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Take Our Climate Challenge: Cut Back on Meat and Dairy

Take Our Climate Challenge: Cutting Back on Meat and Dairy

Many Cup of Jo readers have been asking for posts about climate change, and we are so happy to keep up the conversation. Today, my dear friend Linsey Laidlaw is sharing one of the biggest ways we, as individuals, can help: cutting back on meat and dairy. Please take our challenge below…


Like so many of you, I’ve been holding my breath for friends and family in California and now Australia, praying their homes and families will be kept safe from the flames, mourning for those who haven’t. These tragic fires are the latest blaring siren that our planet is in crisis. “I want you to act as if your house is on fire,” the young heroine Greta Thurnberg implores, “because it is.”

The scale of the climate crisis is so big it’s practically paralyzing — how can one family’s biggest efforts make even the tiniest dent?! Too often, I’m inclined to fold in defeat. But for better or worse, my kids — ages 6, 8 and 11 — are exquisitely stubborn creatures, and they’ve been steadily (if not always gently) coaching us as we change our habits.

We try to make one or two goals per month — using up what we have and adding more sustainable tools as we go. We’ve taken up composting, switched disposables for reusables, ride bikes or use public transit as often as possible, and watch out if our first grader catches you leaving a light on or the sink running too long.

Of course these things help a little, but I was surprised to learn that by far the biggest, most effective way an individual can combat climate change is something my daughter steered us towards years ago: reducing our meat and dairy intake.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, livestock are responsible for 51% of annual global emissionsmore than all cars, planes, buildings, power plants and industry combined. There is a crystal clear line between the burning rainforests we weep for across social media and the barbecue we later gobble up.

If the image of ancient forests reduced to charred rubble doesn’t kill your appetite, this might: at this moment there are over a billion people in the world who are hungry, and our food choices are largely responsible. The affluent’s demand for animal products devours resources that could readily eradicate world hunger. In his newest book, We are the Weather, activist and author Jonathan Safran Foer elaborates, “Three million children under the age of five die of malnutrition every year. One and a half million children died in the Holocaust. Land that could feed hungry populations is instead reserved for livestock that will feed overfed populations. Factory farming starves the world as it destroys it.”

It’s often said that climate justice is social justice, reminding us that this is an issue of human rights and ethics as well as environment. Oxfam reports that the wealthiest 10% of the world population are responsible for half of all carbon emissions, while the poorest half are responsible for 10%. As we’ve already begun to witness: people in poverty, largely communities of color, are and will continue to be hit hardest by climate change, with the least ability to protect themselves despite contributing very little to the problem. Right now there are 70 million refugees worldwide — the highest level in nearly 70 years. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 200 million climate refugees — that’s 1 in every 45 people.

This is exceptionally jarring math — but can it shock us into a dietary reinvention? A gastronomic intervention? Americans really like meat.

For our family, transitioning from a pack of happily omnivorous eaters with a weakness for pepperoni pizza and Shake Shack didn’t happen overnight — (although it did for my daughter Ivy, who passionately declared herself a vegetarian six years ago and never looked back). The rest of us cut back gradually as we strived to support her, learning substitutions and great new recipes along the way. We’ve kept it pretty loose and low-pressure: my daughter Rosie defiantly claims the title of “meatatarian” (which mostly means she sometimes eats a hot dog at the park but gets to maintain her rebellious identity) while my husband and son have settled at pescatarian, and I occasionally indulge in meat at a restaurant. But eating vegetarian at home truly doesn’t feel like a sacrifice anymore — it’s become just what we do.

My friend Gisela taught me the term “reducetarian”, and I wholeheartedly endorse the method: going cold turkey is incredibly hard for something as social, emotional and habitual as eating. That every human on the planet would convert overnight to absolute veganism is as ideal as it is unlikely, but we don’t have to let perfect be the enemy of good: every single time you choose a plant-based meal, you make a positive impact on the health of our planet. Our family’s next reducetarian challenge is to cut back on dairy — an even bigger challenge for this cheese-loving group.

While forgoing burgers and bacon can be a challenge, for me the biggest pain point is being a pain point. I dread being perceived as a nag or hypocrite or goody-two-shoes — who wants their dinner party to become a sad-trombone lecture? I’ve often coached my kids to be “quiet vegetarians” — let’s do this, but let’s not make a fuss about it.

When really, making a fuss should be our entire focus, because one family reducing their animal consumption won’t make a dent. But a million families working together and joining in the fuss-making? That’s a hefty bite, and more importantly, a loud call to businesses who respond to market demands and policy makers who listen to public outcry.

At the risk of sounding like a Times Square Prophet — our children are in peril. Climate change is a speeding bus headed for each of them, and doubly fast for our grandchildren.

This is an especially smart and empathetic corner of the internet, a community that cares for neighbors and strangers alike. I read your comments and am inspired by your actions — so many of you are leading on this and other urgent issues. I am neither a pioneer nor a perfect ambassador for this plea — but I can promise I’ll continue to think daily on how I can personally answer Foer’s invocation, “…to take less than one’s hands can hold, to eat other than what our stomachs most want, to create limits for ourselves so that we all might be able to share what’s left.”

Who’s with me?


If you’d like to join us, please comment below with how you plan to dial back on meat and dairy this month. Are there any vegetarian or vegan recipes you like? We’d love to hear…

P.S. Vegetarian dinners, and trying out slow parenting.

(Photo by Trinette Reed/Stocksy.)

  1. Colleen Kennedy says...

    thank you for initiating more climate change discussions!

  2. Shelley says...

    There are a lot of things to think about in this article and I do agree about eating less meat. I never think change is as easy as this article makes out and my big concern about this is the massive effect of almond farming on Bees. Love to hear your thoughts on Bees.

    • Sasha L says...

      Many studies have shown that the overall negative consequences of dairy farming still giantly outweigh the negative effects of almond growing. Please remember the dairy industry is enormous and exerts a lot of sway on research, funding etc, and they desperately need you to keep buying dairy.

  3. C says...

    I completely agree that we should make decisions as individuals and consumers that benefit the environment – using reusable cups, biking instead of cabbing, eating less meat are all important individual actions that cultivate mindfulness towards climate change and other environmental crises. However, I think it’s important to recognize that in order to reach our ultimate goal (reversing climate change and reducing environmental damage), we must collectively organize to hold corporations, elected officials, and systems accountable.

    Fossil fuel companies have actively promoted the message that individual actions help the environment (similarly to how the plastics industry promotes recycling as a way to encourage more plastic consumption) because it deflect blame from them, the main perpetrators. 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of global emissions.

    Beyond taking individual actions, we need to collectively mobilize – take part in climate rallies, demand better environmental policies from your local politicians, and organize our neighbors – in order to push climate justice initiatives forward and actually have the impact we want to see.

    Here’s an article with suggestions on what more we can do to collectively action on climate change: https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/5/28/18629833/climate-change-2019-green-new-deal

    • Amy Vos says...

      Wholehearted agreement from me. We have to do BOTH: try our earnest best to change our own habits, particularly with things like diet and transport choices (cutting back on travel, ouch); and at the same time remember that just 20 companies are responsible for 35% of emissions. We need to hassle our politicians, and let them know that this matters to us. We need policy decisions, not just small actions- after all, if so much of the damage is being caused by large companies, that’s not within our power to change- we need political action too.

      https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

      This article was great: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-focusing-on-how-individuals-can-help-is-very-convenient-for-corporations-108546

    • Linsey Laidlaw says...

      This article is fantastic—THANK YOU C! I’d like to skywrite this (with a magical zero-emission plane, obviously ;) — “While we’re busy testing each other’s purity, we let the government and industries off the hook completely…personal actions can be meaningful starting points, they can also be dangerous stopping points.” Still, personal actions can grow to be societal waves that can shift culture and reform policies. We did it with cigarettes and are making great strides with LGBTQ+ rights, right?

  4. Sumi says...

    Yasss! Also wanted to mention one other way to decrease our dependence on Cows is to consider owning all or some vegan shoes. Though initially ’twas difficult to find recyclable vegan shoes that didnt cause Sea Clogging Plastic Angst, there are actually several options like Okabashi flats and sandals which are MADE IN USA, or Native Shoes. Some vegan styles are even compostable, like some of the [cute and FRENCH!] Veja sneakers

  5. Vivian says...

    I an 69 years old & have been a vegetarian 20+ years in Oklahoma where at that time vegetarians were few. I made the change because of my concern for animal treatment. I do not miss meat at all.

  6. KB says...

    I have followed CoJ for a decade and adore everything about it. Unfortunately I think this a misinformed post that follows much of the misinformation Currently surrounding the consumption of animal products. I’d suggest checking out Gabrielle Lyon – a NYC based physician who specializes in this topic and can speak more clearly about the dangers of forgoing animal proteins etc. She’s done a lot of podcasts on this very topic, including some recent ones discussing the film Gamechangers

    • Lisa says...

      Yes. This. Agree with you 100% KB.

    • Sasha L says...

      Despite the mountains of research, from all corners of the world, in study after study after study, that vegetarianism and veganism are not only perfectly safe, but more healthy???? One doctor……….vs the entire cannon saying differently?

      I don’t even do it for health reasons so this argument is irrelevant to me, but what a case of confirmation bias and cherry picking.

      Btw, my husband has a congenital heart defect (he’s facing a valve replacement soon), and his cardiologist, a very esteemed physician who knows a thing or two about the cardiovascular system, when hearing that we are vegetarian at home and my husband only very occasionally eats meat, said “keep it up. Best thing you can do for your heart. The less, right down to zero, the better.” Guy is vegan himself and just about the fittest 70 yo white guy you could imagine.

  7. Rebecca says...

    Thank you for this excellent post on a topic that concerns me deeply. Im starting to compost and challenging myself to bring my lunch to work most days. We cook at home a lot due to my sons allergies, but you inspired me to try a more vegetarian weekday meal list. A great follow up post would be some of the meals you make!

    Sharing because I was not aware — I read that almond milk is not a sustainable alternative to cows milk.

    • Char says...

      Thanks for the comment about almond milk Rebecca, almonds are definitely a thirsty crop! If you’re interested, I’ve found oat milk to be a great alternative, much lower impact environmentally and actually a bit creamier than almond. Of the brands I’ve tried, Oatly is my favorite so far.

    • Farmer’s daughter says...

      While almonds are “thirsty” unlike vast factory farms, which produce crazy amounts of methane gas (farts), almond trees clean air as part of the natural cycle of air>carbon>air. Also, most almond orchards in Northern California Are grown in very clay-ey soil that holds the water (I cannot speak to central California, remember we are a huge state with a wild variety of ecosystems and soul types). Additionally, there are specialists who comb the fields analyzing moisture in the trees, almonds, etc because water is EXPENSIVE here and farmers need to find ways of reducing cost.
      Also, I would really like to remind folks that farmers make their living from the land and are working with what big business and big government have pushed farming towards. I do not know one family of farmers- from our biggest to our smallest- that don’t want to protect their land. It’s their livelihood and in most cases generational heritage. It’s about more then then money and people tend to forget what a difficult and thankless job it.

  8. Bea says...

    We are Italian and live in Italy and eating less meat is really just the norm. Vegetables here are varied and very cheap so it’s just easier to compose meals around pasta/rice and veg. There is always a little protein (pancetta, or parmesan, or eggs) but it seldom becomes center stage of the meal. So when we do prepare meat, maybe once or twice a week, we can choose responsibly raised animals. It also helps that we are not obsessed with anti-carbs/protein centered diets.
    I’ve often marvelled at the sheer quantity of meat that our American acquaintances consider essential for their meals, and how including more vegetables in their meals seems complicated and sometimes also surreptitious. I guess it’s definitely harder to reduce meat if it’s what you grew up building your meals around. Here it’s just not part of the food culture: meat is a Sunday treat, not an everyday staple.

  9. Cassidy says...

    Hi! I’m a rancher and sustainability gal, and I wanted to comment here–in the US, agriculture amounts for 9% of total GHG emissions, and meat is about half of that. Cattle consumer 1.6 billion metric tons of leftover from human fuel, food, and fiber production that would otherwise be trash. If the entire population of the United States went vegan, cats and dogs included, we’d only decrease our emissions by 2.3%, and likely have a micronutrient issue. Well-managed cattle grazing can actually increase the carbon sequestration power of rangeland soils. 85% of the land we use to graze cattle in the US is not suitable for farming, and 90% of the food that cattle eat is *not* human food.

    So, in the US and many other developed countries, changing your diet is not really going to help the environment. What would help? Decreasing food waste (we waste a whopping 40% of our food in the US), and consuming less overall–less plastic, less fuel, less electricity, less textiles, less less less. And, helping other countries become more efficient in their livestock production and agriculture as a whole.

    Without cattle especially, the rangelands of the United States (a significant carbon sink and home to wildlife and undeveloped, natural landscapes galore) would be ecologically devastated. I’m not saying that to be sensational–it’s completely true. So, instead of encouraging everyone to stop eating meat to save the world, encourage people to be mindful of well, everything, and support companies and corporations that do the same. For some people, changing their diet is a good plan, but to help climate change? If you’re from a developed, agriculturally-efficient country, it’s not going to do much.

    I would love to see more publications and blogs feature farmers and ranchers when talking about diet and the environment. It’s hard for us to see these kinds of things and feel powerless to help inform because someone like Jonathan Safran Foer (a noted anti-animal agriculture person) has a much larger platform and audience.

    We care of the environment DAILY and are so conscientious and constantly striving to improve.

    I have citations for all of that if needed!

    I appreci

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for this thoughtful comment, cassidy!

    • Melissa says...

      I’d like to see your citations, please share. The scientific literature I’ve read speaks otherwise.

    • Katie says...

      I’d be interested in these sources since all unbiased research that I have read contradicts this.

    • Margaux Smith says...

      Hi Cassidy, I really appreciate this perspective. I’ve been vegetarian for 20 years, and completely agree that most people don’t fully understand the best ways to help, and that this is not a one-size-fits-all issue. One of my favourite charities is Compassion in World Farming, which advocates not for everyone to stop eating meat, but for a return to the ‘smaller/family farm’ where animals grazed the land and were actually vital to the sustainability of the environment. The problem is from the mega agri-business factory farming practices, and the deforestation around the world to grow crops that then feed animals in Europe and the US that are shut indoors.

      Even as someone who doesn’t eat meat myself, I feel that farmers and ranchers like you who probably understand and respect the land more than city people can ever know, should not be vilified by the move to eat more plant based. Maybe more important is learning and caring about where your meat and dairy actually come from, and pushing for laws and regulations that benefit farms that are taking the welfare of animals and the environment into consideration. That is true sustainability.

      I hope that makes sense – I think your perspective is an important one that is often overlooked in the ‘meat is bad’ conversations <3

      Oh and PS. FOOD WASTE!!! Such a massive issue too :(

    • Ker says...

      I appreciate your comment Cassidy and would be very willing to look into your references with an open mind. However I raise my eyebrows at the concern that “anti-animal agriculture” people have a large platform whereas the meat industry is relatively powerless. The meat (and dairy and egg) industries are very powerful in the US and in fact fund research rife with conflicts of interest — for example: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/01/07/youll-never-guess-who-helped-fund-that-controversial-keep-eating-red-meat-study/). Vegans are a tiny and often vilified minority. There is little money to be made in convincing people to go vegan.

      I also want to respond to your point about cattle feed. While some beef cattle graze entirely on land that is not suitable for agriculture, the vast majority spend at least half their lives in feedlots, eating plant matter, especially corn, most of which is grown on land that could have grown food for people.

