By Kara Reynolds | Guest Writer
The meat industry is massive. Recently, people have started to realize the detriments of the meat industry and have cut back on their consumption. “Meatless Mondays” are a staple for many families in the United States, giving them the chance to try out fun, new dishes once a week. Consider adopting a Meatless Monday into your schedule and backing away from the meat industry — even if it’s just a little bit.
It’s Better for the Environment
Steering away from the meat industry is much better for the environment. Without as much demand for beef, there may be a positive effect on the atmosphere. The methane gas that cows produce can add to the detriment of the atmosphere, sticking around for 12 years or so. Methane gas is one of the easiest greenhouse gases to target because it directly results from consumer action.
By backing off of intense red meat consumption in particular as a global community, the cattle industry may wane enough to cut the world a break in terms of methane additions to the atmosphere. Climate change may stall long enough for the world to continue searching for a permanent solution.
There Are Plenty of Meatless Recipes
Meatless Mondays give you the perfect opportunity to incorporate some meat-free dishes into your life. Dishes without meat are plant-based and can provide you with a variety of nutrients — so there’s more than one way to meet your daily requirements of protein. Chickpeas can give your family protein just like a chicken breast can. Eggs and beans can keep your family full, just like a steak. While it might be too difficult to transition away from meat entirely, you can make small changes for at least one day of the week.
If you don’t aim to go meatless at least once in a while, you miss out on the opportunity to try so many recipes. Recipes from other cultures may be plant-based and have no meat in them, and they’re worth trying. You may just find your new favourite recipe in something that doesn’t involve meat at all.
Animals Carry Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
Animals being raised for meat sometimes have to be fed antibiotics when they are sick to prevent a worse infection or their death. Still, when animals take too many antibiotics, the bacteria in their bodies build up a resistance to it. When you consume animals that have been treated with too many antibiotics, you risk consuming those antibiotic-resistant bacteria and potentially opening yourself up to sickness.
Poultry is often raised holistically, with as few antibiotics as possible. Unfortunately, animals treated with copious antibiotics are still sent to the market, meaning you may not know whether you’re consuming antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As long as you are mindful about your meat consumption, you should be fine. Make sure you eat healthily and take care of yourself outside of your food pyramid.
It Helps Protect Wildlife
Because of the demand for meat, more and more farms and ranches have to be built to accommodate consumers. Many forests need to be knocked down to become pastures to feed the animals. Unfortunately, those demolished forests leave wildlife with fewer homes. Some endangered species may go extinct if more fields are created.
Grazing land may be necessary for farm animals, but the mass production of meat creates pastures to an alarming degree. As meat farms become more and more popular, more habitats are demolished. To save endangered species from going extinct, they must keep their home. Better advocacy can go a long way, but making a change in the meat industry — such as people getting their protein elsewhere and relying on grazing animals less — might save endangered animals whose habitats are in danger.
You Don’t Need All the Protein
Americans typically eat around 16% of their daily calories in protein, when in reality, humans only need about 10%. By equipping your kitchen with food other than meat, you might be able to manage portions more easily. It might be challenging to train your household to eat smaller pieces of meat, particularly if they love it. Still, you can teach them to trick their brains by drinking a glass of water before mealtime or using smaller plates to make your brain think you’re eating more.
By supplementing your diet with other foods, you may not need to eat as much meat. You might enjoy vegetables and other foods that can keep you fuller longer and nourish your body. You need more than protein to survive — you also need fats, carbohydrates, some sugars and others. You have more room on your plate by lowering your protein portions for other, more nutrient-rich foods.
Find Your Protein in Other Places
Because other foods carry protein, you don’t have to rely on meat to get your recommended amount every day. Plenty of vegetables can provide you with the protein you need to stay full throughout the day. Since meat can fill you up, eating less of it means that you can eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as get a recommended supplemental amount of grains in your diet.
Start small if you aren’t sure your household can transition away from meat. Participating in Meatless Mondays can go a long way. Just remember, you don’t have to eliminate meat from your diet, just consume it more mindfully and know where your poultry, beef, pork and fish come from.
About the Author
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom, stepmom, and wife – Kara wants to normalize big blended families. She enjoys Pilates, peanut butter, and pinot grigio – but not at the same time.