Change a meal, save the planet?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Try going vegetarian at least once a week. Eating 20% less meat makes the same impact as switching to a hybrid car.

I think we can all agree that we would like to do our part in helping to save our planet. Sometimes we just don’t know what we, as individuals, can do to make a difference. Oh, we know to recycle whenever possible and to drink our water out of reusable containers, to avoid Styrofoam - and maybe we even have a reusable grocery bag. And all of those things help. But can we do more?

There are those who feel going meatless just one day per week can have a significant impact on our environment . WannaVeg.com has a post on the top ten ways you can make a difference over the course of a year just by going vegetarian one day a week - including saving 84,000 gallons of water, 245 pounds of grain, 15.5 gallons of gasoline, and 87 square feet of topsoil from erosion. Check out their site for further information on those claims.

And if working to save the environment doesn’t convince you, what about your health?

Meatless Monday, a non-profit organization working in association with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a national public health campaign to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer -- four of the leading causes of death in America. A simple way to prevent these diseases is to eat a diet lower in saturated fat. Eliminating meat and high fat dairy for just one day a week will reduce your consumption of saturated fats by 15%. Fifteen. In one day. Fairly significant, don’t you think?

For the tightwads budget-conscious among us, think of the cost savings. Compare the price of a bag of dried beans, for example, with the cost of a pound or so of beef. Have you LOOKED at meat prices lately?

At a loss as to what you could eat on a meatless day? Italian food immediately springs to mind. Baked ziti with a meatless sauce, stuffed shells, vegetable lasagna. And what about a cheese or vegetarian pizza? Lots of beans in Mexican food. Seafood also seems to be on the A-OK list because of its high nutritional content. How about fish one day and totally meatless another? Too much? Okay, sorry. Whatever you choose, my guess is that your family won’t even notice that you’re doing it.

From a health standpoint; from an environmental standpoint; from a budgetary standpoint - it just makes sense.

(By the way, my two very beautiful nieces both adopted a vegetarian lifestyle at the beginning of this year and are blogging about it over at Carnivore No More. Cute name, huh? Keep an eye on them for some delicious vegetarian recipes and tips.)

I realize some of these environmental claims seem a little on the inflated side – I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that an average person like me, who might eliminate one 4-ounce chicken breast and a paltry pork chop on any given day of the week, could single handedly save 7700 square feet of rain forest in the course of a year.

Still...what if we could?

97 comments:

Bonnie said...

GREAT! Love to see suggestions like this. We are far from true vegetarians but eat many, many meatless meals these days. My kids are quasi-vegetarians as they call themselves so it makes it easy.

Camevil said...

I like to think of myself as a conscientious omnivore. Given that most meat is factory farmed, with the animals treated so inhumanely and injected with hormones and antibiotics, at least cutting back on meat consumption is a step in the right direction.

Meatless days are not that hard, either. We incorporated a lot of southern Indian cuisine into our diet. One hardly misses the meat when you have a steaming, aromatic plate of chana masala in front of you.

blunt delivery said...

you know, this is very interesting. i think i heard that statistic about hybrid cars on tv last week.

crazy.

Melissa said...

Great info! We did the whole vegetarian thing for a year, but once I got pregnant we started eating meat again. But we still have multiple meatless days every week.

janis said...

this is interesting...
i'm not a vegetarian. but we try to eat more veggies than meat... healthier option :)

Just say Julie said...

I think at some point I've heard this, but I needed it repeated to actually get it. I think I could handle meatless one day a week. Would give me an excuse to try some new recipes.
Stopping by from SITS.

Laura said...

Wow Awesome stats going there! I'm in we will eat vegetarian 1 day a week, anybody else?

Days of Whine & Noses said...

We always eat pasta one night a week and fish one night a week.

Happy SITS day :)

Ritch in Love said...

My husband and I eat tofu once a week with pasta. And we have fish at least 2 times a week. :)

Eve said...

What a great post! We try to just eat meat three times a week at the most, one day fish and the rest vegetarian! Stopping by from SITS to say HI! :)

Housewife Savant said...

I could do this. Some of my peeps would love this.
Great idea.

Yaya said...

Very interesting!

cat said...

