Reducing your meat consumption: new arguments
Are you interested in saving money and reducing your ecological footprint? Why not try to reducing meat consumption every day. You’d certainly be doing a favour to your wallet and to the planet.
Here are some tips to help you!
Better for your wallet
Eating vegetable protein in place of meat sometimes will have a positive impact on your food budget. Meat is often expensive and if there are several mouths to feed or if you’re a student on a shoestring budget, cost-cutting measures become a must. Vegetable proteins such as tofu or legumes make excellent substitutes for meat and are therefore a great alternative to meat products. In fact, they are easy to cook and can be incorporated in many recipes like stir-fries, soups, salads, etc.
To compare, 100 grams of tofu and legumes cost $0.44 and $0.41 respectively, while the same quantity of a joint of beef costs $2.86.
Are you convinced?
Better for the environment
The environmental impact of livestock farming is also a very important element to consider. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), this industry, combining all livestock production sectors, is responsible for 14.5% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of anthropogenic origin, i.e., produced by humans. At equal amounts, beef production generates 13 times more GHG than chicken production and 57 times more than potato production.
What’s more, a study published by Soret et al. in 2014 in the scientific journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that GHG emissions produced by a semi-vegetarian and a vegetarian would be reduced by 22% and 29% respectively compared to those produced by non-vegetarian. So less consumption of meat also helps the planet!
If you weren’t already convinced, I hope you are now!
But how do you go about it?
First of all, there is a growing initiative worldwide to reduce meat consumption, with movements like “Meatless Monday” in Quebec.
Another way to gradually cut down on meat consumption is to only eat meat during one meal a day.
There also exists a fairly recent food trend called flexitarianism. This is a flexible form of vegetarianism in which people do eat some meat during the week, but try to minimize its consumption.
So flexitarians may opt for predominantly vegetarian meals every day, but will eat meat when they go to a restaurant or have dinner at a friend’s house, for example. Such a diet provides a great alternative to the vegetarian diet and can be a way of reducing meat consumption.
Finally, a variety of are only a click away on the Internet. Don’t have Internet? Why not go to your local library and borrow books on the subject or browse around in your favourite bookshop for a vegetarian book that suits your tastes and requirements.
By Anne Bisson-Petit, nutrition intern for Helene Baribeau, dietitian
Philis W, et coll. Health benefits and risk associated with adopting a vegetarian diet. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2014;65(1):9-14.
Soret S, et coll. Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(Supplement 1):490S-495S.
Benzie IF, Choi SW. Antioxidants in food: content, measurement, significance, action, cautions, caveats, and research needs. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2014;71:1-53.
Singh PN, et coll. Does low meat consumption increase life expectancy in humans?. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):526S-532S.
Fleming JA, et coll. Dietary Patterns that Decrease Cardiovascular Disease and Increase Longevity. J Clin Exp Cardiolog. 2013.
Kushi LH, et coll. American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention: Reducing the Risk of Cancer With Healthy Food Choices and Physical Activity. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2006;56(5):254–281.
Myung SK, et coll. Effects of antioxidant supplements on cancer prevention: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Oncol. 2010;21(1):166-179.
http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Solutions/DocumentsReference/Document.aspx?doc=indice_tac_nu (view on Octobre 7 2014)
http://www.soscuisine.com/fr/blogue/article/etes-vous-un-flexitarien (view on Octobre 8 2014)
Hélène Baribeau. Manger mieux pour être au top, Chapitre 9 : Éloignez le cancer de vous
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)