Cut Back on Your Meat Intake with ‘Meatless Mondays’

You don't have to be a vegetarian to cut back on your meat intake.

Cutting down on the amount of meat in your diet will benefit your body and the environment


We were at a BBQ recently and a friend commented on the fact that rather than my family having a steak each—we shared one between the three of us. And it was still more meat than we typically eat in one sitting. My friend liked the idea of cutting back on her family’s meat consumption but she was afraid they’d feel deprived.


If you click on over to The Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s recently released report titled A Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health: What You Eat Matters, you might be rethinking how many pork chops you’re eating too.


The report points out several of the problems of mass meat production: “Producing tremendous quantities of meat and dairy requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water. It also generates greenhouse gases and massive amounts of toxic manure and wastewater that pollute groundwater, rivers, streams and, ultimately, the ocean.” (Source: EWG)


Then there are the vast amounts of land that is given up to factory farming and the dead zones it creates—like those in the Gulf of Mexico where there is no, or virtually no, marine life because of the runoff of fertilizer, animal feces and urine. If all this doesn’t worry you maybe the antibiotics will—most antibiotics in the U.S. are used on factory farms where they eventually wind up in the environment.


One argument people have about cutting back on meat is that we’ve always eaten lots of meat and potatoes but according to EWG, “From 1971 to 2010, worldwide production of meat tripled to around 600 billion pounds while global population grew by just 81 percent.” It looks like we’ve cut back on the potatoes…


Vegetable wraps

There are plenty of delicious veggie options for those looking to cut back on their meat. (Image: Flickr / Schreiblockade)


When I was discussing cutting back with my friend I offered her a few of my techniques. We tend to eat a lot of meals where meat is a small component and rarely eat a full stand-alone piece of meat: stir-frys, casseroles, soups, stews and sushi let you control the meat portion and gradually cut back on the amount you consume.


These days one piece of chicken, a single pork chop or a few slices of fish are more than enough for the three of us.


Meatless Mondays and the flexitarian movement

A flexitarian is someone who makes a conscious effort to limit the amount of meat in his or her diet. According to the Vancouver Sun, 30 to 40 per cent of Canada’s population is flexitarian, and the number continues to grow. By joining this movement, you can impact the environment in a positive way with very little change to your regular routine.


EWG offers another option: Meatless Monday. “Just like reducing home energy use or driving less, skipping meat once a week can make an important difference if everyone does it.” They suggest we take a pledge and spend one day a week as a vegetarian. And according to the EWG the payoff seems like it would be worth it:

Here’s how eating less meat measures up against other climate-saving actions:


Over a year:

  • If you eat one less burger a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for 320 miles or line-drying your clothes half the time.
  • If your four-person family skips meat and cheese one day a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for five weeks—or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
  • If your four-person family skips steak once a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for nearly three months.
  • If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would be like not driving 91 billion miles—or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.