      Also, the idea that any part of the the natural world requires herds of domestic cattle grazing in order to sustain just doesn’t make sense to me. Could it be that if cows stopped grazing on the rangeland you describe the land would simply adjust to another natural state? And whatever this post-cow state is, it would surely also sink carbon and sustain biodiversity?

    • May says...

      I live in Montana and the ability to buy grass fed, local beef is easy for me. I buy directly from the rancher who lives nearby. They practice awesome range management and really, this is not unusual. Small farms and family run ranches are not unusual here and I manage in summer and fall to get most of my food locally. I feel like in all these types of conversations what is missing is input from the people,that grow our food. They often are portrayed by media and others as ignorant which could not be further from the truth. There are countless ranchers that strive to be good stewards of the land. This article is irresponsible and many have commented about it. We need to be supporting smaller family farms and ranchers and take food production out of the hands of the corporations. As for citations about us greenhouse emissions, the epa has info and the world resources and IPPC. Google it for yourselves. None of them come remotely close to Worldwatch which by the way is from2009.

    • Michelle says...

      Someone above was skeptical about the ecological necessity of cattle on rangeland. Historically, that ecosystem developed in symbiosis with large grazing ruminants (bison and others). Responsibly-grazed cattle fill this important niche. I would encourage people to look into the work of Alan Savory.

    • Julie says...

      I think Cassidy is on to something. I believe that blaming cows is short sighted, whereas looking at how these cows are treated and how these farms operate are the problem. We can have cattle and eat it, we just can’t do it at the cost of the soil. We really need to focus on regenerative soil practices. Dan Barber has commented on this: http://www.grubstreet.com/2010/12/dan_barber_you_have_blood_on_y.html

      Another interesting farmer talking about this is Will Harris (I’m not fully informed and I know there are farmers who question some of Harris’ practices): https://vimeo.com/170413226

      Do we need to eat from Japan? No. But eating locally and eating sustainably would have a huge impact. If you are a vegetarian and you live in New Hampshire but you eat avocados from California, strawberries from Guatemala, and mushrooms from Pennsylvania, are you having the impact you think you are having? I don’t fully know, but I suspect not.

    • Sasha L says...

      I live in Montana too. Much of cattle grazing land could be turned back into bison range, also more land for elk, deer and antelope. This would drastically improve the rangeland and the quality of streams. It also could be farmed for lentils, peas, legumes and other nitrogen fixing crops that are nutritious, healthy, sustainable arid land crops that are carbon neutral and don’t require a lot of fertilizer or pesticides.
      You can read The Lentil Underground for more info about farmers in North Central Montana who are doing just that.

  10. Sarah says...

    I am cooking a lot less meat these days than I used to. We are a family of 5 and I used to cook meat for almost every dinner and not think twice about cold cuts at lunch etc. Now I cook meat a couple times a week and vegetarian the rest of the week which also means more vegetarian leftovers for lunch. I don’t think we’ll go completely vegetarian and I don’t feel like we need a label. I am just being much more thoughtful about how much meat we’re eating and where we can cut it out. I hate what I call “gratuitous chicken”, like at a restaurant where a perfectly good salad or pasta dish says “add chicken $3”! It’s usually bland anyway. I have found many of my recipes, such as green chicken enchiladas, work just as well without the chicken! Sub beans or veggies and the dish is as good or better.

  11. Vanessa says...

    Still one of my favorite jokes from middle school:

    I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals.
    I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha

  12. Neely says...

    I have a hard time coming up with vegetarian meals for my family so I decided to join Hello Fresh. They offer vegetarian dinner packages that look pretty yummy, so we are subscribing to three veggie meals a week. If you’re looking for blog post ideas, I would love vegetarian lunch ideas for kids! Packing lunches is always a challenge. ;) Thanks for prioritizing climate change on Cup of Jo!! :)

    • Tovah says...

      Hi Neely,
      My kids’ school is vegetarian, and this is what we keep in rotation:
      PB&J or PB&honey or PB&banana sandwich
      Hummus and raw veggies
      a ‘salad’ of olives, chickpeas, cucumbers
      Cheese quesadilla
      Leftover pasta
      Bagel & cream cheese
      Tofu cubes
      Black beans with shredded cheese

      Plus the a couple of the typical kid sides of fruit, crackers, yogurt tubes etc.

      I hope that’s helpful! It was really not such a big change as I feared it would be.

  13. Ren says...

    Wonderful thoughtful article and what a beautiful way to use your platform! The world thanks you. <3 xoxo

  14. In France, you cannot expect to show up to you Aunt Marie’s house for Sunday lunch, proclaim your veganism, and still expect be fed. So, they use the term flexivegan and flexitarian. It’s a nice compromise because you can vote with your dollars without forcing your lifestyle on others. But, just in case, here’s a meal that everyone will like: present nori squares, shredded vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper, cabbage, etc), mashed avocado, and pickled ginger arranged around a bowl of rice. And voila, you have a choose your own adventure sushi roll. Bonus points if you have a lazy susan, because then you can rotate the platter and reaching arms won’t get tangled.

  15. Priya says...

    Such a well articulated article, thank you for this. I currently work on envisioning the future of our food system so that it is sustainable and nourishing for all at IDEO in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. We believe that it is so incredible important to begin taking action for our future today. And one of the first steps we can all take is visualizing a world with a sustainable, equitable, and nourishing food system. Take a look here if you’re interested: http://bit.ly/2CxRW34

  16. Suzanne B says...

    Such interesting comments! As a pescetarian for the past 12+ years, I’ve noticed it’s a topic people get quickly defensive about (despite the fact it’s not a topic I bring up much/often, if ever).

    I don’t think people would be as offended by a call to reduce single-use plastic, reduce household food waste, etc… All this arguing about where it is on the impact list, whether it’s “privileged” to cut down, and whether it creates an us/them dichotomy… I think it misses the point that for MANY (not all) people reading this blog, a reduction in meat & dairy consumption would indeed benefit the planet to SOME degree.

  17. Stephanie says...

    I’m with you! Our family of 4 just got back into a weekday veg routine. It’s worked well in the past. And knowing you can “cheat” on the weekend makes it seem easier, especially for our burger/hot dog loving kids.

  18. Courtney says...

    Bravo for posting this!

    Cutting back on any animal product is a win for:

    -the animals
    -the environment
    -your health

    • L says...

      Coming back to this article to share this link: https://www.thecut.com/2020/01/almond-milk-honeybee-deaths.html?

      It highlights the conversation about unintended consequences of our well-intentioned changes. There was conversation about water usage in almond milk in previous comments, but what about the billions of bees that have died in a matter on months because of almond farming?

  19. Joanna B. says...

    I’m in! I plan to cook more at home and bring my lunch to work.

  20. Allison says...

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been practicing “reducetarianism” for a year now without even realizing how much of an impact it has and I’m so glad to learn it!

  21. Katherine says...

    Hi Jill, I eat all those foods, but I’m still concerned about the environmental impact of the ranching/farming industry. When buying animal products, I try to choose eggs from pasture-raised chickens or friends’ chickens, venison that has been hunted/processed by family-owned businesses or someone I know (especially in my state, where there’s an overpopulation of deer), honey from local beekeepers at the farmers market, beef/dairy from relatively local, family-owned ranches, etc. My family still eats some commercially raised meat, but we try to make better choices when we can. Your family may do this as well! Just something to consider, if you haven’t already.

  22. Keeley says...

    Thank you for wading into this topic.

    It is interesting to consider that the only “isms” are “vegetarianism” and “veganism”.

    Eating meat (“carnism”) is a choice and a belief system as well. It’s our societal default, but it is a choice, and one that has repercussions.

    I appreciate this challenge. Those who want to participate will, and those who don’t, won’t.

    If this post makes you feel guilty or judged for your eating choices – how you feel is also your choice.

    • Elle says...

      One big thing that people can also do is stop having so many pets.
      In Seattle where I live, there are more cats and dogs than kids, and it’s a disaster for the environment. (quick Google search will confirm!).

  23. Pam says...

    I followed along as Jenny (of DALS) reduced her family’s meat consumption, and have slooooowly followed suit with my own family. I was buoyed to learn at a recent party that friends of ours are doing the same. Thanks, CoJ, for spreading the word about these important issues. Now PLEASE give us some good non-meat recipes! I’ll share an easy favorite: pesto pasta with lots of cherry tomatoes (and sometimes burrata…sorry…baby steps!).

    • Amy Vos says...

      Smitten Kitchen has lots of good veggo recipes :) I’ve been 95% vegetarian for the last 10 years or so (I’ll still eat meat on a special occasion or as a guest if unavoidable) and I really find cooking without meat so much easier, usually tastier and a LOT cheaper!

  24. Leah says...

    Does anyone know how the environmental impact of eating fish compares to meat? I’ve tried to do some basic research and had a hard time finding conclusive answers. Switching my family to a few nights of fish as opposed to plants would be relatively easy but I’d like to know if it would be helpful.

    Separately – Jonathan Safran Foer was on Armchair Expert a few months ago in part talking about meat and climate, and I found it extremely enlightening.

    • Taja says...

      It’s actuly quite catastrophic as well… the problem is (if you exclude the empathy for the animals) that mass fishing destroys huge ecosystems by damaging corals and sea flora, as well as fauna: the majority of caught fish is not ‘apropriate’ for the food market, and i believe they are destroyed one way or another.
      I’m just writing this out of my memory, i’ve read some info on the internet and the summary goes a bit like the above. So…eating fish is also damaging. I guess any mass food production is. We really need to step up and make some changes.

    • CS says...

      Excellent question. Truthfully, I love fish but eat very little of it because it is a necessary food source for aquatic life. The animals in and around the water (this includes birds as well) need the fish – the fish are part of an ecosystem that relies on their (dwindling) numbers. So, I actually eat less fish than meat… and am trying to eat less meat, too. Thanks for asking this question!

    • Amy Vos says...

      I pretty much don’t eat fish for this reason. There are lots of good sustainable fishing guides out there, but the key ones I remember always are: tuna and prawns, bad (large predators like tuna are slow growing and take ages to replace, prawns/shrimp are caught by trawling which scrapes the ocean floor and wrecks everything), small oily fish, good (eg anchovies and sardines, low on the food chain), calamari/squid are best (quick life span, harvested without much damage).

  25. Lisa says...

    It upsets me that you are using old and debunked research to claim that cutting meat and dairy is good fo the environment. The authors themselves corrected the co2 figure, but unfortunately all the food companies who can make money out of processed ‘plant-based’ “food” jumped on it and the story is still going. Pasture-raised livestock actually sequesters carbon in the soil and is therefore carbon negative (not even carbon neutral!) Shame the same can’t be said for all the mono-crop grains, pulses, beans and soya that plant based lifestyles are made up of, with all the pesticides and degradation of soil health. No wonder we only have 60 harvests left. Please research further CoJ. https://climateandcapitalism.com/2018/06/26/why-avoiding-meat-and-dairy-wont-save-the-planet/

    • Jessica says...

      I just read this article and will continue to support farms that supply grass fed beef. Since good meat costs more than factory farmed beef, my family ends up eating less of it anyway, leaving room in our diet for more fish and vegetables.

    • Taja says...

      I believe all that monocrops are largely used to feed farm animals, not people. So that’s another reason meat and dairy industry affects climate change.
      Local stuff from someone you know is the best choice for everyone. Less food transport, more transparency, supporting your community and a heathier otlook for you. I guess the only problem here is the price and access – not everyone is as privileged.

    • Melkorka says...

      So well said Lisa!!!

  26. Jackie says...

    Thank you for talking about this issue! I value this perspective. I’ll take the challenge with you. I’m already vegetarian, but could work harder to do less dairy as well. Peace.

  27. Hannah says...

    Thank you for this post. This is an important topic.

  28. Chris says...

    Thanks for posting this.

    Love the vegetarian recipes you post on CoJ.

  29. Caitie says...

    Veganism is not the “common-sense” answer for me.

    Don’t participate in the *industrialized* food industry, if you’re looking to have diet lessen your ecological footprint. Source dairy, meat, vegetables, and fruits from local producers–it’s not actually that hard to do, for most people. For some people it’s not possible, and that’s okay.

    Not eating meat, and cutting out dairy, but then heavily consuming fruits, vegetables, and other supplements that are flown in from other countries? Doesn’t make sense from an ecological point of view.

    And remember, food is a base socioeconomic yardstick. Food security is a huge problem, for many. It’s troubling when food, as a moral standpoint, becomes the vehicle everyone wants to pile into. So many people can’t afford that ride, and they keenly feel the same.

    • Mikela says...

      Totally agree! It’s so important to encourage your local producers and farmers’ markets for the economical and ecological footprint , and to eat what is available seasonally (not imported from halfway around the globe). Also I think it’s great that more and more individuals are growing their own crops, raising chickens for eggs and meat, and finding sustainable ways to provide for their families!

    • Kat says...

      Hi Caitie, You make several really good points! Definitely buying from small local producers who treat their animals humanely (we love Marin Sun Farms in the Bay Area) is very different than the factory farming the articles mentioned. And thank you for reminding us about the socioeconomic food-desert problem. Honestly your comment is a great one; I really don’t mean to imply it’s not.

      But the ecological point of view part isn’t correct. The toll factory farming meat and dairy is crazy big — both in terms of the waste it creates, but also in terms of the food the animals consume (the article does make both these points). The whole it-takes-6lbs-of-corn-to-make-1lb-of-beef fact. Monocropping those 6lbs of corn takes a huge toll on the environment, and of course, more people could be fed if we all ate the corn rather than using it to feed a cow.

    • Traci says...

      This is really thoughtful and makes so much sense to me. Thank you.

    • Caitie says...

      Hi Kat,
      Thanks for the reply.
      Factory farming though, and avoidance of the same, is the point I’m making in my comment. That’s industrialization. Large scale production. For example, the beef I eat comes a local producer, and it’s open-range, grass fed. Local producers don’t have animal volumes like factory producers. Choosing local, for those who can afford the same and are trying to make a change, are worth considering :-)

  30. Allie says...

    Thank you for this positive, encouraging post. My husband and I are going plant based for January and our kiddos are vegetarian as it is. It’s getting me experimenting with new ingredients, having fun in the kitchen again and feeling lighter in my gut. I would love for Cup of Jo to highlight other ways that people can work together toward climate solutions, such as all of that fabulous fashion that you feature. What if we all bought second hand for a year instead of new? What if we challenged ourselves to only by 3 articles of clothing – or none – for a year? This is wear creativity and authenticity can really shine!

    Suggested resources:
    Gamechangers documentary on netflix (do not miss the part with the college athletes and the urologist!!)
    Project Drawdown for climate solution ideas
    Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows for recipes.

    • Taja says...

      Oh yesss, i wanted to reduce buying clothes this past year…but got so frustrated with very limited options here, where i live. Are there any good second hand online shops? Does that exist?

    • Taja says...

      Annnnd i’ve just googled secondhand online shops…i’ve been living under a rock, aparently.

    • Tovah says...

      Taja, yes! Try ThredUp!

    • Amy Vos says...

      I’ve just finished a year of Buy Nothing New- I’m mostly a secondhand shopper anyway but it was really great to have a hard and fast rule so I couldn’t just cave in and buy things on impulse! At the end of that year, I can now buy whatever I want- but new undies are the only thing that really appeal :)

  31. Meg says...

    Thank you so much for today’s post! Loved reading it! Feeling very encouraged by it! I am a 6 year vegetarian and have decided this is the year to go vegan. If you haven’t watched “The Game Changers” on Netflix I highly recommend it. If pro athletes and Olympians can do it, so can everyone else.

