Ever since Adam and I got together almost two years ago, we've been making a conscious effort to eat less meat. We're not vegetarians because we do eat a little bit of everything sometimes - meat, cheese, and eggs - but we try to eat them sparingly, and have been exploring vegan substitutes. Apparently there's a word for this - we're flexitarians.
To be honest, I love the taste of meat - cheeseburgers, fried chicken, thick cut bacon - and giving them up forever would be a challenge for me. But there are a lot of compelling reasons why our society needs to cut back considerably. Although I have mixed feelings on the ethics of eating animals, when it comes to sustainability, there's no question that we all need to reconsider our consumption habits.
Here are 7 good reasons to eat less meat:
Cowspiracy was one of the first documentaries I watched that really opened my eyes to the destructive nature of the beef industry. It is a major cause of deforestation, rainforest destruction, species loss, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As the population increases, we cannot maintain current levels of meat consumption without serious environmental consequences. I definitely recommend you check out the documentary - they have a lot of interesting facts and figures that will really blow your mind.
- FACTORY FARMING
Even if you are not philosophically opposed to eating animals, it's hard to deny that factory farm conditions are inhumane and downright disgusting. North Carolina is the second largest hog farming state in the US, and each of their 2,100 industrial-sized hog farms requires a man-made lagoon to store all the pig poop. When heavy rains come, these pose a real health risk as flooding could overflow the lagoons and contaminate the environment with pig feces. Sometimes they spray the pig poop water into the air, and currents take it into nearby towns. It's pretty gross, and far from the idyllic pastoral scenes we so often associate with farm life. Bacon, anyone?
Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word that translates to non-violence, or the practice of doing no harm. It's an important tenant in the philosophy of yoga, and a concept we should all spend our lifetimes considering very deeply. If we want to live in a more peaceful world, we need to consider how our choices and actions bring violence into the world. I believe there is a connection between all living beings. If we can turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of animals, it is that much easier to turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of human beings. I became a certified yoga teacher in 2015, and you can read more about how that experience changed my life here and here.
- SAVE MONEY
Meat, eggs, and dairy are some of the most expensive grocery store items because animal agriculture is a resource-intensive business. You'll pay even more if you look for the better-quality pasture-raised products. By cutting these items out of your diet, you'll save money on the weekly grocery bill. Instead, load up on other sources of protein like beans, peanut butter, and quinoa.
- LOSE WEIGHT
There is a lot of research out there showing that plant-based diets can help you lose weight. I can tell you from my own personal experience that it's true. As a former workout-junkie, I've found that I have less time for exercise as I get older and busier. But cutting back on meat is another way to stay slim. If you're like me, and have a hard time eating vegetables, I definitely recommend you check out Splendid Spoon. They offer plant-based smoothies and soups to help you reset your gut biome. You can read more about my experience with Splendid Spoon here. Want to give it a try? Now we're offering $50 off the "1-Month Starter" or "9 to 5 Boxes". Click here for the coupon.
- GET HEALTHIER
It's not just about losing weight. Eating a plant-based diet offers a lot of health benefits besides staying slim. A whole-foods, plant-based diet can also reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
- MAKE A DIFFERENCE
By changing your consumption habits, you will not only make a difference in your life, you will make a difference in the world around you. If enough people change their eating habits, the food industry will have to shift to meet changing demands. Rainforests would no longer be destroyed for cattle ranches. Lagoons of pig feces could be replaced with grains, veggies and other crops. Our families, our communities, AND our planet would be healthier.
I hope this post inspired you to consider reducing your consumption of animal products this year. Remember, it's a process, so don't be too hard on yourself. Check out Live to Sustain on Instagram for more tips on how to make vegan food fun and exciting.