Why you should decrease your meat consumption
Updated: Mar 28
Eating less meat will benefit you and the world
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Plant-based, vegetarian, vegan diets have become a trend. Entertainment and sports celebrities are posting about their plant-based diet and supporting companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. If you, like me, didn't pay attention to the Mediterranean, Paleo, Keto or the other dozens of diets that were on the spotlight recently, why should you care now?
I became vegetarian one year ago and this move has transformed my life in different dimensions. I'll share with you my motivations to change my eating habits:
- Animals deserve a better life: as many of you, I chose to ignore what it takes to have a piece of chicken on my plate, and I'd feel good about choosing cage-free-organic options. In the book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari talks about the history of humankind and the relationship between humans and animals throughout the ages. Reading the book opened my eyes to the unfair animal exploitation and the terrible conditions on which animals are confined until they are slaughtered. That is when I started the change and stopped eating red meat.
- Animal agriculture has a negative impact in the environment: According to The Economist, "almost four-fifths of all agricultural land is dedicated to feeding livestock, if you count not just pasture but also cropland used to grow animal feed". Livestock is competing for finite natural resources and generating more carbon emissions than humans, what is not sustainable. In addition to that, "livestock accounts for between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions", according to NYTimes. When I mention these facts, some people say "but meat production will not decrease if I stop eating meat, so it doesn't really matter". I prefer to follow Gandhi's guidance -"be the change you want to see in the world". Since I became vegetarian I have noticed that people close to me have tried more plant based meals, as I keep sharing recipes and the benefits of the diet. Everyone can influence others to cultivate good behaviors.
- I feel healthier and more energetic: Becoming a vegetarian was never a goal. I have an intense fitness routine, so eating good portions of protein has always been on the top of my mind. Thus, I thought I could have a plant-based dinner as soon as I ate either chicken or fish for lunch. Since I substituted chicken for vegetarian protein, I've had much more energy to cope with work in the afternoon. My body has responded so well to the change, that I just didn't feel like eating animals anymore. When traveling internationally, eating local food is a big piece of the culture immersion. Although, I haven't felt that I've missed out by eating vegetarian. In fact, good restaurants around the world have vegetarian options to die for.
If you think that this type of change is too hard and you are not willing to give up on your steak and chicken wings, I encourage you to try plant-based meat alternatives, or order a vegetarian meal at a good restaurant next time you go out, and pay attention to how your body reacts to that. Just by reducing your meat consumption you will help the environment.
In case you are ready for the change, I suggest that to go one step at a time and give yourself time to adapt. My transition to vegetarian lasted around one year and I couldn't have done it overnight. I felt good eating plant-based proteins before completely giving up on chicken and seafood, and when I did I was 100% sure about my choice.
I would love to hear from you, divas, about how you have decreased your meat consumption or the challenges you've faced on your journey. Leave your comment here or on Facebook .