  32. Hannah says...

    My dad says that our family eats meat “as a condiment” – meaning as a flavor-boosting addition to, rather than as the main focus of a meal. So for me that means eating mostly plant-based meals and spending my meat money on smaller amounts of the highest-quality meat possible.

  33. I believe in that the climate changes and I think it’s very important to care for our environment. However, eating meat and drinking milk has nothing to do with climate change. Personally, I believe God controls the weather and climate. Humans cannot alter it. Also, the fires in Australia, were mainly caused by arsonists and failure to remove dried up, dead brush for fear of disturbing the environment. They have arrested over 100 arsonists in Australia. President Obama claims that climate change is the biggest threat to our country, yet he purchased a $15 million home on Martha’s vineyard on the ocean. If he were really worried about climate change, I don’t think he would be contributing to it by having such a large carbon footprint. Same thing with movie stars. They talk about it, but they live large with multiple homes, private jets, etc… Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I realize others disagree.

    • Kristina says...

      Hello, the fires in Australia were not predominantly caused by arsonists or failing to do hazard reduction burns as you have claimed, this misinformation has been consistently debunked. The fires were caused by multiple years of drought coupled with extreme weather exacerbated by climate change.

    • Jennifer says...

      As an Australian, I humbly ask you to check your sources. Here’s a start:
      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-08/fires-misinformation-being-spread-through-social-media/11846434

      Australia has always had bushfires. The scale, timing and ferocity of these fires is unprecedented. Years of drought and above average temperatures around the country have created this extended, terrifying fire season. There’s not enough water to fight them.

      We back burn to remove dead bush consistently when it is safe to do so. The number of days when it is safe to do so decreases every year. Source: https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/is-more-prescribed-burning-the-answer-to-bushfire-threat/11844766

      I believe in God, too. But if you believe God gave humans stewardship of the earth you have to believe they have the capacity to change it. And right now, we’re destroying it.

      Our PM keeps saying we’re on track to meet our Paris obligations to reduce emissions. A big part of the reason? Drought has dramatically reduced the carbon emissions of our agriculture industry. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/29/not-something-to-celebrate-drought-and-flood-cause-drop-in-emissions
      So yes, reducing your meat and dairy intake will help. But so will informing yourself.

      To write off these fires as the work of arsonists and the fault of ‘greenies’ is to diminish the immense risk and suffering Australians are experiencing right now.

    • Natalie says...

      I live in Australia and want to state that no arsonists have been arrested and the fires here are the result of many complex factors, including human induced climate change, not what you have stated.

      I’m not going to comment on the rest of your statements/opinions but they are not helpful for those of us trying to create a livable future for our children.

    • Ruth says...

      Hi Joanna and others, I want to be respectful but this comment is just fake news and dangerous. I live in Australia and was caught up in the fires. They are NOT primarily caused by arsonists but by a combination of drought, water mismanagement and a rapidly changing climate which narrows the window for burn off. If you’d like to google a trusted news source, the ABC, our public broadcaster, has reported extensively on this – and on the arsonist myth – and it is frankly infuriating to see it repeated here as an opinion.

      Also, you say that poorer communities will be hardest hit by climate change – that’s broadly true but for us in wealthy Oz it’s been a wake up call – we are a first world country and we’ve deceived ourselves that that will keep us safe. It hasn’t – and our flora and fauna are paying the price.

      I firmly agree that eating less meat affects the cycle of climate change – more than that it is worth considering at a time when we are losing wildlife to global warming, industrial killing and just plain cruelty. Our supermarkets are full of dead animals – much of that goes to waste. Applause for your vegetarian initiatives.

      Apologies for the rant but this is too close to home at the moment to let slide.

    • Amy Vos says...

      Sorry, but this just isn’t true. Some things are opinion based and some are facts, and the fact is that eating animal products does contribute significantly to climate change. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/01/commission-report-great-food-transformation-plant-diet-climate-change/

      Likewise, I live in Australia. My family and friends have spent the last month fighting fires, loved ones have lost homes and farms, the beautiful forest around where I grew up is all gone. My heart is broken at the loss- and I’m lucky to have lost nothing personally. These fires are absolutely a climate issue, as acknowledged by all major scientific and weather bodies. Arson is a minor side issue which has been blown out of proportion by right-wing media and online trolls to divert focus away from the climate catastrophe at hand. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/08/police-contradict-claims-spread-online-exaggerating-arsons-role-in-australian-bushfires

      Please, Cup of Jo team, I know that this is a forum where everyone should be able to respectfully have their say, but spreading misinformation is dangerous and insidious. This catastrophe may have only one good outcome, which is to act as a wake up call. We cannot let fake news mask the truth.

    • Rusty says...

      Another Aussie here fact check8ng you, Amy.
      Incorrect on numerous counts there.
      On ya! to you other Aussies for setting the record straight! ❤
      Scomo should go-go!

  34. Ann Carlisle says...

    Nope. Roughly 35 percent of the entire human population can drink milk and/or eat dairy products. This is due to a mutation subsequent to homo sapiens becoming farmers and herders rather than hunter gatherers. Dairy is essential to some populations who have insufficient meat available and would be necessary to stave off starvation. Children in particular require milk to get off to a healthy start and then require meat to continue to grow. Reliance on a plant based diet usually results in higher fertility rates, disease, and diminishes overall health. Meat provides some minerals and vitamins not available in plants and makes our brains work, helps stabalize populations, decreases fertility, and reduces disease. A well regulated, healthy diet must include dairy products (not just milk) and a non-reliance on plant foods.

    • Meg says...

      Humans are the only species that drinks another’s milk. We do not have the same dietary needs as a baby cow.
      Also, where do you think the cow, buffalo, bison gets their “dietary needs”?
      PLANTS!
      The animals are just the middle man.

    • Ashley says...

      This is literally the opposite of what the research shows. The best diet for longevity and disease prevention is the Mediterranean which is primarily plants and seafood. (Red) meat is associated with increased mortality and an increase in risk of almost every cancer. The only part of this post that was accurate was that “reliance on a plant based diet usually results in higher fertility rates”. Also, carbohydrates are the energy source for the brain, not meat. This is why no one knows what to eat anymore and nutrition myths abound, because people are reckless with their misinformation. Michael Pollen still said it best, “Eat real food, mostly plants, not too much”.
      -Doctor of nutrition who studies cancer prevention and nurse practitioner

  35. Maywyn says...

    A dietician told me to balance protein and carbs. It is not easy. There are only so many days of black beans and lentils I can take. Dairy is easy to go without. I cut down to near no dairy months ago, and notice I feel better for it. Cheese is dairy but not in a bad way, in my eyes. Cheese is like my white chocolate.

  36. Claire Walker says...

    If you craving something hearty and warm, we have gotten a lot of traction out of Smitten Kitchen’s 3-Bean Chili Recipe!! It tastes as hearty and delicious as any meat-based chili (I totally use cooked beans, FYI – the whole things takes less than an hour).
    https://smittenkitchen.com/2014/04/three-bean-chili/

    • Yes. Chili is my favorite way to go meat-free on days when I still need something super hearty. <3

  37. MJ says...

    A plant-heavy recipe site I follow is Sprouted Kitchen. My husband and I do eat meat, but sparingly, and her cooking aligns with that perfectly. Everything Sara Forte makes is SO flavorful and filling and you won’t miss meat at all. In addition to a huge archive of blog recipes, she also has a Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club (I think it has been mentioned on CoJ before) and will give you 3-4 plant-heavy meal recipes each week. It’s so helpful in my meal planning and such a great resource for an omnivore looking to go a little further into vegetarianism.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yay, we are posting one of her vegan recipes later today!

  38. Kathryn says...

    Cutting back on meat is a great way to reduce your carbon impact and do good things for your health. Building on this challenge, one could put the savings of buying less meats towards buying meat that is raised in a more responsible way, this is really where you will create a bigger dent in emissions.

    To explain further, the use of the fact of 51% of emissions are caused by meat consumption is not really a straight forward number, and is highly variable depending on land use. All agricultural production in the US only accounts for about 8% of US emissions, it is the changes in land use, turning lands with forests or natives grases in to agricultural space, thus removing natural carbon sinks, that creates this high number. So it is important to remember that it is not just how much you eat, but also how it was produced that will make the biggest impact.

  39. Jessie says...

    I don’t agree with the author to eat less meat and dairy. You do know that there are numerous people who have to eat meat or else they will have health problems? There are so many stories and I have talked to others first hand. I have tried several times to be a vegatarian and vegan. Both times I had huge health issues. My regular doctor and holistic doctor both said I became anemic. I became exhausted all the time. Other horrible health issues started. Some I am dealing with 5 years later. Once I incorporated meat back in, I am healthy, no longer anemic, and have my energy back. Instead of eating factory farm chicken, milk and red meat, try shopping at your farmers market and buying grass fed and finished meat, and pasture raised eggs and chicken. Yes it is more expensive but if you put less on your plate and more veggies that will help. Also it’s not just meat and dairy that is hurting our environment it is also all the plastic utensils, paper towels, plastic bags everyone uses and tosses along with not buying local and in season. If you purchase strawberries in January from Mexico and you live in New York think about how much it costs to ship it there. Instead, just wait until it’s strawberry season. Buy a bunch and then freeze them

  40. Akhila says...

    This is an interesting (and privileged) perspective. We can all do better in terms of what we eat, and understanding a bit more about where our food comes from and the impact we have. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as everyone converting and becoming a vegetarian. A large proportion of people in India are vegetarian and it is a way of life. Perhaps having to completely quit cold turkey and give up on things which you actually enjoy is not really the way to go? Maybe reduce and moderate is a much better perspective? Buy local and understand where your food is coming from. Reduce food waste. Stop using plastics, etc. Also, have to note that, craving strawberries or peaches in the dead of a Midwest winter is perhaps not the best way to help the environment.
    Someone pointed out the complexities with food security and hunger. When people suffer from malnutrition in several parts of the world, getting a glass of milk is the best thing possible. It is local, easily accessible and nutritionally dense. So if you cannot process milk and have the luxury of choosing other alternatives, great! But this is not a universal solution especially when the world is also facing hunger, malnutrition etc and a growing population (10 billion by 2050). A good resource is WRI (https://wriorg.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/creating-sustainable-food-future_2.pdf). So, if going vegetarian/vegan is something you are struggling with and think a challenge will help you achieve the goal,, good luck on the challenge :) Explore other cuisines for alternative recipes.

    • Sarah says...

      This isn’t privileged. Livestock requires significantly more resources to produce significantly less food. If we all ate less meat we would have more resources to use to feel a greater number of people.

    • Kate says...

      I wouldn’t say suggesting society to eat less meat is a privileged suggestion in any way. Of course not everyone is able to make this choice but many people don’t understand the devastating impact that factory farming has on the planet. The more we can become educated about where our food is coming from, the better! Really the point to stress here is to cut back on our meat consumption in general. When everyone stops buying cheap meat then the industry will respond with alternatives at better prices. There are so many ways that we can all help to reduce our carbon footprint, COJ is just saying that this is one of them (and a very important one at that).
      Thanks COJ, to getting this ball rolling and talking about the most important issue at hand!

  41. Elizabeth says...

    So many thoughtful comments! It’s wonderful to see people being passionate about the climate crisis. I also really appreciate CoJ bringing attention to the issue with another post! I agree with comments that getting involved politically (voting, writing your representatives/governor, being an activist) will have a bigger impact on the crisis (according to history, we need 3.5% of the population to effect change), but choosing to eat more responsibly shouldn’t be discounted, and I think anything that keeps people thinking and talking about the issue is worthwhile.

  42. Cat Pags says...

    We’re in! This year the climate crisis and my high cholesterol has lead me to trying to eat mostly vegan. In the past year we’ve done way more plant based dishes but this year we’ll be cutting back on dairy also. I try to be flexible about it though–we’re eating up all the food in our house even if it’s not vegan so that we’re not wasting anything and if the kids want a burger when we’re at a restaurant it’s fine (sometimes I do, too).

  43. mel says...

    30+year vegetarian here! Goal: Healthy quality over quantity cooking for my family & friends!

  44. Jen says...

    The best thing you can do, my American friends, is VOTE that f*cker OUT.

    • Christy says...

      Jen, I’m toasting to you with my (large) glass of milk!

      All kidding aside, there are numerous reasons why we can’t and shouldn’t all be vegetarian or vegan. Please consider privilege, eating disorders and numerous health issues that some people have when they start cutting out entire food groups. It’s great to spread information on a public forum but suggesting that people cut meat and dairy makes me very concerned. As someone who has treated eating disorders in children for over 10 years, it’s a good reminder to see what impact these types of statements can have…
      So where do most children learn their eating habits? At home mostly, right? So they see mom and dad eating bean sprouts every night and what do they think? I should too. I’m bad if I eat bacon. I’ll be overweight like grandpa if I have a hamburger. We need to stop villanizing food and look at how we can make large scale change happen in ways that are sustainable for many many years, decades and beyond- not the latest trend of becoming a vegan or vegetarian.

      I’m not downplaying the need to take action in our world but showing the other “side” of urging people to completely rearrange their diet. Does it last? Not for many. Is it sustainable long term? Not often. Is the diet and fitness industry a billion dollar business? Yes. Do you see where I’m going with this?

      The best thing we can do is be thoughtful about our actions and consumer behaviors- again that is a privileged mindset and some can make that work more than others. We have so many rules these days but even if someone can do ONE of these things, it would make an impact. Don’t buy only fast fashion, don’t use only plastic ware, paper plates and straws, do recycle if/when you can, do compost if you can, do talk to your neighbors, do self-care on a regular basis, do take time off from work, do lower the amount of stress in your daily life etc.

  45. Jenn says...

    Hi from flyover country! I love Cup of Jo and love that so many people are committed to making a difference for the environment. I’ve lived all over the US and now call South Dakota home. I know and love a lot of farmers here and somehow always feel a little defensive when I read that modern agriculture is the problem. In my view, farmers are some of the original small business people, and they are certainly driven by what the customer wants as they aim to make their living. So our choices matter and they are paying attention! They also care about the land and water (or any livestock they raise) – damaging these resources long term jeopardizes their future or future generations, too. I’m not pretending like our state doesn’t contribute to problems because certainly we do. There’s so much policy that needs to evolve to set the stage for positive changes, and then there’s the consumer driven piece, too.

    I also bristle when I read facts that aren’t cited – like the 51% mentioned in this article. The EPA estimates that ag emissions were 9% of US emissions in 2017 (here: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions). When we are making the case for whatever we’re passionate about I believe we should be fact-based and transparent to make the case.

    In my own personal life, I’m working on being mindful of what I consume and make choices that work for me and can collectively make an impact. I hope we can also work toward policies that mean more people can access more healthy food, both locally and in where ever it is the buy food. It’s a privilege and I hope we can work on making that accessible to people who may not have the same resources that I do.

    Food and food security is such a hot topic and so emotional for all of us. I loved this report from our state’s nonprofit news organization that I think shares sides from both sides of the CAFO story. (Read here: https://www.sdnewswatch.org/stories/special-report-expansion-of-large-cafo-livestock-farms-causing-division-across-south-dakota/ — and there’s a link to more coverage from their in depth reporting.) Mostly I want to live in a world where we don’t vilify the choices others make while we strive for continuous improvement for ourselves and the environment.

    Sorry this is long, I guess I had a lot to say.

    • Jenny T. says...

      Love this, from another Jen native to South Dakota and currently living in Kansas. <3

    • Sam says...

      Yes- totally agree with you!

    • April Burns says...

      Beautifully stated

    • TC says...