We do this once a week , for health reasons. And try to do fish twice, but that gets a it more difficult. Regards from South Africa.

Beth said...

Happy SITS Day! I don't do this by design, but I probably have 2-3 meatless dinners a week. While homemade mac n' cheese may not be the healthiest meal, nor vegan, it is yummy & meatless. :)

Fruitfulvine2 said...

Our family has been recently changing to being semi-vegetarians meaning we may continue eating fish after we come off the 42day program we are on. It seems to be such a healthier way to live that it only makes sense. I personally don't think too much about saving the planet but I'm all for healthier eating and living. Great post again.

Nicole O'Dell said...

Great ideas!

Happy SITS daY!

Preston said...

We have been doing meatless once a week in my household for quite some time now and I had no idea the impact it had. We just thought it would be good for us to have a veggie day every week. It's easy. Other options are meatless soups with crusty bread and veggie stir-frys. :)

Bethany said...

I do a vegetarian day almost every week, not just for health and environmental reasons, but for financial reasons. Beans and other similar proteins are normally cheaper than meat.

Sarah said...

This really is an easy thing to do. Even my meat loving husband would not even think twice about getting a baked ziti for dinner. He might ask where the sausage was...but if I didn't share the "veggie for a day" concept with him he would be fine!

K said...

My husband and I actually do this - party for our health and partly because I've read it's good for hte planet.

Thanks for sharing.

Lanie said...

Happy SITS day! You have a new follower! I love sneaking in a vegetarian meal when my hubby isn't looking. It's fun!

{Katie Lane} said...

I go without meat at least one day a week. Didn't know I could call myself a vegetarian?! Great suggestion.

Astrid said...

I'm an omnivore...I don't think I could ever go meat-free. We do lots of meat free meals- especially in the summer when the veggie garden is going full boogie.
Happy SITS day!

mommytoalot said...

Great suggestions.

I have a few non meat eaters at my house..so i do have to have no meat meals a few times a week.

Creative Junkie said...

I'm the farthest thing there is from a vegetarian, but we do this! At least once, maybe twice a week, we have a meatless dinner.

If you count cereal.

Bunny said...

I saw someone on tv a couple weeks ago says the same this about eating a meatless meal.

Janna Bee said...

What a great idea! Now if only I can agree to get my husband to do this... he thinks it's not a meal unless there is meat!

Donnetta said...

Carnivore no more - CUTE name! Although I'm more of a Carnivore for Evermore. :) BUT we can certainly try to cut out meat once a week! :)

Anybody have a good veggie lasagna recipe?

Congrats on being a SITS featured blog!

Kimm at Reinvented said...

We eat meatless 1-2 days per week. Great for the environment, healthy for the body and budget!

carma said...

I've been a veg for 25 years now! Not always the healthiest eater, though, I'll admit. I'm going to check out the site you mentioned for vegetarian recipes :-)
carma

Jaime said...

First of all, congrats on being the features SITS blogger! I'm glad you posted about this topic as I've been thinking about going meatless one day a week for the money savings but I never really thought about all of the other ways it helps the environment, pretty neat!

Cammie said...

this post made me HUNGRY!! lol
happy sits day!

Connie Weiss said...

I would love to go meatless one day a week but my husband has a COW (pun intended) when I try to do this.

Porters said...

Very interesting! My husband wouldn't know what to do without meat but I am trying to eat smaller portions of it.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thought-provoking post! We go meatless on Fridays!

DawnS said...

I'm going to try this, without mentioning it to my husband. Maybe he won't notice (much), but I think it's a great idea!

jubilee said...

Huh. Who knew? Thanks for sharing.

WishTrish said...

I love that it is Monday while I am reading about Meatless Monday. I'll try this on my family tonight... not that we are big meat eaters, anyway, but still...

Anne said...

The high price of meat definitely factored into my decision to vegetarian last year. I'll be sure to check out more about Meatless Monday and your nieces' blog. :)

Vickie said...

Happy SITS day!

Wow 15%, that would do wonders for my triglycerides level.

countryfriedmama said...

Great points! We eat meatless often, mainly for health reasons, but the economic benefits are nice, too. I'm looking forward to checking out your nieces' site.

