The number of vegetarians and vegans is on the up.
There are an estimated 540,000 vegans and 3,000,000 vegetarians in Britain, numbers that have soared in recent years.
It’s a reassuring reflection that more and more of us are transforming our lifestyles to do our bit for the benefit of the planet and that of the environment.
But for those of us who are not willing to make such a drastic lifestyle change, what can we do to help save the planet and stave off feelings of guilt for not going veggie?
Here’s our list of the best ways to help the planet without going veggie.
1. Cut Down On Consumption
Firstly, whilst we may not be willing to cut out meat completely from our diets, we can still cut down on the amount of meat we consume.
Scientists have recently stressed that a major meat cut-down is needed to avoid dangerous climate change, as meat is responsible for 15% of the harmful gasses released into the atmosphere.
Without having to go vegetarian, you can become a ‘flexitarian’ by flexibly altering your weekly meals to cut out meat.
Reduce portion sizes, derive your protein from non-meats such as nuts, lentils and beans, and make vegetables the centre of your meals rather than meat.
2. Avoid Red Meat
The rearing of livestock for red meat takes a heavy toll on the planet. It uses copious resources, often entails deforestation, and incurs animal cruelty or miss-treatment just to ensure a higher quality cut.
Whats-more, red meat is proven to be damaging to health, and so you would be doing yourself and the environment a favour by avoiding the likes of beef and lamb completely, no matter how tasty they might look, and purchasing other meats for your meals and dietary requirements instead.
3. Buy Fair-trade Products
Fair-trade manufacturers use sustainable methods of production to minimise the environmental footprint.
As a result, these products will be pricier, but it is an easy way to do your bit for the planet and cut down on the products that are mass produced under less sustainable conditions and at the expense of unfairly paid workers.
These products are often clearly marked and available at most common supermarkets so you won’t have to make any sudden changes to your shopping or eating habits, making a great substitute for eliminating meat from your diet.
4. Buy Non-packaged Meats
Rather than buy all of your meat packaged at supermarkets, buy meats at a deli or butchers and reduce the amount of packaging that in the best case scenario clogs your recycling bin and in the worst-case scenario clogs our seas and oceans.
This is by no means a quick and immediate solution to the problem but is another small way you can be mindful of the environment without necessarily having to go veggie.
5. Have meat-free days
Rather than go fully vegetarian, go veggie once or twice a week by taking meat completely out of your diet, think of it as a short term loan to the lifestyle of the veggie.
Many people observe meatless Monday, whilst many others treat themselves on days they go veggie with tasty meat-free meals and takeaways as a reward, albeit this might not be sustainable for those hoping for a summer body this year.
6. Let Your Food Do The Walking
Rather than constantly driving to the shops, order food right to your front door, saving the amount of fossil fuels being burned by reducing trips whilst all the while you’re finishing that last season on Netflix.
If not, take the bus or walk and make sure that you’re not doing double damage by frequently releasing pollutants at the same time as purchasing your meat and other foods.