      If you look at the estimates of global emissions, you’ll see a much higher percentage attributed to agriculture, even as estimated by the EPA:
      https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data

      It’s important to understand that clearing of large swaths of land for agricultural use, as we see in the Amazon, is multi-impact, which falls into the 65% of carbon dioxide emissions. Plus you have 32% for methane and nitrous oxide emissions also related to agriculture.

      Climate change is a crisis and policies are important, but if we keep waiting for governments to make things right then we’re totally screwed. Individual actions matter and I think that is the point of this post.

  46. Caitlin says...

    Thanks for using your platform for such wonderful and important conversations. I planned on doing this anyway, and love feeling on the same wavelength as CoJ!

  47. Alessandra says...

    This is wonderful! Thank you for the information. We are “weekday vegetarians” lately and it’s going well. I’m trying out new recipes (Indian food for the “w”). When we eat meat at home on the weekends we purchase it from a local farm with animal welfare certs. I agree, the hardest part is dealing with how to tell people my habits have changed. Also–cheese.

  48. Alice Hargrave says...

    Thank you for attempting this.

    I’m reading ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ at the moment, highly suggest it to anyone and everyone, tough as it is to comprehend we must.

  49. SuzieQ says...

    Love this topic and post – so important! Please correct a mistake in this post, though. It is inaccurate to say that the “by far” the best thing you can do is reduce meat and dairy: https://www.google.com/amp/s/nationalpost.com/news/canada/want-to-stop-climate-change-have-one-less-child-ubc-study-says/amp

    As a full-time environmental and climate advocate, I love to see people embrace plant-base diets, reducing airplane travel, and composting. But,
    I also want to make sure we are not greenwashing away the effects of our other, more important choices by focusing on the smaller, easier things.

    Thanks so much for using your platform for good, Jo! ? Love you and love being part of this community!

  50. E says...

    Disappointed to read misleading stats, and the tone of “who’s with me” feeds the false right/wrong dualism so prevalent in discourse in modern culture. So the bad people eat meat? There’s not one best diet for every human. Eliminating food groups will trigger eating disorders in a portion of the population (serious brain disorder set in motion from lack of full nutrition).

    • MariaE. says...

      Thanks so much for your comment!! I totally agree with you!

    • Mary says...

      Totally agree.

    • G.M. says...

      Thank you so much for this comment. Couldn’t agree more! My daughter started eliminating foods to be ‘healthier’ and developed an eating disorder in 8th grade. Be careful what information you ‘feed’ your children. The constant diet/demonizing foods culture we live in is hurting our children. Life threatening eating disorders are on the rise!!!

    • April Burns says...

      Thank you for this – while I love the underlying message (and was actually vegetarian for 7 years), I was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and have been able to manage the symptoms greatly by changing my diet to include more meat and fish.

    • KC says...

      I read the “who’s with me?” tone as somewhat parallel to previous “I’m trying this thing out for a month, anyone else going to go for it?” articles.

      And also I eat some meat, and will continue to eat some meat due to having digestive issues with most plant-based proteins; I did not feel attacked or “wrong” for that. Yes, it’s good to avoid vilifying anything that’s not actually morally problematic, but I did not feel that this article hit that.

      (also: I do not think most eating disorders are *caused* by poor nutrition?)

  51. Kara says...

    I went vegetarian in 1985, easy for me as a young teenager because I never liked meat to begin with. I think that for people who really love eating meat and aren’t hearing the alarm bells on climate change (ie, the skeptics and deniers), that least the emerging health science is pretty clear that eating a more plant-based diet is better for your body. So when you talk to your meat-loving uncle and he insists that your politics are crazy (we all have one of those uncles, yes?), then he may at least be more interested in eating less meat to be self-centered.

  52. Nori says...

    So happy our communities are finally beginning to realize the benefits of reducing meat consumption! I’ve been vegetarian for 14 years and lived in Japan, Thailand, Switzerland, Jordan, France, and all over the U.S., and trust me, it’s totally possible. In terms of recipes, we all know Indian recipes are packed full of flavor and substance, so that’s a great place to start. I also recommend venturing into middle eastern cuisine — there are delicious concoctions for baba ghanoush, hummus, tabouleh and simple and filling salads with chickpeas, mint, tomatoes and citrus! My favorite recipe book at the moment is Zeitoun, a Palestinian cookbook that includes a vegan ice cream recipe that only uses tahini and a banana! good luck everyone xx

  53. Lillian Chang says...

    I’m in! I’ve been trying to eat more plant-based for years – it’s not only better for the planet, but it’s better for our health too (there’s a popular documentary out right now called Game Changers on Netflix all about why plant-based eating is better for us!) It’s truly a win-win; I find that most things that are best for our bodies are also best for the planet (less pollution, less plastic, etc.)

    Another thing I focus on these days is cooking at home as often as possible. Simply by cooking at home, we could make a big impact for the environment (most restaurants are inherently very wasteful) as well as our health!

  54. Nikki says...

    Rabbit and Wolves on facebook and instagram is an excellent source for great recipes. Forks over knives offers great fresh plant based ideas as well!

  55. Alexandra says...

    Thank you for attacking this very complicated issue. As always, it’s most interesting to read the comments. I don’t really think there is a consensus as to how much of the carbon emissions is caused by meat and dairy farming and production. In any case, it is good for so many reasons to reduce or eliminate the consumption of meat and dairy. I have started using almond milk instead of milk for myself (have not yet persuaded the family though), and I will try oat milk as well. We are eating less meat, meaning we have about 1/4 meat on the plate if we eat meat, not mostly meat. And I am trying more adventurous recipes. We have two kids, and the male teenager eats like a wolf, so it’s been a challenge to keep him satisfied (no fast food in this house). I can also see though that the choice of meat/dairy or not, and avoiding fast food is more or less a luxury problem. There are so many people in this country who lack food of any kind. Not sure how to remedy this ….
    We will keep working on reducing meat/dairy, and also to have a less wasteful lifestyle – we don’t use paper towels or paper napkins (and never have, I grew up in Europe, so it’s deeply ingrained in me to use cloth, and not paper). At work, I bring lunch, plus utensils, and I have a dishtowel on a hook under my desk to wash my cup and plate and not have to use paper towels. It’s little things that everyone can do without too much effort, you just make to have it a habit to haul your water bottle, don’t run your engine in the parking lot, turn the lights off, compost, etc.
    I believe however that what you do on a personal level is only a little bit of what needs to be done to stir our spaceship earth back on the right track and away from global warming. I think it’s important to move to electric cars, solar energy, all the things that are not so easy to accomplish on a big scale.

    • Jenny T. says...

      Sounds like you’re doing great things! Just a quick note that it takes a ton of water to produce almond milk, but other dairy alternatives don’t have such a big environmental footprint. https://sustainability.ucsf.edu/1.713

    • Very much so! Just one correction point if I may :) electric cars are really not much better than gas-powered… Instead of drilling for oil, we’ll just switch to excavating precious metals needed to produce the batteries. Better from the point of co2 emissions, but equally destructive for the environment. What really needs to happen is huge amounts of degrowth…

  56. Katie says...

    Thank you for this! I think constant reminders about how important the little changes are and how they add up are so important for keeping all of us on track.

    I would like to be vegetarian but I actually don’t want to go cold turkey (hah) because, as you said, it’s too jarring. I’m currently trying to avoid all beef/pork and just do poultry/fish. My hope is that if I can adjust to this, I can then take the next step in a few months. Trying to get there gradually!

    Please keep continuing to post about climate change related topics. I know too many people who agree that it’s a terrible threat but don’t seem motivated to actually change anything about their lives. Everyone seems to think it’s someone else’s problem to solve or just needs to be solved by massive large scale changes when we actually need everyone to drastically change their lifestyle.

  57. seattleheather says...

    I’m with you! I tried to go whole food plant based, a few years ago, cold turkey. I wasn’t entirely successful. Since then, I’ve found a more thoughtful and reasonable approach suits me, my family and friends a bit better. Six Seasons: a New Way with Vegetables is by far my favorite cookbook for this. Joshua McFadden doesn’t eliminate meat or dairy but instead uses them very occasionally and in the best way possible. These recipes are so easy and beautifully tasty – I feel like, considering all the vegan cookbooks i own and have cooked out of, this non-vegan cookbook is the easiest way to convince someone to eat less meat and dairy. The other one I LOVE which seems to be a similar theme is Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well. Both cookbooks nail that issue – eating well without feeling like you’re missing anything and taking in a lot of seasonal vegetables. :)

  58. km says...

    I am ALL for reducing our meat consumption for ethical reasons, but that Worldwatch Institute analysis is from 2009 and used data that was proven to be flawed and subsequently corrected. The major source of greenhouse gases remains to be from electricity, transportation and manufacturing. I don’t necessarily agree with the second authors stance on needing meat for nutritional reasons, but he raises other interesting points.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8583308.stm
    https://www.sciencealert.com/sorry-but-giving-up-on-meat-is-not-going-to-save-the-planet

    • Linsey Laidlaw says...

      There are indeed varying figures out there, and looking at who is contributing to the reports is telling, but there are many leading scientists who stand by the cited numbers—Foer actually has a whole chapter in the appendix titled: 14.5 percent / 51 percent — the bigger number accounts not just for animal emissions but deforestation (specifically the burning of forests) and the loss of those missing forests photosynthesis. You can read more on that here: https://bittman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/fao-yields-to-meat-industry-pressure-on-climate-change/?searchResultPosition=2

  59. jules says...

    Maybe a little off topic- but one year I tried giving up meats and tried to replace with alternatives (I can’t process beans, so that’s not helpful) and I lost so much hair and weight. I was literally shedding it all. Anyone else ever deal with this??? I read about how to replace the protein loss, but nothing seemed to help.

    • Katie says...

      Sounds like iron deficiency to me

    • Kara says...

      Hi Julie, that happened to me the 2 times in my life that I went vegan – clumps of hair falling out. If you want to try to reduce your meat consumption, maybe be sure you are getting enough non-bean protein (quinoa, etc.) and also be sure to get enough fats from oils, avocados, and so on. Meat alternatives are usually highly salted and processed, so they aren’t always that great for you. Also? maybe look into biotin or it’s main components (various B vitamins). I’m not a Doctor, but I do feel major dismay when clumps of my hair falls out. I also switched to a high-quality shampoo and conditioner to help my locks stay strong and healthy (Innersense in the U.S.).

    • KB says...

      Check out Jolene Brighten. Lily Nichols. And Gabrielle Lyon. All have super active social media accounts and may find some Of their info helpful

    • Jules says...

      I thought it might be iron related too, but my family actually has too high iron, so we watch how much we take in. Thanks for the suggestions!!

  60. G.M. says...

    Caitlyn… THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! When my daughter was 14 she decided to eat ‘healthier’. Four months later, she was in the hospital, dangerously close to death. Why? After years of health classes, food demonizing and girls body shaming each other, she developed anorexia which she will battle for the rest of her life. Adults! Stop demonizing foods and proselytizing about this diet or that or this food restriction or that. Adults can do what they want but watch what you say to your children. I told mine to stop eating so much ice cream. So she did. US News and World Report magazine featured an article in late 2018 which suggested a rapid rise in eating disorders may be associated with mandated Health classes in school. Health class is where it all started for my daughter. Eating disorders have the highest death rate of ANY MENTAL ILLNESS! https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2018-09-18/are-school-health-lessons-harming-kids

  61. Brittney says...

    There is so much wrong with this article and this point of view. The key is figuring out where your meat and dairy come from. There are PLENTY of farmers working to cut emissions, and yes, it might take a little more research on our parts to figure out what is what but cutting out meat and dairy will never be the answer. These substitute foods are SCARY. We are choosing to put CHEMICALS in our body (all these meatless burger options!) instead of relying on what is natural. I’m honestly frightened to see what sort of diseases will be popping up 30 years from now if we keep backing away from natrual meat and dairy and continue down this path of processed junk.

    • Rebekah says...

      yes, yes yes! I 100 percent agree. Part of the solution is learning more about our farmers and how we can support sustainable farming practices. That may mean less meat, but the solution is not cutting meat and dairy. There are far more problems coming from all of the corn and soy grown using so many chemicals.

    • Alice Hargrave says...

      Everything is ‘chemicals’, even us.

      Vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean processed any more than meat means or dairy means not processed – and some meats that people would assume are unprocessed are very much so, and there is nothing ‘natural’ about it.

      Nor is ‘processed’ necessarily a bad thing – pasteurization protects the population against levels of disease unknown to the modern world, vaccinating chickens against salmonella means that eggs can be consumed safely etc. etc.

      I think your worries are misplaced and confused. A largely vegetarian diet has been widely demonstrated to prolong life and its quality.

    • S says...

      YES thank you. Sustainable farming and animal husbandry is actually regenerative to the environment and creates a healthy biological cycle between the land and the animals grazing on it. Keep eating meat (humans need B12) but be choosy about where and how it’s raised. Say yes to grass-fed and pastured meat, keep your small, local farmers in business, and say no to factory farmed meat.

    • Amy Vos says...

      You don’t need substitute foods though! People underestimate the power of the legume :)
      Meat free needn’t be fake meat- there is plenty of variety and nutrition to be had in the form of veggies, carbohydrates, beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seeds and nuts, etc. I don’t eat meat but I also don’t eat packaged crap- I don’t like the plastic it creates and I don’t like the chemical-ly taste. To each their own but don’t feel that meat or commercial meat substitutes are the only options!

    • Yes, meat substitute things are definitely suspicious and soy monoculture isn’t the answer… That said, we in the West are eating wayyyy more meat than a hundred or fifty years ago and the meat industry is huge and growing. Would we still be eating as much if we had to kill and prepare all those animals ourselves and not buy them in sanitised bits, prepackaged at the deli? I come from a rural part of Poland and in my grandma’s village there were stories of farmers getting drunk before they killed a cow or a pig, otherwise they couldn’t handle it… I’m not a 100% vegetarian myself (I saw the cute term “reducetarian” in the comments above) but I do think we all should keep our meat consumption to a minimum, taking in account our specific needs for sure. So many things are at stake – greenhouse gases, biodiversity, animal welfare, food waste…

  62. Meghan says...

    I think this is so important and something I’m really curious about. I would really value seeing a couple of weekly menus, to help us with small kids who are completely devoted to quesadillas and spaghetti Bolognese really envision how to make the change.

  63. Anna says...

    I was shocked to find out that asparagus, of all things, has a massive carbon footprint!

    • jules says...

      unless you grown it yourself or find someone nearby that grows it! it comes back year after year so its incredibly frugal if you have the space.

    • katie says...

      I actually will not buy asparagus at a grocery store. My dad grows it so I’ll make sure to bring a ton home after a weekend trip, or I’ll buy at the local farmers market while in season. There is no substitute for fresh asparagus. I feel the same way about tomatoes and corn. Honestly, there are quite a few fruits and vegetables I’ll only buy while in season and locally.

      I said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s not solely consuming meat and dairy that has us in this crisis. It’s large factory farming, no matter the product. I wish there would be more articles about eating and buying local from responsible farmers and eating food that’s in season.

  64. I decided this year to stop using and reusing plastic forks/knives/spoons at work, and to only use 1 set of metal fork/knife/spoon and just wash them daily!

  65. liz says...

    my favorite thing about trying to reduce/eliminate meat and dairy from my diet is how much more diversely I eat now than I used it. It took some effort in the beginning, but now I eat so many more different types of dishes/veggies. I initially thought my diet would be more “limited” by trying to cut those things out, but really, it’s more varied. Just took some breaking out of old habits and a little bit more planning on the front end of this journey.

  66. liz says...

