Are We Eating Too Much Meat?

The staple American foods has become meat. Not only can too much meat be bad for you, but it also has a major negative impact on the environment.

The Big Discrepancy

I always find it funny that when I am watching shows where the host travels to other countries, they are always eating tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and only eating small amounts of meat. Depending on how rural the area is, meat is usually a scarcity, but fruits and vegetables always seem to be plentiful. In America, it seems to be the complete opposite. Somehow meat is inexpensive and often the only food found in our meals, whereas fresh and inexpensive produce is extremely hard to find. It seems like such a normal things to many Americans, but if you think about it, it just doesn’t make much sense. Animals take years to grow to a point where they can killed. On the other hand, vegetables take a few months to grow and continue to reap produce for the remainder of the growing season.

Huge Steak
Photo by TheMuuj.

Meat and Greenhouse Gases

Eating less meat does not seem like it should have a huge impact on the environment, but it does. Between the fertilizers for the animals crops, gases emitted by the livestock and transportation to markets cause tons of greenhouse gases. You would think that the most damaging part is the transportation, but it is in fact not the case. What is a huge surprise is that most of the greenhouse gases caused from producing meats and not transportation. The majority come from methane gases emitted by animals such as cows and fertilizers. Methane gases are actually much more dangerous for the environment than carbon dioxide.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

That is one scary statistic and much of it is caused by the how dangerous methane gases produced by cows is on our environment.

Eat Less Meat

This trend we are on as a country is just not healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I am a meat eater and am by no means telling you to cut it out of your diet. A great suggestion by Dr Rajendra Pachauri is to not eat meat one day a week. Doesn’t seem too hard, but it probably is much harder than most people think. Almost everything we eat has meat it in. Instead of that meat burger you could substitute in a veggie patty. There are also other great substitutes including tofu and bean curd. If you still can’t find ways to cut meat out of your diet, you can always just eat more poultry and fish. They are far better for you health than red meats and less harmful for the environment.

How do you feel about the effects meat production are having on your diet and the environment and do you plan on cutting back any?

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  1. Hi … I’m here from “Water Once a Week”.

    This is a wonderful article! I think that eating meatless meals is one of the easiest ways to reduce our footprint on the earth. With the Internet, getting tasty vegetarian recipes is a breeze. It’s good for our health and good for the earth. And imagine what we could do with the resources we’d save (raising animals takes tremendous amount of land and water) … we be able to raise more plant based foods and feed the world.

    You have a great blog here. I hope you don’t mind if I follow you and add you to my blog roll.

    Take care!

    Small Footprints

  2. These are some scary statistics. Who would have thought that meat production has such a huge impact. I am sure this will change our food resources and the way we prepare meals. But I think it is still too early for that and people are not ready to make a sudden change. There will be some time before a change in diet happen on a big scale.

    • Pays to Live Green
    • January 12th, 2009

    That is very true Small Footprints. There are so many great recipes on the web nowadays that there is no reason that you can’t find a good recipes without meat. I appreciate you reading as well as your great comments.

  3. Not eating meat for a day can be so easy. I became a vegetarian about 3 years ago when I got married to my husband (who hasn’t eaten meat in over 15 years). My midwestern family was shocked…what would we eat at holiday meals? But even then can enjoy a meatless meal. This past Christmas I fed my brother, his wife, two teenage sons, my husband, and myself by serving a wonderful mix of veggie meals. Burritos with beans, rice, and cheese; spinach and artichoke dip; and 3 bean salad. Give it a try, you’ll save money, improve your health, and reduce your carbon footprint.

  1. January 9th, 2009
  2. January 9th, 2009

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