Eating less meat is a great way to not only improve your health, but also curb the destruction of forests.
For most diets, the USDA recommends up to five or six ounces of meat a day, which is about a third of a pound—yet the typical American eats about twice that amount. While meat can be a key part of a healthy (and delicious) diet, it is best consumed in moderation. Eating less meat and more fruits, vegetables and grains, is known to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock produce more than one third of many gases, such as methane and ammonia, that contribute to global warming and hazards like acid rain. Nearly one third of the earth’s land is used for livestock, and over 70% of Amazon forests have been destroyed for grazing land.
It can be difficult to change your diet. Cutting back on meat, however, does not mean going completely vegetarian. Consider starting by going meat-free at lunch, or dedicating one night a week to a meatless dinner. Know your vegetable sources of protein—in many instances, whole grains and beans have more protein per calorie than meats. Try some salad and noodle dishes complemented with meats, or even give meat substitutes like tofu a shot. Your body, and the environment, will thank you.