    There is another incredibly important thing that each of us can do here in the U.S. and that is VOTE!!! Make sure you are registered, and get your friends, family, and neighbors to the polls! At every level, in every election, the climate should be a priority! How is your community addressing transit, land use, and urban planning? What is your local school district doing for their transportation and food needs? What are the priorities of your state agencies with regard to power generation, roads, and water? Are your judges hostile to or ill-informed about the environmental cases on their dockets? To whom are your senators and representatives in D.C. beholden – lobbyists or constituents? This election year is the most crucial of our lives – we truly must vote like the planet depends on it!!!!!

    • Jane says...

      Preach!!

    • Julie says...

      Word!

    • Carol says...

      YES! We can all do our part…but this is big…like the Depression and we need our government to lead the way.

  67. rose says...

    As a vegan of 30 years I love this – thank you all for caring about our paradise planet!

  68. Frida says...

    It’s not true that 51% of global ghg emissions are due to livestock. Could you please issue a very visible correction? The figure is actually around 15% or close to it (a figure the EPA, UN Food and Agriculture Org, etc., agree is correct). Given the emergency that is climate change and its complexity, we have to be very careful about not spreading misinformation.

    Source: https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/articles/2016/04/livestock-and-climate-change-facts-and-fiction

    • Brittney Berget says...

      THANK YOU! This is the most skewed article I’ve read!

    • Cathy says...

      Hi Frida! I just wanted to say that there is some nuance behind those figures. I think the UC Davis study only accounts for the methane production, while other figures also incorporate the elimination of CO2 absorption that happens when forests are cleared for grazing. I’m just mentioning because I recently read an article in the New Yorker parsing out the differences in numbers. I feel badly that I can’t find the article now, but I believe the alternative figures, which come from Princeton University and are closer to what is stated in Cup of Jo here. If I can locate it I will post it here. Obviously it’s a difficult thing to measure exactly, and there are going to be differences in opinion. I know it’s hard to read tone over the internet, so I just want to say this isn’t meant to start an argument or anything, just to provide some clarity to why there are such drastic differences in the numbers! Anyway, food for thought! <3

  69. Jess says...

    So grateful for this. It’s exactly what’s needed. It is amazingly (and increasingly) easy to not consume animals! While making adjustments in what we have grown accustomed to takes thoughtfulness and some effort on the front end, we can do hard things!

  70. Nathalie says...

    This is a topic I think a lot about and my thoughts are constantly evolving. I used to be a preachy vegetarian/vegan but at the moment I feel there is no “one size fits all” solution. My sister lived in the far north where moose and hare are a dietary staple – fruit and veg are crazy expensive as they need to be flown in. People in coastal regions where fish is consumed often have higher life expectancy. I think if we look at how previous generations ate – sustainably, moderately and locally – it would be healthy for us and for the environment.

    • Julie says...

      Yes to this! It’s not one size fits all, you’re so right. Local and in season is for sure a good start…and everything in moderation, right?

    • Rebekah says...

      love this way of thinking!

  71. Elizabeth says...

    I have been vegetarian (no milk/meat/fish, just eggs occasionally) for a few years and I can’t tell you how much better I feel. I no longer have stomach issues that I used to be on medication for. My skin is better. I lost weight. I feel better about not eating animals that are being killed. My spouse is a physician who shares my passion for keeping our hearts healthy. Thank you for highlighting this. Even if people don’t want to go down this route themselves I hope they will support their friends, the way they would if they were taking up exercise or another positive life change that they personally feel is right for them.

  72. jeannie says...

    Wow! this is so good to know. It is really motivating! My husband and I are going beef free right now.

  73. julie says...

    Yessss, thank you for this! I’ve been a vegetarian for over 30 years, my (extraordinarily healthy) 4-year-old has been a vegetarian since birth, and my husband got on board last year. Moosewood is a great resource: https://moosewoodcooks.com/all-recipes/.

  74. Rusty says...

    WOW! Awesome that you listened to our reader feedback about topics we’d like! Thank you so, so much! ❤

    IF we had to kill our own animals to obtain “meat”, very, very few of us would.
    IF we had to grow our own vegetables, most of us would (even in community gardens) and we do.
    Simple. IF you think about it.

    Have you ever heard a cow who just gave birth to her baby two days ago, cry and howl?!? It happens! For @5-7 days, sometimes longer. Ever think about the stress that’s in that “byproduct”?
    Cows are mammals. The milk is there for the calf.
    The male calves are sold to abbatoirs within a week or so and killed. Babies! They are cut into pieces, put in plastic and called “veal.”
    Baby male calf = veal.
    The females are turned into the next group of grieving mothers as their babies are taken from them @ 2 days old.

    In some countries, people eat dogs and/or cats. Does that bother you? Its often sold to Westerners as “chicken.” Hhhmmmmm.
    In other countries, people eat horses.
    Pets are meat, are animals that have feelings like fear, pain, self awareness. Sheep have been proven to have human facial recognition! And we thought sheep were stupid … who’s stupid now?

    Bacon, salami, sausage, etc. are all highly processed meats and are usually carcinogenic, especially the cured meats (including smoked Salmon, by the way).

    Enough….I could write for days.

    RECIPE:
    If you love a good ol’ Lasagne??
    I’ve literally completely fooled people (60 at a weekend retreat) who swore they’d never eat a vegetarian or vegan dish with my Veggie Lasagne.
    Instead of the meat, smash (not entirely mash) about 1/2 of 2 cans of whole chick peas and use that in the same way as you would the meat.
    Same other ingredients, same layers, only healthier and A GAME CHANGER!

    RECIPE:
    Most muffins and cakes don’t actually need eggs (unless you’re addicted to Pavlova and seriously, that’s really unhealthy).
    IF you think they do, just add some Chia Seeds (as per the package instructions) OR some egg replacement (usually seaweed based) and there’s your binding agent, with additional nutrition.

    BIGGEST TIP?
    T h i n k .

    CHALLENGE:
    Read all the ingredients in every single thing you buy for a whole week (at least)!
    Even wine can have egg in it!
    Find out how the products you buy are made (research Almond milk for an example).

    Love your fellow beings instead of eating them.
    Honor your home, our planet, Earth.

    Peace ❤

    • Cathy says...

      Thank you so much for taking this on! I’ve been vegetarian, mostly vegan since 2000, and it’s honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my health and obviously for the animals, and the planet. I wanted to let people know that there are so many amazing resources online for great veg recipes. My favorites are Vegan Richa, Oh She Glows, Chocolate Covered Katie, and Sweet Potato Soul, but there are so many others. Vegan food has come so far in the past twenty years and there even are some kick ass vegan cheeses out there too, especially Chao by Field Roast, for those of you who are still craving that fatty, tangy goodness that is so hard to replicate. Thank you again. <3 <3 <3

  75. Sasha L says...

    Thank you so much for this post! This gives me so much hope ♥️ Love this community.

    I’m with you! For 30+ years I’ve been vegetarian, and in the last few strive to be as vegan as possible. We’ve raised our children vegetarian as well. To give some scale to this ONE CHOICE: the wise internet estimates that one Vegetarian saves 50 animals per year. So that’s 1500 animals for my lifetime so far (imagine a herd of a thousand chickens, 250 cows, 250 pigs…. All alive because of one person’s choice). And my daughters are 23 & 21 so another 2200 animals!!! And, AND! my husband does eat meat, but rarely, maybe 10 animals a year vs 50, so in his 28 years with me, 1120 animals. One family of four: 4820 living animals that didn’t die just to feed us food we don’t need. And can you imagine the amount of food that can be grown instead? And the health benefits?

    I am 46 and often get remarks that I look very young for my age (I don’t think being young or looking young is superior to being and looking 46 btw), and my explanation is that this is what compassion does for one’s face. My choice to eat compassionately is reflected all throughout my life and I am a better and happier person for it.

    (Also, for folks who think it’s *hard*, yep. And so what. I grew up and live in Montana, cattle country, hunting culture, where there is probably, maybe, 1 Vegetarian for every 100 very dedicated and in your face meat eaters. My own parents STILL don’t understand. Lots of restaurants here don’t even have a veg option. But it’s so far from impossible, even here. It’s literally the biggest, easiest, environmental choice one person can make)

    I have a million awesome recipes, both vegetarian and vegan, DM me on FB and I will happily send you some. https://www.facebook.com/111939083664626/posts/111941763664358/?substory_index=0

  76. Christina says...

    We are with you! My family decided to cut back on meat after watching “Game Changers”. Then, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, Eating Animals, and some of us have become vegetarian. My 10-year old daughter and I are committed. The rest of the family mostly goes along with us. I started this for the earth, but I feel like my life is more peaceful because of this decision.

  77. Kate M says...

    I usually don’t comment but I really have to because changing one’s individual consumption habits is NOT the most effective way to fight climate change. Climate change can only be fought on a massive scale through policies like the Green New Deal. If someone is inspired to cut down on meat and dairy, that’s fine, but individual choices will never be enough to change the amount of emissions we produce as a country. If you want to get involved in the climate fight, please GET POLITICALLY INVOLVED! Volunteer for a candidate for city council, congress, or president who supports environmentally-friendly policies. The Sierra Club is a great place to get started: https://addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/support-a-green-new-deal?promoid=7010Z000002799xQAA.

    Remember, individual choices didn’t cause the climate crisis and individual choices won’t get us out of it—we need collective action.

    • Laurie says...

      Thumbs way up for this comment! Throw out the anti-science politicians and bring in real leaders to reshape our use of the planetary resources on a massive scale. I hope they serve Mitch McConnell some nice vegan curry in his retirement home someday, but first we gotta get him there!!

  78. Mikela says...

    I’ve always leaned towards a fairly vegetarian based diet with the occasional meat meal here and there. But recently, my boyfriend (who was a devoted, daily meat eater) decided he would like to reduce his meat consumption after watching the Netflix documentary Game Changers and realizing that the majority of our protein intake comes from plants which are then processed by animals for us to eat – so why not skip the middle man/animal!

    A great cuisine to incorporate more vegetarian and flavourful meals is Indian cuisine; recently one of my friends recommended I add tofu in my butter chicken recipe as a vegetarian option – now this is a game changer! I could eat “Indian butter tofu” weekly!

  79. Megan says...

    I think it’s important to note that not all meat, fish, and eggs are created equal. We buy most of our eggs from neighbors whose chickens and ducks wander their yards and forests eating harmful ticks and other bugs, and adding joy to our children’s lives :)

    In many cases, local eggs are great protein sources and are far more environmentally responsible than, for instance, the organic kiwi I bought at my co-op and only noticed when I got home was shipped all the way from Greece!

    If you eat fish, here is a great website to make sure that you’re purchasing responsibly: https://www.seafoodwatch.org/

    I’d also add that our family never touches red meat or pork because, apart from the global warming aspect, in the USA almost all cows and pigs raised for meat are heavily dosed with antibiotics in their feed so that they can be raised more quickly in more crowded conditions. This is a huge and immediate problem for human disease, and is even scarier to me than global warming: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/health/drug-companies-antibiotics-resistance.html

  80. Jessica Hutchens says...

    I will be celebrating my 2 year vegan-niversary in March! I primarily made this decision due to eco concerns. I just wanted to voice my support, CoG, and add to the normalization of vegetarianism and/or veganism with this comment. Thank you!!!!!!!!

  81. Jennifer says...

    I started eating mostly plant based (exception for holidays with family and occasionally eating meat at a restaurant). 2 books that were really inspiring we’re the china study and how not to die. They made me feel excited about going vegan instead of shame

  82. Clare Agra says...

    THANK YOU

  83. Natalie T. says...

    Thank you for this post! I didn’t know the stats and they are scary! I have been thinking more of eating plant-based and though I’m not fully vegetarian there are a few cookbooks that make it easier:
    1. Most Plants by the Pollan family is one I really loved and has some meat recipes in it but really flavourful vegetable recipes too.
    2. I’m finding Alison Roman’s books also focus a lot on flavourful recipes with the things we actually have in our fridges (like romaine lettuce)
    3. Fraiche Food Full Hearts is another great cookbook that focuses on substitutions for all diets.

    • Natalie Taylor says...

      *Mostly Plants is the cookbook.

  84. Martyna says...

    One of my resolutions for 2019 was to eliminate beef 100% from my diet for that year. It was actually much easier than I expected so I’ve decided to keep going with it. I’m also trying to cut down on all meat & dairy. I recommend Pick Up Limes for amazing vegan recipes (https://www.pickuplimes.com). The woman who runs it also has a youtube channel worth checking out. I recently made her herb, garlic and cashew tofu spread. It’s a tasty replacement for cream cheese!

  85. Andrea says...

    In. Started buying less meat last year, but this will be a focus of 2020. I’d love recipes, tips, and resources. Thus seems daunting. I’d also like resources on how to talk to my kids about climate change.

  86. Janna says...

    A great post that brings awareness to key drivers of climate change and looks to the future! On a related topic, I highly recommend a poignant documentary about the destructive effect of climate change (available on Netflix) on coral reef:

    https://www.chasingcoral.com/

    The documentary is SO powerful and striking in several ways, and shows the impact the climate change has had on one of the world’s amazing ecosystems.

  87. Kirstin Gebhart says...

    My husband and I have dialed back our meat consumption drastically over the last few years — only eating meat that he harvests (venison and the occasional goose) and saving meat as a special treat once every week or two. Our saving grace has been Thug Kitchen (https://www.thugkitchen.com/) — GREAT vegan recipes with colorful language — and planning out our meals so we know exactly how all of those perishable vegetables are going to get used. I was initially worried about being a “nag/tiresome” about it as well — but I just eat what’s available and don’t make special requests when we’re guests and more often than not, people notice and it becomes a great conversation starter.
    It’s gotten easier and easier to eat less meat, like anything, if you believe in the change and make it a habit, over time it just becomes commonplace.

  88. Heather says...

    Question about ALMOND MILK:

    I have gradually given up all dairy – partly b/c of the environmental impact and partly because I felt like it wasn’t what my body needed. When I cut out the dairy, the KP on my arms and legs almost vanished (maybe 3 bumps now instead of 30), so I know it was a good move health wise.

    I switched to almond milk, and Calaffia “Better Half” coconut/almond hazelnut creamer for coffee. But I heard a podcast about how almond farming is worsening the drought in CA. So… is almond milk also bad for the planet? Thoughts? Suggestions?

    • Anna says...

      Less water than cow milk but still problematic. We’ve switched to oat milk – maybe worth a try if you’re on that continually-lessening-the-impact path!

    • MELISSA says...

      I having been using almond milk for several years and recently branched out and tried oat milk for the first time. It’s delicious. Planet Oat brand in “extra creamy” is my favorite and so good in coffee.

    • Allison says...

      Hi Heather – You can also try rice milk or oat milk if you’re concerned about the amount of water it takes to grow almonds. I mostly use rice milk on a daily basis and oat milk for special treats. Oat milk is really good in lattes :)

    • Heather says...

      While almond milk is better for the planet than cows milk, it is still damaging due to the enormous amounts of water required to grow almonds. Oat milk is a more sustainable alternative!

    • Sasha L says...

      I was just going to add – every choice has consequences. It’s impossible to have no impact at all. But almond milk is STILL a much cleaner and more humane choice than cow’s milk. I use almond milk, but I try to think about every food choice – do we really need this? How much do we need? Am I being careful to have ZERO good waste (waste is a huge problem)? For example, living far from most food production means almost everything we eat has a big impact, but there are some local options: eggs from our back yard, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, strawberries, greens, plums, herbs, from our garden in the summer, lentils, barley, peas, wheat – all grown near us. We eat a lot of lentils. They can sub for ground beef in just about any recipe. Bananas? Yes, but I try to eat less rather than more, knowing how far they have to travel.

