Monday, 18 May 2009

The Greening of my Diet

In the campaign to reduce my carbon footprint it has been all too easy to pick and chose my targets to suit my lifestyle. As a non car owner and someone who hasn't flown (except for two family emergency short hauls) in almost three years, I am justifiably proud of my relatively low level of emissions. I reduce, reuse and recycle my waste. I buy local and organic. I've even started growing my own veg. However I have thus far, turned a blind eye on the composition of my diet.

Some time ago I was reminded of the significant contribution livestock farming makes to global warming, accounting for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. These are produced by clearing forested land, making and transporting fertilizers, running farm vehicles and the digestive system of animals.. Transport, on the other hand, 'only' accounts for 13%. The average household would reduce their emissions by more if they halved their consumption of meat than if they halved their car usage.

While I respect the convictions of my vegetarian, and vegan, friends I am not persuaded of the need to give up eating meat altogether. However I am, rather regretfully, coming round to the environmental benefits of eating less of it. I've tried going vegetarian on several occasions with limited success, the chief obstacles being bacon sandwiches and my children. So it will not be easy.

Happily this week is National Vegetarian Week which may kick start me in the right direction.

With toast and marmalade for breakfast and a feta cheese and salad baguette for lunch I've done alright so far. This evening I have been invited to a barbecue (of the indoor variety unless the rain clears) which will prove more of a challenge. I'm taking a Spanish tortilla , but I fear I'll be tempted by the sausages (especially any with sticky burnt skins!). However for the sake of the planet I will resist. Wish me luck.


  1. We've cut down on our meat consumption too. I don't find it too much of a sacrifice as long as I have some decent, responsibly produced meat once or twice a week. This week it will be more often as I am making a chicken stretch to three meals (for two of us). I do need to get my recipe books out more often though as my repertoire of veggie meals that I just throw together is getting a bit limited.

  2. Same here. Let me know if you come across any good ones. I'm always on the lookout for ones which aren't too obviously vegetarian in the hope that the girls won't notice the lack of meat.

  3. For a few years now I have eaten meat about twice a week. I do enjoy a roast and sometimes that is the only meat dish I bother with. For me it all began because my teeth were ultra sensitive and I didn't like chewing. They are OK now but I prefer the veggie option and now there is the added bonus that it is greener. Pasta meals with spicy sauces and chilli beans recipes are more my taste these days along with locally caught fish. A