Happy SITS Day!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I really do like your blog. I think I will start following you.

tammy said...

We eat meatless meals at least once a week. I love that it is healthy AND frugal. One of our favorites is just black beans and brown rice. Add some salsa and guacamole and some chopped onions with a sprinkle of cheddar. YUM!

nopatternrequired said...

We eat vegan once a week when we have dinner with my BF who is vegan, but I wonder how much rainforest we could save if we ate vegan twice a week....

Hmmm....

And for those who are scared to try veggie/vegan, try a meatless or vegan chili first, you will be surprised at how delicious it is!

Brandy said...

WOOHOO! Featured blogger!

As for this I try to do meatless meals but hubs is a meat guy; however I think I will start implement Meatless Monday and just not tell him. In spaghetti sauces and chilis he won't even miss the meat.

Laura said...

Very interesting. I had never thought about the impact on the environment.

Kim/ungourmet said...

I definitely notice a difference in my grocery bill when I don't have to buy meat. We were in the habit of doing vegetarian meals several times a week but my husband is just such a carnivore that we slipped back into old habits. I really like the Meatless Monday idea.

Katie said...

I would love to be more vegitarianish, but my husband likes his meat. Although, maybe one day a week, I could swing it...?

Happy SITS day!

Fishbowl said...

THANK YOU for making it easy to be a little more helpful, a little more conscientious...I love your blog!

Ronnica said...

I won't lie...the reason why I started searching for meatless meals is to save money. Beans are so much cheaper than beef or chicken!

Belinda said...

WOW good to know. Thanks for the info.

Karen Brown Letarte said...

Visiting from SITS! I agree, making small changes is the way to go. I lost 70 lbs. that way. I do try to plan one or two vegetarian meals a week (or mostly vegetarian). My Darlin' Companion is a dedicated carnivore, so it can be a challenge to make him a meal without meat that he enjoys. He does enjoy my version of Ful Medames, the egyptian bean dish. You can find it at http://domestickmuse.blogspot.com/2009/01/ful-for-love.html

Cheers!

-Karen

Mimi said...

Hmm, we have been doing this inadvertantly forever. One night a week is spaghetti (no meat).

Maybe I'll check into doing it a little more.

Joy said...

Congrats on your feature!!

Tara said...

This would be tough for me...I'm a meet lover... i know. i know. i know...but the one day a week thing is not a bad idea....

Geeta said...

This is wonderful. It's been amazing to watch awareness increase in regards to diets and lifestyles. I was born and raised a vegetarian (my whole family is) and I remember the day my mother had to make our own sausages and put up with doctor's and friends trying to tell her being vegetarian wasn't healthy at all! well, who's laughing now! =] great tips

Jamie said...

Hmmm, I really like that idea...healthier eating & good for the environment, yay! I may start doing a meatless Monday, hmm, and maybe even post recipes. Thanks for sharing...I'm going to check out that site. Oh, and Happy Sits day to you!

StampinMom :-)

Marrdy said...

I could do this very easily but my poor hubby is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He may have some trouble with it. But it is a great idea!

Tori C. (The Sweet Jelly Bean) said...

Does eating nothing but tortillas with butter count as vegetarian? I did that last night. Oops.

Carrie said...

Love this idea. I don't I could go vegetarian all around, but this I could handle!
Thanks for the links, and Happy SITS Day!

Jaden Paige said...

Great idea... I try to go meatless when I can :) Last night we had a pizza with pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella chunks, tomato, caramelized onions, and shredded cheese... let me just say, YUM!

Going meatless doesn't have to be boring, peeps!

Stopping by from SITS- I like your blog!

Katie said...

Hi! I'm stopping by from SITS! I like this idea, thanks for sharing it. I'm not sure my hubby will go for this but I'll direct him to the resources that you provided!

Christina said...

Happy SITS day! A Meatless day sounds easy, green, and healthy. Great idea.

Ali said...

Hmmmm...I've never known a non-vegetarian balk at a meatless meal. I guess I'm lucky:)

Michelle said...

Happy SITS day! I am already a veg-head, but I am always looking for new recipes. Thanks!

Dianna said...