    • liz says...

      almonds are an amazing food. They are filled with protein and super nutritious. They are also a very water intensive crop. To make almond milk, you take that amazing food source, soak it in water, and add back nutrition because the soaking strips it out. Better off to eat the almonds. It feels incredibly wasteful to me. Oat milk would be a more responsible choice.

    • liz says...

      you might want to try oat milk too if you have concerns?

    • rose says...

      FYI, brazil nut milk is my favorite, supplies hard to get selenium, and the nuts are only wild-harvested by indigenous people, ensuring rainforest protection and economic support because they are impossible/impractical to cultivate being a hardwood tree. On the flip side they are pricey, you do have to make the milk your self though actually I prefer that because I want to know exactly what goes into my body and their carbon footprint could be large – I’ll have to take a look at that.
      Silk brand coconut milk is my backup. It’s nearly perfect for a processed food barring it’s own carbon footprint. And a lot of people love Oatly oat milk – not sure what it’s footprint is but doubt it’s oats are grown here – but maybe? Also consider a switch to green tea – it doesn’t require milk and organic Jasmine has become my go to morning drink. L- theanine is a huge stress softener and it’s just enough caffiene.

    • Julie says...

      This whole thread is making me think of the show “The Good Place” and Chidi not being able to choose. I guess being informed and thinking about the impacts of every single one of our choices can be so… freaking paralyzing!! but you guys convinced me to try oat milk, so thank you :)

  89. Caitlin says...

    There is more to this than simply cutting out meat and dairy. Unfortunately for the poor that you referenced in your article, food security is scarce and the best source of nutrition and calories comes from fast food; meat and dairy abound. Not to mention that many people (mostly cis-women) started eating vegetarian or vegan and it set them up with eating disorders.

    Eating vegetarian or vegan is extremely time consuming and takes work and dedication to make sure your nutritional needs are met. Many people do not know how to properly eat this way. This becomes especially harder and more important for growing bodies. There is nothing more easily nourishing than eating meat. Please do not put your children on a vegetarian or vegan diet. (Once kids are old enough to make their own decision, it’s a different story.)

    There are ways to eat ethical and sustainable meat and dairy. It just costs a lot and also takes effort. If you are able, and you’re not willing to make the nutritional sacrifice, this is an excellent option. Fresh farm, free run eggs are usually the cheapest and easiest option.

    I am posting this comment, as I wish this article came with a disclaimer about food desserts, food scarcity, poverty, and eating disorder warnings. If you’d like to go vegetarian or vegan, don’t let this stop you, but unfortunately it’s not really as simple as every one going vegetarian overnight.

    • Sarah says...

      I 100% agree here–many Americans aren’t allowed the luxury of curating every meal from a climate-change perspective.

    • Rae says...

      Caitlin, the thrust of your comment is important: food choices aren’t really choices for those with food insecurity. For many, many Americans food purchases and meal prep are a daily stressor. But, as someone who works at a food pantry / survival center I can tell you that many of those living with food insecurity also want to eat in environmentally conscious and healthy ways. Some of the main requests we receive are for brown rice and whole grain pasta, canned and dried beans, and less packaging. Many food cultures do not prioritize meat.

      Your point about triggering ED? Severe restriction and completely raw food diets have been problematic as supported by “influencers” but that’s not what this post references. Vegetarian and vegan diets have been consumed for centuries by people around the globe. They needn’t be time consuming or expensive. Nor are they necessarily related to weight loss.

    • Heather says...

      So, I sort of agree with you, and also disagree. I think it’s true that being a vegetarian requires thought and planning b/c you have to account for a full range of amino acids and non-heme iron, etc… and this is may present a challenge to the uninformed or the picky eater (see: children). I became a vegetarian when I was 14 by choice, and by the time I was 19 I was so anemic I collapsed and had to be hospitalized. I wasn’t mature enough, and didn’t have the right materials or guidance, to make vegetarianism work for me: I was mostly eating baked potatoes and pasta and PBJs.

      But this doesn’t mean you can’t REDUCE meat. My kids eat meat – but not every day of the week. We do bean burgers and bean burritos and salmon. When we make tacos, we do half ground turkey and half black beans in the pan, and the kids do not notice or care.

    • Sasha L says...

      There is no such thing as ethical or sustainable meat.

      It’s definitely not hard work being a vegetarian or vegan. I’ve done it for 30 years. It’s vastly cheaper too.

      Children do absolutely just fine on a vegetarian or vegan diet. You could ask my own.

      Being vegetarian or vegan doesn’t *set one up* for eating disorders. Eating disorders are vastly more complex mental health conditions.

      For anyone curious, please look into these issues, there is so much misinformation out there it’s scary. And there is ample evidence showing that vegetarians and vegans are healthy, that these choices benefit the planet and it’s occupants and that it’s such a great choice to help climate change.

    • Allison says...

      Yes! Less meat can be a great option for many but veganism is not “ideal” for the human body Or the planet. Morally it might be the right choice for some but scientifically/biologically it’s not… Earth is not a plant-based eco-system and humans have molars for a reason . I tend to think that vegans can help balance out those who consume too much meat. This article is off-putting due to its lack of proper sources (that 51% number is not widely replicated elsewhere.. I found 14% in a Guardian article…so it just feels sensationalist and thus loses the power a well-researched column could have had. I don’t disagree that North America in general consumes too much meat for our and the planet’s health. But there is already enough food produced to feed the hungry… it’s just not evenly distributed and you changing your diet won’t change that so find a better reason and write about that because I ended up feeling this whole article was filled with junk reasons for good actions.

    • Daisy says...

      I say this as an occasional Meat eatarian. Cooking Vegetarian food is time consuming is a misconception. There are tons of Vegetarian, tasty options in Indian cuisine. A lot of kids in India grow up as vegetarians and their growing body does just fine. In this day and age, if people had an interest to learn anything, they can.

    • Shannon Hughes says...

      You are absolutely correct that we need to be make space and be aware of privilege, food deserts, and poverty when discussing food choices. After all, food justice = social justice! As a public interest environmental lawyer, I have studied this question quite a bit and just wanted to add to this discussion.

      I disagree that eating vegan or vegetarian is extremely time consuming. For people of color dealing with racial violence systematically and interpersonally everyday, veganism can emerge as the last thing on people’s mind. But for those with families who are time and cash-strapped, there are fast-food options for vegans now, as well as inexpensive frozen vegan meals. It takes a lot less time to throw some beans, rice, and veggies together than it does to cook a roast. If you explore outside of the typical American diet, it’s quite easy!

      I also disagree that it is expensive. New research shows that vegetarians actually save more than $750 a year than their meat-eating counterparts (https://money.com/vegetarians-save-money/). Additionally, countries with the lowest GDP also have the lowest amount of meat consumption. Think of it this way – millions of people in poverty eat a primarily vegetarian diet. It is when money is added into the equation that, studies show, meat and dairy consumption go up. It might be interesting to try it for a month and compare the savings for your family.

      And finally, health reports continue to link red meat and processed meat to chronic diseases (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/well/eat/eat-less-meat-live-longer.html). 99% of meat consumed in America is produced on a factory farm. There are excellent small farms and dairies but that unfortunately is not a reality for most Americans.

      Thank you for reading, and I appreciate being able to add to the discussion on this because it is so complicated and personal!

    • rose says...

      Eating meat IS EASY, if that’s what your comfort zone is. And that is why it is so vital that those who consider eating meat daily a “privilege” realize the impact that privilege is having on the planet and adjust accordingly. That means going outside of your comfort zone just a little and eating a little more vegetable than meat. It is medically proven to be much much healthier.

      The body needs very little meat to be nourished when accompanied by vegetables precisely for the reasons you mention. The more educated about a vegetarian diet you become the less meat you need to meet and exceed your nutritional requirements. If people don’t make time to learn about how to balance their actions with the planets needs that becomes willful ignorance and that is precisely why our world is out of balance. OUR actions are out of balance with the planet’s natural rhythms and it is far larger older and therefore wiser than we are and that is why those rhythms must be respected – or we will cease to exist here and who wants to live in a tin can in icy cold space? Not I.

      It’s easy to change. It takes little time to learn something new and that kind of resilience is very good for us. Shop around for a vegetarian cooking class and have the whole family attend with you. Integrate the lessons into your regular meals. It doesn’t have to be a large radical change – just make continuous small changes. Everyone, on any budget can do that.

    • jane says...

      Um, I went vegetarian literally overnight and I am 100% totally healthy. I’ve had a cold about twice in my adult lifetime. I am 50. But people whose go-to meals are junk/fast food regardless of whether it’s meat or veg-based already have an eating disorder. Look at the amount of American obesity. Aside from those with medical obesity those people are not eating a whole food diet.

      The average person will never get an eating disorder by going vegetarian. There have never been more cookbooks available – and free at the library. You don’t need a doctor to do this! A vegetarian diet has safely fed the country of India for thousands of years and for those who feel they want meat they can look to thousands of years of Asian history where it is used as a condiment to accompany massive amounts of vegetables.

      As to eating “cheaply” people need to be responsible and question their financial readiness to procreate before the fact, 1, and 2, this cookbook was created to address affordability and is full of healthy vegetarian recipes for $4 a day:

      https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/08/01/337141837/cheap-eats-cookbook-shows-how-to-eat-well-on-a-food-stamp-budget

    • Lindsay says...

      Thank you for making these points.

  90. celeste says...

    As a Wisconsinite, with the biggest amount of farmers nationwide declaring bankruptcy, I don’t know if I can do this to milk prices.
    Interesting perspective, to think of our industry as out of vogue, like coal mining or telephone operations. I enjoy hearing about moderate changes, like Meatless Mondays, though.

    • Rusty says...

      That’s what everyone said about loggers not having any employment if the logging industry was stopped. Guess what has happened all over the world? Within a short timeframe, many of those same people are working in toyrism in eco forest industries where people value the forest instead.
      When things seem too hard, we don’t think outside the box.

    • rose says...

      My uncle was a dairy farmer who decided to become an electrician. I think they are hired as journeymen to train then eventually get their own license. Apparently electricians are in high demand they train you and the pay is quite good once they’ve got their license. There are always options.

    • Shannon says...

      It’s heartening to see workers in collapsing industries (like coal, as you mentioned) become trained in another well-paying industry that does not have as many negative externalities. I’m thinking of the West-Virginian coal miners that learned to code and developed a well-paying, highly-sustainable career. I have seen articles showing former dairy farmers switch to better-performing commodities – that’s a smart move. I wonder if there are programs to support the transition so these workers don’t end up without a job? Otherwise, I would hesitate to suggest supporting an industry that causes environmental harms for the sole reason of supporting its workers.

  91. Ceren says...

    We have cut down on our meat consumption, and when we buy, we really make an effort to buy organic meat. For me it started about from a sustainability perspective, but the more i became aware, the more i cared about animal welfare. Family favourite vegetarian options in our household are: quesadillas with beans and self-made pizzas (with for instance pre-made courgette pizza crust).

    Thank you for addressing this issue!

  92. Julie says...

    I have been working hard to figure out the best way for our family to have a smaller (a small) impact on the environment. We already have a few meatless days, although I often wonder how long this will take to have an effect, because the cows already exist. I guess the goal is fewer cows in the future? Also, we need to move away from big agriculture in general. So, the little meat people do eat should be as close to locally sourced as possible from sustainable, regenerative farms (organic when possible, but getting the organic label before a farm is profitable is expensive for that farm).

    My next passion is not buying plastic and eating Whole Foods that are not wrapped in plastic as often as I can. Where I live, you can only buy strawberries in plastic containers (same for blueberries, raspberries etc). We buy things like broccoli, squash, apples, oranges, etc. that are not in any packaging and we use reusable produce bags. I still end up with some plastic, which is so frustrating. It is EVERYWHERE. I just started baking our own bread (we got a breadmaker) to avoid that plastic and the chemicals/preservatives in the bread we eat but then I wonder about the electricity that requires and the weird plasticy bag the yeast comes in (it’s definitely less plastic than a loaf of bread every week, but does it still help?).

    We are also on a mission not to buy anything we do not need this year. No stuffies, no random camping gear, no magnets, no jewelry, no new shoes (except for kids), just the necessities. We couldn’t possibly need more than what we have. We let it get so out of control!

    • Alison says...

      You can usually find yeast in a glass jar (fully recyclable or reusable) if you’re open to buying a large amount and measuring for each recipe instead of the convenience of single use packets. If you’re baking regularly, it’s probably a better price! Hopefully you can find some near you.

    • Rusty says...

      Awesome! ❤

    • Hannah says...

      Hi Julie,
      Your family sounds a lot like mine! Trying, trying, always trying to reduce our impact and wondering about how to make the best choices. A quick tip- you can buy yeast in glass jars. I have one in my fridge that I picked up at Whole Foods (I think) and it’s still going strong after probably a year! I test it each time to make sure it’s viable. With the amount of bread you’re baking, it sounds like you’d use it up much more quickly.
      Best,
      Hannah

    • Juile says...

      Thank you, Hannah, Alison, and Rusty! I will look for that yeast in a jar. I bought a big bag of it that will last a while but next time will look for that.

      Did you see Cassidy’s comment? I think that is super interesting. Also love the idea of focusing on women farmers. So much to learn on this front.

  93. Maryann says...

    I am with you! My family has been going in this direction for awhile and I think we are ready to take it a few steps further and cut more meat and dairy out of our diet. Thank you for posting this. Food consumption and waste are such big factors that all of us can do better to help control.

  94. Allison says...

    This is high on my priority list fr 2020! I am in and am so glad to read this article. Would love to see more posts about family meals that are vegetarian/vegan as others have suggested.

  95. Julie says...

    I am completely on board, I’ve already transitioned my husband and I to Meatless Mondays, and we often have another dinner that’s vegetarian, but I’d like to cut back more for both environmental and health reasons.

  96. Amanda W. says...

    Yes! Thank you for this post!

    My husband and I have been vegan for going on 14 years now. It is far from limiting, and opened my eyes and taste buds to all kinds of new ingredients. Our transition to veganism is when I fell in love with cooking. There are so many wonderful resources out there for recipes; it’s easier now than ever to be vegan.

    I highly recommend listening to the podcast “Science Vs,” and its episodes on veganism and milk alternatives specifically. The host, Wendy Zukerman, goes in as a skeptic, but the facts are all there: veganism is both good for you and for the environment.

  97. Michelle Finan says...

    This is great! One of my news year’s resolutions is to eat less meat, which is definitely going to be a challenge for this burger loving gal. So far I’ve kept breakfast and lunch meat free (easy because we meal-prep), and completed my first official “meatless monday” this week. My goal is to eventually be a 75% meat free household – which amounts to about 5 meals with meat a week. I’m excited about it, because reducing the amount of meat we eat means when we do eat it 1) it will be all the more delicious and 2) we can afford to purchase higher quality local meats that are less impactful to the environment.

    • Kirstin Gebhart says...

      Such a great point! We haven’t bought meat at the grocery store for the last year (aside from a special occasion or two) and our grocery bills are noticeably smaller.

  98. Laura Duquette says...

    I’ve been vegan for 14 years and reading your blog for 10 of those – I’m so happy to see you post this! I would love to see more plant powered recipes posted going forward too. It’s such an important part of the crisis and something so easy to do.

