Which is harder: Cutting out meat one day each week or eating an exclusively local diet? I can’t imagine who wouldn’t pick the former. Eating locally to any significant degree can be hard in many, if not most, places. But here’s some cool news: A habitual Meatless Monday can save more greenhouse gas emissions than going extreme locavore, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology.
Green house gas emissions associated with food are dominated by the production phase, which contributes 83 percent of the average U.S. household’s CO2 footprint for food consumption, according to the study. Different food groups exhibit a large range in GHG-intensity; on average, red meat is around 150 percent more GHG-intensive than chicken or fish.
Researchers say cutting out read meat and dairy products (not even chicken, eggs or fish) for less than a day per week is more effective at lower a household’s food-related climate footprint than eating a 100 percent local diet all of the time. Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive—you can do double-good eco-duty by cutting meat and dairy one day (or two, or three..) each week and eating and shopping locally when possible. For some omnivore inspiration, check out our Meatless Monday recipe galleries each week. Here are a few of my (seasonally-appropriate) favorites:
10 Creative Quinoa Recipes: Protein-packed without the meat, fake meat or processed soy, easy-cooking quinoa has eight grams of protein per serving.
10 Veggie Burgers for Grilling: Because it’s grill season, duh (lest I doubted this, my dad has grilled every other day I’ve been home visiting this week; last night, I improvised a seitan-burger with cheese …).
10 Vegetarian Brown Bag Lunches: Even if you’re not up for brown bagging it the rest of the week, try making Meatless Monday a DIY lunch day (it’s so much easier in summer than in winter!).
Tempeh, 10 Ways: Made with soy or grains, tempeh is minimally-processed and naturally full of protein, vitamins & fiber. Plus, it blows soy away.
10 Chilled Vegetarian Recipes: These dishes are cold, picnic-friendly, and you can make most of then without touching the oven or stove.
10 Global Vegetarian Recipes: Because if you can’t make your way around the world this summer, you can at least cook like it.