Interesting post! Happy SITS day!

Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom said...

Wow - I never thought of this conccept before. Interesting...I'll have to read up on this! Congrats on being Featured Blogger today!!

Andrea said...

Stopping by from SITS!

It is an interesting idea. I'm not a vegan and unfortunately like meat too much to give it up but I'm sure going one day a week without wouldn't kill anyone. Unfortunately, I read your post after I just ate a chicken sub... *gulp*

Sorry... I will try next week! How about that? lol

Congrats on being the FB of the day!

hellosweetworld said...

I don't eat as much meat as i used to. Who knew i was helping save the planet while doing so?!

AP said...

hey!!! i have always loved your blog!! so happy to see you as FB at SITS!!

MommyAmy said...

Great idea! I do try to go meatless at least once a week, or at least serve a meal (like a soup) that requires much less meat than an average meal.

LORI said...

I HAD NO IDEA EATING VEGETARIAN COULD MAKE THAT BIG OF AN IMPACT! WE DO IT QUITE A BIT, WE JUST HAPPEN TO LIKE IT, BUT WILL UP THE ANTE A BIT AND DO IT EVEN MORE!

Willo said...

Love this post! Thanks for getting the word out! We are meatless every day!

wendy said...

Neat site! Happy SITS day!

What A Card said...

This is such great advice! To go even further, I'd recommend trying to eat local grass-fed meat when possible. Of course, it costs a lot more...when we started doing that, we necessarily went on a largely vegetarian diet as we couldn't afford to buy as much meat (maybe once or twice a week). It's delicious, though!

Ryan and Katie said...

Happy SITS day!

Laura said...

I have been trying to do more recycling, but I never realized going meatless would help.

Fishbowl said...

Those numbers, how easy it is to help, are amazing! Thank you for putting easy specifics out there to help us do just a little bit to help.

Sheryl said...

Visiting from SITS....

Have a great day.

Future Mama said...

Wow! I never thought of not eating meat could actually help the environment! This was a really interesting post, thanks for sharing!!

Lea Ann said...

Pithy. Never heard that perspective on saving the planet before. Great post!

Leslie said...

I am really enjoying your blog. I must become a follower. Thanks for the insightful information!

- a SITSta

Stephanie @ BizzieMommy said...

Great post. I love the idea of Meatless Mondays! I'm glad i saw your blog on SITS today!

Girly Do's said...

Happy Sits day--- what a good perspective. I will try these tips.

Stacie Haight Connerty said...

Happy SITS Day!! Great article. I love the idea of going vegetarian once a week.

polymerclaysnails said...

Hey there -- over here from SITS ... This is such a good idea ... I think I'll go ahead and give it a try!

Xazmin said...

Congrats on being the featured blogger! Happy SITS day!

Mathea said...

I have been thinking about this for weeks! I think I will try it starting now, and maybe I can use some yummy recipes from the other gals.

The Keyboard Princess said...

Great Ideas! We have been doing Meatless days too, to save money!

angie said...

Look at me, I've been doing something good and I didn't even know it! I usually don't eat meat Monday through Friday. But, really, it's just because I hate handling it when cooking.

Lisa M said...

We are on our way to becoming total vegetarians. My MIL is a vegetarian, but my FIL and husband are not. We have about 3 or 4 meatless meals a week, but my husband can't seem to give up his steak! Happy SITS day!

lmerie said...

Very Interesting! The Today show had mentioned something recently about reducing or leaving the meat out as a savings too!

Happy SITS Day!

grocery mama said...

This is such a fantastic post and I love the idea.
I may blog abot it and use you as a refrence, would that be ok?

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Grocery mama: Of course you can - and thanks!

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

This is such a great post! Lots of great link and information. Thanks! I'm a new vegetarian. My friend Kaci from Ellyphant and I have started a weekly feature called Tofu Tuesday to share vegetarian recipes and tips.

Rachael said...

What a wonderful post! I was a vegetarian for a while, and I started eating meat again, but not as much as I used to. EVERY LITTLE BIT helps!

Playground for Parents said...

And I thought hubby came up w/ Meatless Monday! ;-) We've been doing this for years, but for different reasons. Great info!