  99. Holly says...

    I wholeheartedly love that CoJ is tackling this topic! I’d like to add that reducing your food waste can have as big of an impact as going plant-based (~1/3 of all food is thrown away) . So reminder that whatever you do buy at the grocery store or order at a restaurant, EAT IT ALL UP! :)

  100. Diana Hubbard says...

    After a particularly emotional and intense conversation with my physicist brother over the holidays, I want to put a plug in for the one big change that would have an immediate and enormous impact on our carbon emissions: renewing our support for nuclear power. I’ve always been a supporter of nuclear power as a cheap, and reliable source of energy, but I had some safety concerns and with all the talk in the news about solar and wind power getting cheaper, I was starting to think that maybe it’s not necessary. But my brother convinced me that that’s just not how power grids work. Power grids need power *all the time* to stay on. We do not currently have the technology to make that happen with solar and wind. But *right now* we can make that happen in a clean way with nuclear power. Unfortunately, natural gas has been getting cheaper and cheaper, so nuclear power plants have started getting shut down. This has an enormous impact on our current and future emissions. I sort of incredulously asked my brother “From a safety perspective, would you really want to live next to a nuclear power plant?” and he said “You cannot imagine how thrilled I would be to live next to a nuclear power plant. They are so incredibly safe now. The *evacuation* from Fukushima was deadly; the low levels of radiation people would have experienced from staying put would have been much, much safer, and perhaps completely safe.” I was dubious, but after reading up on it, I see that he’s right.

    So if this makes you kind of uncomfortable, I get it! But please: read this letter (http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/10/25/open-letter-to-heads-of-state-of-the-g-20-from-scientists-and-scholars-on-nuclear-for-climate-change) which summarizes everything my brother told me. Here’s a particularly startling statistic: “The increased risk of mortality from living in a large city, where concentrations of air pollution are high, is 2.8 times greater than the increased risk of mortality for Chernobyl clean-up workers who received the highest levels of radiation exposure”. Then I urge you to consider contacting your local representatives to express support for nuclear power in your state.

    And back to the topic of this post, loving all the great ideas for how to cut back on meat and dairy! We’re pescatarians, but dairy’s our weakness…

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes to nuclear power! No, it’s not perfect, but it’s a heluva lot better than coal, oil, or natural gas. The amount of spills from oil have damages the environment way more than Fukoshima or Chernobyl ever have.

    • rose says...

      But why couldn’t solar/wind technology be created and implemented in the same amount of time it would take to build then switch entire regions to nuclear? Thousands of engineering students graduate EACH YEAR. There is just no justification for generating and storing nuclear waste – there are no containers that can safely contain it long-term. I’ve heard it’s being dumped in the ocean by less conscious countries. Our oceans are dying already. We need the hordes of engineers to create actual a practical solution now.

    • Diana Hubbard says...

      Rose, I think these are super great questions! I had a lot of the same ones. (Our New Years’ Eve was … intense.) Basically, my understanding now is that no, it would *not* take the same amount of time to move everything over to solar and wind that it would to move everything over to nuclear – we’re talking decades (at least) versus a few years. We have all of the science and technology already established to build nuclear power plants. My brother told me we could be shifted over entirely to nuclear power within five years – basically just as long as it takes to build them up to all of their intense safety regulations. It would not take an enormous amount of engineers working on it – the science, technology, and safety protocols all already exist.

      On the other hand, it’s not just that we don’t have the technology to move everything over to solar and wind, it’s that we don’t even have the *basic science* yet. Power grids needs a constant source of energy to function. Solar and wind are intermittent. Currently we have no scientific solution to that problem. Of course you never know when someone is going to have some massive breakthrough, but that simply hasn’t happened yet. When I asked my brother “Well, won’t science be able to give us a nice, clean solution if we just invest more in it?” his answer was a very frustrated “SCIENCE DID. We have nuclear power. It’s a miraculously clean and cheap form of energy production.”.

      I also had concerns about nuclear waste. My understanding now, though (and I’d like to do more research!), is that: 1) the amount of waste created is super small compared to other energy sources (like, barrels worth) 2) it is solid and easy to contain and 3) (this one is key!) it is probably *substantially less harmful* than we have been led to believe if some does end up leaching into our soil and water. Essentially, my brother told me that the line of thought used to be “Radiation damages DNA – that’s really bad. Radiation must be avoided at all costs.” and that the new thinking is “Radiation damages DNA, but because everything is radioactive, DNA has a lot of mechanisms in place to repair itself. Low levels of radiation are generally surprisingly safe.”

      Nuclear power is a solution we have and can fully implement right now, which makes it incredibly valuable considering the urgency of the problem we face. I’m now fully convinced of that and one of my New Years Resolutions is to try to talk to as many people as I can about it.

  101. E says...

    As a chef and small farmer, I’m thrilled to see people paying more attention to the food they purchase, and I believe that eating less meat but spending more on it can have an impact. Know, however, that all cattle in this country are grass-fed for at least a portion of their lives, and the “grass-fed” label has no weight and no regulation. Any beef can legally be labeled grass-fed and processors know they can charge a premium for it, even though it’s just the same sad feedlot animal drowning in antibiotics, hormones and its own waste. (Also, many people don’t like true grass-finished beef, because we’re so accustomed to the flavor and the marbling of grain-fed beef.) Don’t buy meat at the supermarket – buy a side of pastured beef from a small rancher raising animals in a regenerative, soil-enhancing environment who may or may not finish on grain. Ask thoughtful questions, and get to know your food.

    • Anna says...

      “Ask thoughtful questions, and get to know your food” – yes! So well and succinctly put. I’d add “get to know your farmers”, as much as this is possible where you live. Farmer’s markets and CSAs (which can often include meat options), as well as supporting small-scale farmers using traditional and environmentally beneficial practices, which generally combine animal and plant agriculture (as they’re symbiotic and using both can dramatically cut down on both waste and the need for fertilizers, etc) are amazing options to lessen the environmental impact of your food AND build the kind of localized, resilient food economies we so need.

    • Alina says...

      My family buys a cow and a pig every year from a family who is raising animals in their farm. Everything gets processed and frozen in house. We love supporting his small business. They do not raise chickens so we get those at the local farmer’s market,along with most of the vegetables. In my opinion this is the healthiest and most sustainable way of eating, but I understand it is more expensive than the supermarket so not everyone can afford it.

    • Summer says...

      Thank you for this information. I had no clue that the “grass-fed” label has no weight or regulation.

  102. Abbey says...

    Thank you so much for this post!

    My family is trying to cut back as well. For the first few months of 2020, we are committed to one vegetarian and one plant-based dinner a week. We’ll see how that goes and adjust accordingly.

  103. Genevieve Martin says...

    The instagram account @todaywecooked is excellent vegetarian food inspiration, the meals are all easy to make, seem like normal family meals and all the ones I’ve made have been super delicious.

    And this was the nicest thing I made last week, ate it on holiday in Seville and added it to our rotation! https://spanishsabores.com/2014/08/17/espinacas-con-garbanzos-spinach-chickpeas/

  104. Megan Lec says...

    I am so excited to see this article coming from CupofJo. I celebrate 10 years of being a vegetarian this coming February and it has been incredible to see the change in discourse over the decade as well as the availability of vegetarian and vegan food at restaurants, grocery stores, and beyond. I love what you said about quiet vegetarianism. In my early years I found myself wanting to avoid the caricature of a vegan or vegetarian, not wanting to fulfill some stereotype of being holier than thou. Nowadays I see things quite differently. I am proud of this part of my identity and am happy to explain to people this piece of myself. I second all the calls for more vegetarian recipes and love the idea of a month-long commitment to reducing dairy consumption!

  105. Rachel says...

    The “reducitarian” tactic has been working for us. First we just stopped eating beef at home, then we stopped eating all mammals. Now we only eat fish and poultry and have vegetarian meals a few times a week. This was initially driven by my very principled husband. I would still have a cheeseburger sometimes if we went out to eat. But I find that I miss it less and less. It’s been about two years and we are making slow progress in reducing our meat consumption all the time.

  106. Siobhan O'Rorke says...

    This is so wonderful! I’ve been an avid reader for years and am so excited to see such a well-loved and influential (at least on my life) blog talk with such clarity on this topic.
    I’ve been vegan for over 2 years and was able to go cold turkey, and have since been finding other ways to reduce my environmental impact. Of course a slower transition makes a lot more sense for most people, especially those with families to take care of!
    Here are two excellent resources I’ve used over the years to help friends trying to make the switch :)
    http://hotforfoodblog.com/ – delicious, easy to make vegan versions of classic family favorites (like mac & cheese, sloppy joes, chicken parm, etc)
    https://challenge22.com/ – a 22 day online vegan challenge (run through Facebook groups). The groups are super supportive and full of ideas, tips and information. They even have dietitians on hand to deal with tricky dietary requirements.

  107. K.C. says...

    This is a wonderful reminder that together we all CAN make a difference by changing one small thing. We have started with 3 “veggie” days a week. Easy peasy and I don’t doubt by years end we will be a family of “meatatarians”. The upsetting thing to me, is that the 10% doing the most damage are likely the hardest 10% to change their habits. So, the rest of us need to step up.

  108. Katie says...

    This is fantastic! And I hope that the recipes Cup of Jo features moving forward reflect a reduction of meat and cheese to follow suit!

    • Lauren says...

      Yes, completely agreed!

  109. Prior to being diagnosed with celiacs disease (no more gluten – even cross contamination like no longer using butter that touched a knife that touched someone else’s bread) I was already on the ‘weekday vegetarian’ idea from Jenny. My body just didn’t want meat anymore (aside from a summer hot dog (I know – like of ALL the meats to want?)! We actually suspected this was the reason my iron was so low – but several rounds of testing later, it was determined I had celiacs. My mind flipped as I’ve been navigating a world without gluten – and suddenly meat and cheese were my best friends and I was rationalizing it! Thank you for this article in particular today – with less locally grown, appetizing produce in the winter months in the northeast, I needed to be reminded that a plant-based diet is where it is at. Soldier on!

    • Gabby T says...

      Kayla – I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 (for ethical reasons) and was also told for ages that was why I was anemic! I didn’t get diagnosed with Celiac’s until I was 34. It was incredibly daunting to navigate a new world without gluten as a vegetarian (most restaurants gf options are, surprise! – MEAT!) so I totally get it! I found myself defaulting to cheese with EVERYTHING because it was safe and delicious. I’ve now adjusted and realized how many options I still have and am hoping to finally give up dairy this year (massive corporate dairy farms in this country are horrific). So I will soldier on as well – solidarity!

    • Heather says...

      Yes. This is especially an issue for me with my kids’ clothes. They grow out of them fast, and they destroy them fast, and we end up washing everything they wear every time they wear it.

      Post topic: Kids clothes that LAST for the next kid

      And: Shopping for second-hand kid clothes online. There was one ThredUp post on here, but when I found their inventory too low (like, right now, looking for snow bibs) I found a bunch of other sites.

  110. Hilary says...

    For those looking for more vegan recipes, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ cookbook „Isa Does It“ is brilliant and has not once let me down. Since it’s publication in 2013 I have used it regularly, so much in fact that my copy is now falling apart. All the recipes are quick and easy. I highly recommend it for every type of home cook!

    • Kaitlin Ek says...

      Seconded! Probably 75% of my dinners come from this cookbook. So many easy recipes, and they ALWAYS WORK.

  111. Mina says...

    This is such a great post, and I agree that it’s really necessary to look at what we eat as a big part of addressing the climate crisis. My family is vegetarian (including our 3 kids, 5.5, 7 and 9 yrs old) so I am all for it. But it has to be in combination with the other biggy: the way we travel, specifically how much we fly. Air travel is really hard to give up, so it’s tempting to focus hard on recycling and cutting down on meat etc and then feel like we are doing what we can. But until we are more restrictive about how much we fly, we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back too much.

    • Sara says...

      Agree. Air travel is such a problem, and I wonder how we can encourage people to cut down in this area. I’m lucky to live near family so I’m not a frequent flyer myself. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’d love to see people looking at this more seriously, especially when we do tend to valorize travel and “experiences” so much.

  112. Hannah says...

    It makes me so happy to see this topic being discussed on cupofjo! I have always been a SERIOUS meat-eater, but for lots of reasons including the climate crisis have scaled back over the years.

    For me, one of the tricks to being satisfied with vegan food are to use plant-based ingredients which are meaty and savoury in nature. Think:
    Mushroom Bourgignon: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020738-mushroom-bourguignon
    or this hearty and filling salad which is basically power foods + bar snacks: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/make-ahead-lentil-salad?utm_campaign=likeshopme&client_service_id=31198&utm_social_type=owned&utm_brand=ba&service_user_id=1.78e+16&utm_content=instagram-bio-link&utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social&client_service_name=bonappetitmag&supported_service_name=instagram_publishing

    Another favourite is to stew black beans in BBQ sauce, onions, garlic and a little veggie broth. Those beans, with Caesar salad and a baked potato make for an easy and filling year-round meal that taps into backyard BBQ nostalgia.

  113. Fiona Evans says...

    So glad to see this sort of post here on CoJ :)
    Thank you!

  114. Kalli says...

    Thank you for this post, CoJ! When my 8 month old was 6 weeks old, we learned he had a dairy protein allergy, and since I am breastfeeding, I cut all dairy from my diet (it’s pretty common, I’ve learned, and these babes are allergic to the actual protein, not lactose, so goat cheese and casein are included). Most of my friends and family are like whaaat?! Butter too?! (LOL) It seems nearly impossible, but it’s shockingly much easier than one might expect. I’m thankful to this challenge for teaching me how possible it is to cut dairy and plan to mostly continue implementing these changes in my diet after I’m finished nursing.

    If you’re reading and thinking there’s no way you could give up your beloved dairy products, I promise it’s doable as someone who lovesss her ice cream and homemade chocolate chip cookies! (There are so many more options for indulgence these days!)

    • Shannon Hughes says...

      Good for you! I’ve heard dairy is the hardest for folks to give up because it contains a compound that is addictive to entice baby cows to want to nurse. I’ve been really surprised at all the great plant-based options though!

  115. Erin says...

    Our family is actively working towards eating meat just once a week and in special holidays. It’s surprised me how not a big deal it had been to our kids. We’re also trying hard to focus on reducing our food waste which is much harder for our little kids.

  116. Emily says...

    How about having one less child? If every two people replace themselves with no more than two people, that seems more sustainable.

  117. Sarah says...

    Thank you SO much for this post. As an Australian breathing in the smoke every day (and we live hours away from the main fires) it’s go time.

    Might I suggest to our beautiful American friends the total elimination of Red. Plastic. Cups. The waste of those things alone must be off the charts. Just use a damn GLASS. Go to ikea and buy 50 of the same glasses and store them for parties. I used to live in NY as an exchange student and even 20 years ago I would despair when my host family (who I ADORE!) would invite friends over then throw out 30 cups at the end of the night.

    Someone should start a campaign #noredcup

    • CG says...

      This! It is so strange to me how prolific the use of disposable dishes are in the US. This doesn’t seem limited to parties/events. On social media it is so common to see photos of families using disposable items for daily use. So many restaurants use disposable cups and leave plastic straws with every drink and then toss them when they haven’t been touched.

    • Heidi says...

      The scourge of the red plastic cup and all it represents! I am constantly befuddled by our American culture’s insistence on convenience – God forbid we throw glasses in the dishwasher at the end of the night!

    • KC says...

      I’d just note that while plates and cutlery can be stored densely (if you go corelle for the plates and some sort of flatware that nests for the cutlery), reusable cup options for 30 people take up a lot of space – more than those obnoxious red cups do, since the disposable plastic cups nest really tightly, and none of the options I could find on the market nested well (the closest was a reusable plastic cafeteria cup that overlapped by about 2/3 with the next cup in line). Anyway, reusable is definitely a great option for those with storage, but might be a fair bit harder for those living in tiny (NYC?) spaces.

