How To: A Guide To Eating Less Meat From An Ex-Carnivore
Cutting down on meat or entirely excluding it from your diet is a challenge. If you’re a meat eater you are probably used to having meat everyday, and trying to reduce or eliminate meat entirely from your diet seems like a big ask.
If you're someone who is interested in preventing climate catastrophe, you’ve probably already heard that avoiding meat and dairy is one of the best actions you can take to help cut your carbon emissions, but even with the best intentions it can still be a struggle.
I’m listing here the step-by-step actions which made it much easier for me to cut down, and eventually stop eating meat altogether, in the hope that it will inspire you too! Why not try out some of the suggestions below and let us know how you get on?
1. Try Meat-Free Mondays
Yes, just cutting out one day of meat can make a difference. It gets your tummy used to not being quite so full after a meal, without feeling like you are starving or missing out for too long. Plus, it also gets you started on thinking about other alternatives, even if it's nothing more exciting than a cheese sandwich for now.
2. Try to cut out just one type of meat first
For me, this was duck; the richness of the meat meant I didn’t have it that often and I reserved it more as a treat, but that also meant it was easier to cut out since it wasn’t something I missed having on a daily basis.
3. Eliminate red meat
Cutting out red meat from your diet is a big step but it's one that is worth taking early on. Once you have successfully made this step, it feels like there is no going back but will also feel very positive. There might be cravings; especially when it's BBQ weather or you are super hungry and would love that steak, but once you cut red meat out (you might have to cut your days per week down slowly) it actually feels really healthy and you start to feel less sluggish in your digestion. Eating less red meat will also put you well on your way to making a big difference for the environment, since beef production is the biggest animal-based producer of CO2.
4. Stock up on your meat alternatives
When I gave up red meat I found Quorn mince a real help. One of my favourite meals used to be spaghetti meatballs, but I soon realised that satisfaction from the meal was mainly based on the sauce rather than the meat itself, and I soon started to enjoy Quorn without really noticing the difference.
5. Vegetables are not your enemy!
Many people fall back on meat for a meal as they just don’t get along with most vegetables and if this is you, I totally understand. For every meal that you cut back on meat; why not try experimenting with a small amount of a vegetable that you aren’t keen on. I’m a picky eater and used to HATE boiled carrots but I tested myself by trying them a different way (roasted) and it made all the difference. You’re already being pretty brave by cutting down on something you considered a big part of your life, so a small vegetable here or there should prove no challenge. You’ve got this!
6. Reduce your meat consumption slowly
Whatever you do, try all of this in baby steps. This is a big change to your diet and a decision that will take some time to get used to. There are different recipes to discover, ingredients to try and your body will take some time to get used to a much lower amount or no meat at all. Be kind to yourself and realise that this is going to do amazing things for the environment, for animals, and most importantly for you!
Want to have a bigger impact?
Reducing meat consumption is a big carbon-saving impact change. Log this in future with The Climate App and you will see the exact difference you are making to help save the planet, whilst inspiring friends and family to also do the same.
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If you want more carbon-saving tips, read about the top 4 actions you can take now to reduce CO2.