In recent years, we’ve all been hearing about the green revolution and how to become more eco-friendly in our everyday lives. There are many ways to help preserve Mother Earth and your waistline at the same time. One of the most impactful and healthful decisions you can make is to reduce your red meat consumption, and choosing carefully when you do eat beef products.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported in 2006 that today’s livestock industry is responsible for 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change by wreaking havoc on our atmosphere, due in large part to the enormous amount of feed needed to sustain the population. Cows are fed grains, which is not the organic plant matter that their bodies have been accustomed to digesting in the past thousands of years. This means that 30 percent of all farm crops are harvested to feed livestock. A massive amount of resources is used in order to get a steak or hamburger on your table, and cutting back will help preserve our planet and resources.
Apart from these environmental concerns, there are many health benefits to reducing your red meat intake. According to a study done in 2009 by the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who eat more red meat and processed meat have an increased risk of death from all causes, and especially form cancer or heart disease over a 10 year period. Researchers found that 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption.
The prospect of cutting red meat out of your diet can be daunting, but cutting red meat consumption can be easy and fun. Implement “Meatless Mondays” in your house and ask your family what their favorite meatless dishes are. You can also have fun exploring all the meat alternatives available as substitutions for red meat – Portabella mushrooms instead of hamburgers, eggplant instead of ground beef in lasagna.
Lastly, when you do pick red meat, you can help your health and the environment by picking good quality, grass-fed beef. According to the USDA, grass-fed Argentinean beef has half the calories, less fat and cholesterol than American, grain-fed beef. To put this in perspective, a 4 oz. cut of American beef contains 328 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat, while the same cut of Argentine beef has 140 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Grass-fed beef is also free of hormones and raised sustainably, which means you can rest easy knowing your beef is less caloric and also not wasting our earth’s precious resources.
In the world of multi-tasking we live in today, you can accomplish many goals by adopting these changes. Making small alterations in your grocery shopping can improve both your health and the environment around you. Just remember: Reduce Red and Go Green!