      (that said, for grad school Thanksgivings we pooled the water glasses owned by a few couples to outfit all three tables; not quite “bring your own plate” but close; and then had a dishwashing party in the kitchen afterwards, so there might be options even for NYC small space people, potentially)

  118. Kim says...

    Thank you for this! It is my goal to work toward mostly vegan eating this year, so I’m thrilled to read the advice in the comments. So far, our favorite substitutes have been the easiest ones- swapping a combo of mushrooms, lentils, and sometimes quinoa for ground meats. We’ve found lentil curry to be a winner- cozy, filling, and we don’t even notice it’s meatless!

  119. Jen C says...

    Love this post! I just started moving toward more WFPB (whole food plant based) eating, both for the environment and for health (I recently read The China Study). I’m not striving for perfection; just looking for ways to reduce meat and dairy consumption. Eliminating my morning yogurt has already reduced my nasal congestion / runny nose – yeah!

  120. A says...

    I am a vegetarian who eats mostly vegan due to health and environmental concerns. I live in the South, where people routinely order only meat options for work meetings. For those who plan such lunch meetings, please think of your veggie coworkers—and the planet!
    My diet has made a significant difference my health and my view of the world. It is not easy, but is so important. Check out pick up limes and good eatings in YouTube for beautiful vegan meal ideas. Once you stop eating meat, you will have no desire to go back.

  121. Ann says...

    I completely support eating low on the food chain for many ethical reasons, including environmental.

    However, I urge you to correct a fallacy in this piece: Livestock are not the greatest source of emissions. (I was an environmental sciences major, and have done plenty of reading on this subject.)

    This claim has been widely debunked, and refuted by a main author of the study that led to that conclusion, as evidenced here:

    https://theconversation.com/yes-eating-meat-affects-the-environment-but-cows-are-not-killing-the-climate-94968

    http://news.trust.org/item/20180918083629-d2wf0

    What will make the most impact in our personal consumption is flying less and driving less (especially flying less). Every step we take is important, but minimizing our fossil-fuel-based travel is #1. A tough pill to swallow for those of us, like me, who consider travel one of life’s premier joys – but even I have been avoiding non-essential plane trips after learning how much carbon they are responsible for.

    • Kath says...

      Yes! I keep coming back to this piece to see if they’ve retracted because it’s frightening how many of us believe that claim. We have to make sure we’re not believing and spreading misinformation.

    • Heather says...

      Thanks for sharing that article. But why pit the environmental impact of meat/dairy against the environmental impact of cars/planes? We should reduce both, right? If you live in a part of the world where the only thing that will grow is goats, then eat goats. But if you live in affluence and you can afford other sources of protein that have less of an impact, why not do everything you can? We can’t be all or none about this. Every single decision we make that is healthier for the planet does help.

    • Marie says...

      Thank you Ann for pointing this out. I would love to see Cupofjo write a post about reducing travel. I think everyone is avoiding the topic because it would require real sacrifice.

    • Melkorka says...

      Thank you Ann for this comment, yes this study has been debunked and also there are so many wonderful farmers who produce meat sustainably (and it is not an easy gig). If people want to make an impact with their food choices, buy from local farms that practice regenerative agriculture! Listen to Sustainable Dish if you want to learn more about the topic of how a lot of mono-culture produce shipped in from overseas is the opposite of ‘environmentally responsible’ . There has been a huge surge of ‘green washing’ advertising to sell soy-burgers and vegan products using this study (case in point the beyond-burger at Dunkin’ eye roll). If you want to make a difference and disrupt industrial practices you don’t agree with (let alone human rights violations & exploitation) buy LOCAL from LOCAL farmers. I remember pitching a story to Cup Of Joe a long time ago about promoting CSA’s that supply local NY grown meat & produce (not for instance promoting some corporate pre-made individually packaged ‘prepped dinner’ chain that ships in incredibly wasteful packaging). I wonder how many of the people commenting here are connected at all to agriculture, either grew up on a farm, know someone who runs one, buys from one directly etc? It is important work supporting local regenerative agriculture that aligns with your beliefs. I would argue that is a much more powerful and impactful choice then switching to avocado toast on a Monday.

  122. Joanna says...

    Thank you for such a great article and please keep this series on sustainability going. There are so many areas in the household and lifestyle that can benefit from a sustainable revamp.

    We don’t consume dairy or eggs (due to allergies) and have been bumping up our plant consumption for years, including in meat / fish dishes where meat (sustainably produced and locally sourced) become a small percentage of the meal. Between 70-80% of all our meals are vegan. This translates into health for the planet and for ourselves – eat the colours of the rainbow and beyond as much as you can and keep your microbiome happy. Experts recommend to eat a variety of 30 different plants a week to keep our gut thriving, add herbs, grains, an extra veggie to the pot where you can to top up on goodness.

    Deliciously Ella is a good inspiration for vegan recipes but I do lots of adaptations of traditional recipes and swap ingredients as I go. Risottos, soups, curries, pulses, etc.

  123. Hannah says...

    Hi CoJ-Team!
    Maybe we (as in: the CoJ community) could share our favourite vegetarian/vegan recipes and you could collect those i.e. in a post, which we could then use as a resource?

    Just yesterday, I cooked a batch of a truly fantastic cale curry (never thought I’d say this) – which is a vegan (though I am not). I never ate too much meat, but I try to be more conscious about it when I do and try to reduce it even further. More yummy recipes would help. :)

  124. Daria says...

    At long last! I’ve been waiting for this post for a long time… Go vegan! (or at least reduce meat consumption) Thank you XXX

  125. I’m vegan/vegetarian sice 2 years and I’ve never felt better. When I changed my diet, it wasn’t so obvious that it has that huge impact on our planet. Now I’m happy that I’ve made this decision then and I’m helping our planet number one that long. :)

    Thank you for this post!

  126. Lisa says...

    green kitchen stories has great recipes!

    https://greenkitchenstories.com/

    Great website, fantastic cookbooks, an app and a youtube channel….

    Highly recommended!

    We can do this together!

  127. Sama says...

    My partner and I are life-long vegetarians, but for climate change reasons moved to vegan-before-dinner about a year ago. We tried vegan weeks / vegetarian weekends and found it harder to stick to than vegan-before-dinner. It has been so much easier than we expected! Preparing a few vegan lunch options to take to work is key (soups, curries, grain salads). We usually do that on Sunday. It’s a simple routine to get into and cuts down on animal-products by about 70% in our case.

  128. Laura says...

    Thank you so much for this post. As happens more often here at COJ, this post could not have come at a better moment for me. Just this week, after I laughed off having any new year’s resolutions, I decided that I would like to have a resolution after all: but not for me but for the planet. As an avid meat-, fish- and cheese-aholic (and allergic to cashews) going totally vegan does not seem like a feasable short term option, but I have decided to try to make 2 out of 3 meals plant based. For me this means: for breakfast oatmeal or a smoothy based on oatmilk, for lunch a vegan salad or a veggi stuffed fritata based on chickpea flour. In between will try to limit my snacking to vegan granola bars, apple w/ peanutbutter, or just some carrots, though I can’t garantee that I might cheat sometimes if a really nice cake comes allong #guiltypleasure… Because I can still eat cheese, fish and meat if I want (but probably won’t everyday) at dinner I hope this will be a good way to ease in to a ‘reducetarian’ lifestyle!

  129. Jody Winter says...

    I’m in New Zealand, where our sky is currently a shade of muddy brownish yellow thanks to the smoke from the Australian bushfires several thousand kilometres away. Our hearts are breaking for our Aussie neighbours. This post has inspired me to cut down our meat consumption and I’ll start next week. Although our household has donated to the bushfire relief, is cutting down on plastic, consumption etc and has taken up composting, cutting back on meat will make an ever bigger contribution.

  130. Aida says...

    My hubby saw Gamechangers and the last remaining family member got on board with eating MUCH less meat and dairy. It was something the teenage kids had been asking for. It’s made me a far more creative cook! I had to get over the fear that I’d be hungry after a vegan meal- and give myself permission to have seconds!!

  131. Charlotte says...

    Dear COJ-Team & all the other lovely humans,

    you did it :) I am so proud of you! Now, I want to talk about the yummi sustainability of eating SEAWEEDS! :) Just read the book “eat like a fish” by BRENT SMITH, it was so good! … Summary: He was a commercial fishermen, then the industry broke down (partially) as there was not enough (wild) fish available, Then he tought: What can I do? Answer: To ask the ocean what it wants to me to grow in it instead of pressuring the ocean to produce more fish. He got into seaweeds, which “eat” a majority of CO2 – as do mussels and oysters -, are healty, easy to produce …. and anyway, read the book :) …. if you are in Munich/Germany, I can give you the book, just let me know.

    PS: Bloody hell, COJ, I can’t tell you how great it feels to be heard re. the wish that you incorporate sustainability into you blog permanently & thoroughly. Thanks :)

  132. Thank you for this amazing, important, well-written post!

  133. Rashmi says...

    “I was surprised to learn that by far the biggest, most effective way an individual can combat climate change is something my daughter steered us towards years ago: reducing our meat and dairy intake.”
    Extremely disappointed to be reading misleading numbers and erroneous statements in a serious post like this. The BIGGEST contribution individuals can make towards climate change is limiting the size of their families. But of course it’s a difficult topic and no one wants to tell people kindly do not have children. Doesn’t change the fact that eating lentils for dinner won’t change much if you’re eating it with your “family of five”. Let’s get real. The planet is burning. The only things that will help are drastic measures and not minuscule things that allow us to pay ourselves on the back.

    • Shannon Hughes says...

      This is very true! One of the reasons my husband and I decided to not have any biological children and adopt one child, instead. But I wonder if this is a different conversation because not individual is making a decision about children? Put more simply – food, commutes, plastic-use, water use, etc. are decisions we make every day and so they are applicable to everyone. I agree with you, though.

  134. Rose says...

    I am so relieved, excited, energized by so many people I know making a reduced meat diet a goal/priority/resolution for 2020. I have been going vegetarian every January for the past 12 years and find it a nice way to reset my awareness of what I’m eating annually (after a very indulgent holiday season). I was first turned onto this idea in an environmental studies class back in 2007 which gave me an awareness of the environmental impact of meat for the first time.
    The wonderful Michael Pollan book, Food Rules, provides very easy to digest ‘rules’ on how to eat for a healthy body and planet. It is informative and entertaining (not preachy). I can’t recommend it highly enough. Melissa Clark with the NYT Cooking Section has also dedicated her recent recipes and charming videos to meat reduced meals- the mushroom bourguignon recipe is indulgent and satisfying!

  135. Clara says...

    Absolutely agree that consuming less dairy and meat is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
    However, it’s not quite accurate that this is the best way to do so: Having fewer children or not owning a car are both much more effective in reducing our CO2 emissions.
    In this conversation around climate-change which is often dominated by rhetoric, I think it’s really important that we get the facts right.

  136. LK says...

    Thank you for the focus on climate. It’s so easy to feel as if anything we do makes no difference. Just this evening my husband and I watched “The Game Changers” on Netflix (a documentary about athletes, veganism, climate change, health, etc.) and was reminded- once again- that dairy and eggs are problematic too. *Sigh* as a 30-year vegetarian, I have a serious relationship with the milk in my morning coffee and the cheese on my pizza! I love this idea of “reducitarian”…fantastic. I’ll join you and challenge myself to find some new habits to reduce dairy products in my diet. Thanks for the motivation, Cup of Joe!

  137. Hilary says...

    Thank you so much for posting this. Please continue the conversation in future posts.

  138. Claire says...

    I’ve been reading CoJ for about ten years but this is my first time commenting. Huge yes for this climate change coverage! More please :)

  139. Darby says...

    Great post! I have two children (12 & 16) and a very active husband who all eat A LOT but who also are very health conscious. Although I don’t see us going full vegetarian anytime soon, I feel lucky that my husband and children are willing to try just about anything and so we do eat vegetarian a few times a week. I would love to learn more about vegetarian protein sources that are easy to prepare for quick lunches and dinners. It used to be cheaper when we didn’t eat meat but more and more I am finding fruits and vegetables and grains to be almost as expensive as meat, at least in my part of the world (the Canadian prairie). Our growing season is short so much of our produce comes from far away, especially in the winter months.

  140. kmichelle says...

    Once again, COJ knocking it out of the park. I have quietly been choosing vegetarian options for myself but not really taking it to the next level of cutting out meat even when it’s inconvenient and encouraging a similar reduction by the rest of my family. It’s time. It’s past time. Thank you for raising awareness of this valuable tool that we all have in our arsenal to fight the greatest threat facing us and our children.

  141. HAleigh says...

    THANK YOU for speaking up about this! It is so important to spread the word and normalize vegetarianism.

  142. Kimberly says...

    Aaah! I love this! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by all the waste I send to the landfill, all the ways I should be doing better for the planet but am not…thanks for something totally doable that makes a big difference!

    I have a question about sustainability practices that is probably dumb. For a while I’ve been having a conundrum about plastic grocery bags. I’ve been hearing a lot about using re-usable cloth bags instead of grocery bags. But I haven’t made the switch because I used grocery bags as trash bags (instead of buying garbage bags). For those of you who have given up grocery bags, do you still buy garbage bags? I guess I could not use any liners in my trash, but that kinda grosses me out because of all the carrot peels, dirty diapers, etc. that get thrown in there in a given day.

  143. Ceridwen says...

    A great post. It really is heartbreaking in Australia right now and many of us feel helpless and angry (at the lack of action and leadership of our government – their stubborn denial about climate change). The extreme conditions and fires we face, choking smoke and the loss has been a huge wake up call for me even though I considered myself on top of climate issues and trying to do my bit. But I still don’t think I appreciated the urgency until now. To be honest. I know I need to do better, to give up more, consume less, pay attention and make some noise. My daughter also became vegetarian a couple of years ago for environmental reasons. She is nearly 11 and stuck with it. We’ve all reduced our intake as a result and I’m vegetarian for Jan but I think I’ll stick with it, at least no red meat. Or meals have become way more interesting and delicious! I hadn’t really thought about dairy though…makes sense to reduce dairy. Love the goal setting idea!

    • Ruth says...

      Seconding Cookie and Kate for flavorful vegetarian recipes! I love her blog.

  144. JK says...

    Yes! Thank you for this! We are in.

  145. Cheri says...

    Love this! My family, including my 3 year old son, eat a mostly plant based diet with occasional dairy and eggs. I’ve been mostly plant based for 6 years now and am so excited this movement is gaining speed! Would love if you could share some recipes!

  146. coco says...

    My mother’s 70 and has been a vegetarian or nearly 40 years, but sadly, she didn’t raise us this way. I’ve only been a full vegetarian for 6 years. I did it incrementally- giving up beef first in high school (in 2000), then pork/ham/bacon after undergrad, and 6 years ago, the last- chicken/turkey. I had been fearful of going full veg b/c I don’t consume cheese (or milk for that matter), but it hasn’t been hard. I am fueled by eco anxiety and concern for animals. It’s partly why I’ve only taken transit or walked to work for the past 10+ years (and in LA, of all places, for much of this time). The one thing I need to work on is flights. I like to travel internationally once a year.

  147. Edie says...

    YES! YES! YES! I’m so thrilled to see this. I know this is a huge shift for lots of folks to make but so so so important for the future of our planet (and better for your health while you are at it!). Thank you, COJ from the bottom of my kale smoothie. Favorite cooks/chefs with books/blogs/online recipes: Chef Chloe, Oh She Glows, Isa Chandra, and Vegan Richa. I sincerely hope that every carni- or omnivore swapping in just one veg meal can feel the hug I am sending to them!