegetarian refried beans — a yummy substitute for meat in burritos and tacos.
4/ Link it to a health goal
There are so many great health benefits to cutting out meat in your diet! By focusing on the health benefits that arise from a plant-based diet it becomes easier to stick to your goal. Studies have found that a plant-based diet is almost twice as effective in reducing body weight in comparison to a meat-based diet. By cutting out options such as red meat you're also reducing the amount of saturated fats in your food, which have been linked to higher cholesterol levels.
If you’re keen to learn more about the way eating meat impacts your health- check out the Game Changers documentary on Netflix!
5/ Keep the fish (sustainably sourced)
By trying out a pescatarian-based diet, it essentially means being vegetarian while still including seafood in your diet. You can still cut out your red meat, pork, poultry from your diet while keeping fish and other seafood. By going pescatarian, you’re still significantly reducing your carbon footprint. That's because seafood production releases far fewer greenhouse gases than their land-based counterparts.
6/ Get your friends involved
We know it can be tempting and difficult to give up a habit like a plant-based diet, we find getting your friends or partner involved helps to hold you accountable. Treat yourself and try out vegetarian restaurants to inspire your cooking. You could even track your progress to keep you motivated!
You can do it - and remember if everyone makes a small change we could reduce carbon emissions by more than 20% making a huge impact collectively.
Thanks for reading!