What Is a Reducetarian?
In May 2017, the Reducetarian Foundation held a summit that looked at the problems associated with conventional meat production and eating meat (in the US we eat a lot of meat). But what is a "reducetarian?" The Foundation has a simple answer: Someone who chooses to reduce the amount of meat in their diet. The summit presented solutions to help people eat less meat - and the options were surprisingly numerous. There were the more obvious choices like eating a vegetarian or vegan diet and the burgeoning field of meat substitutes that are designed to taste like meat. Also discussed were the many ways to take advantage of all the protein found in whole foods like nuts, seeds and veggies.
As it turns out, eating a little less meat and still meeting daily protein needs is an easy solution to what has turned into a big problem for the environment and our health.
Can You Eat Too Much Protein?
Eating protein in excess of your body's needs - especially in the form of meat - can have some serious health implications and is linked to the "diseases of civilization" including stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, among other conditions.
In addition to health problems, there are also ecological and animal welfare implications to eating a lot of meat, as conventional meat producers and processers strive to produce meat in the most efficient manner possible in order to drive down costs. Producers have created factory-like conditions in which massive amounts of meat are produced. In these factory farms, animals are raised in overcrowded and stressful living conditions, which are a far cry from the more sustainable and humane livestock farms where animals are raised on pasture.
Ecological problems associated with factory farming include antibiotic overuse, manure management (or mismanagement) and heavy fertilizer and water use for grains in feed. In addition, animal welfare suffers in factory farming operations, as do labor conditions for what are often vulnerable immigrant populations.
We've talked in the past about how reducing meat consumption is a great way to lower your water footprint, but it's also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and your overall ecological footprint as well. Now you can make a commitment to yourself and the planet to eat less meat for 30 days.
How to Participate in the Reducetarian Pledge
The Reducetarian Foundation created a pledge to help you make small but noticeable changes, and there are numerous options for you to choose from, including our favorite, Meatless Monday. To take the pledge, first answer a quick question about how much meat you eat in a day. After you answer, you'll receive options to reduce your meat consumption, such as:
- Doing "Meatless Mondays"
- Going "Vegetarian Before 6pm"
- Being a "Weekday Vegetarian"
- Being an "Everyday Vegetarian"
You'll find out how much you're reducing your impact in terms of carbon savings and health risk reduction and the amount of animal cruelty you'll help prevent. Check it out, answer the question about your daily meat intake, pick an option and start reducing. You'll see your positive impacts add up every day!