Hi all you beautiful GGC followers! The Going Green Couple has one challenge under our belt and its time to tackle the next. This month we are going completely meatless (i.e. vegetarian). That’s right folks, no meat products whatsoever. That means no cheeseburgers (my favorite), no bacon, no fried chicken, no chicken stock, nothing, nada, zero.
Before we get into the why of the challenge let’s just go over a few ground rules. First, we are still eating diary. We’re getting our feet wet with vegetarianism before we go full plant based (look for that challenge in a few months). Second, we will still be consuming eggs for the same reason as number one. To be honest though, we don’t eat that many eggs any way. Third, no fish or shellfish. We know some vegetarians don’t count this as meat but The Going Green Couple does. Not to mention there’s the growing consensus that when you consume fish you are consuming the plastic that has washed into the ocean as well.
Why A Meatless Challenge?
There are three reasons why we chose this challenge. Two of the reasons we will discuss in detail. The other is a little out of the scope of this blog, but is a topic that we care about a great deal.
Reason 1: Animal Agriculture Is Bad For The Environment.
Rather than go into a long winded paragraph about how animal agriculture is one of the largest single contributors of greenhouse gases or how to feed one “omnivorous human” requires over 130,000 square feet of land, we will just list the facts and let you make your own conclusions.
- 18% of green house gas emissions comes from animal agriculture. @goingreencouple
- 56% of all ice free land is used for animal agriculture.
- 37% of all of the pesticides used in the U.S. are used in animal agriculture.
- 95% of U.S. oat production is consumed by farm animals.
- 150 billion (yes billion) gallons of methane are produced daily by all of the world’s cows.
- 25 times – that’s how powerful methane is as a greenhouse gas vs. CO2
- 1/3rd of the world’s fresh water is used for livestock production.
- 270lbs – that’s how much meat the average American eats per year, while Bangladeshis eat 4.
As you can see, our meat consumption has a big impact on the environment and it might seem all gloom and doom. But here’s the good news. This is one area where the everyday consumer can have a huge individual impact. Did you know that producing 2 strips of bacon creates as much CO2 as driving a Prius 1 mile? Or that it takes 660 gallons of water to produce 1 cheeseburger? That’s equivalent to 2 months of showering. Now imagine how big of an impact YOU can have by eating one less cheeseburger a week! AMAZING.
And if we all went vegetarian we could drastically reduce the effects of climate change and provide more food for the world….AT THE SAME TIME!!! 1 acre of land yields 250 pounds of beef. That same acre of land could yield 53,000 lbs of potatoes, 50,000 lbs of tomatoes, and 30,000 lbs of carrots….AND yes that’s all on the same plot. We could basically solve world hunger if everyone was vegetarian.
So don’t think your one act doesn’t matter, because it does.
Reason 2: It’s Worse For Your Health
More and more studies are published showing the link between red meat consumption and the increased risked of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
- 24,000 participants out of 110,000 died in a Harvard study looking at the connection between red meat intake and mortality.
- 51% increase in your risk of type II diabetes if you eat 1.8 oz of processed meat daily (that is 2 strips of bacon, again).
- 14 months – that’s how long it takes to die from mad cow disease. Yes that disease is still around.
- 17% increase in bowel cancer from consistently eating processed meats.
More gloom and more doom right? But again, its not all bad. You can easily change this and have a big impact. Substituting 1 serving of red meat a day for vegetables, legumes, nuts, chicken, or fish (basically anything other than red meat) lowers your mortality rate by up to 19%. And vegetarians are more likely to outlive their meat eating counter-parts. That is partly from a 40% decrease in the risk of cancer among vegetarians. And 4 out of 5 Americans suffering from cardiovascular disease have completely reversed their symptoms by going vegetarian. So please, for your health….PUT DOWN THE HOT DOG.
Reason 3: Animal Rights
Those cute and cuddly farm animals suffer in horrible conditions at factory farms and are brutally killed for our consumption. Their suffering is unconscionable. The Going Green Couple loves animals dearly and the more that we learned and saw regarding how these animals are treated, the more heart-broken it left us. That being said, we are not going to spend a lot of time talking about animal rights because that would be a whole blog in itself. Just know that we love animals and we stand firmly with animal rights activists.
What’s to come?
We’ve got a lot lined up for you this month. As we have mentioned before, we are going to stick to posting at least every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday (that doesn’t mean inspiration can’t strike on a different day). Every Monday, no matter the subject of the post, you will find our meal plan for each night of the week and where you can find the recipe. You can also expect some of our own recipes. Also, look for a tofu, tempeh, seitan side-by-side taste test from Mr. GGC (former meat lover). A “how to go vegetarian” and be healthy post is also in the works. That, and many more posts to help you take on the challenge of going meatless.
This Month’s Featured Charity: The Humane Farming Association
This fantastic organization helps to protect those cute and cuddly farm animals from the abuses of factory farms. In addition to that, they also run the largest farm animal refuge and one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries. They also protect us from the health and environmental impacts of factory farming by advocating for food and environmental safety policies related to farming. See our full feature on our featured charities page. And, if you didn’t check out last month’s featured charity, the orangutan project, you can find their feature there as well.
We’re looking forward to another Going Green Couple challenge!!