Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rise of people pledging to cut the amount of meat they eat for health and environmental reasons - but not give it up completely

Gone are the days when we were simply meat-eaters or vegetarians.
Over the past few years, soaring numbers of people have opted to become vegans, pescetarians and fruitarians.
Now, there is the rise of the reducetarian - someone who cuts back on meat, but doesn't give it up entirely.
Advocates say the move not only boosts health, but benefits the environment - and is easier to achieve than the more radical options.

 Brian Kateman, the founder of the Reducetarian blog, who coined the phrase, is now urging people to take the 30 day 'less meat' pledge.

He is asking people to commit to eating less, higher quality meat and reducing their dairy and seafood consumption over a month, and hopefully continue this lifestyle afterwards.
He hopes to bring together a community of other groups, known as semi-vegetarians and flexitarians, who also eat mainly a plant-based diet but also eat environmentally-sustainable levels of meat, dairy and seafood.

Eating less meat is easy, healthy and good for the environment, he says.

Previous studies have shown vegans and vegetarians live for longer than meat-eaters, and in November, a landmark U.S. study claimed switching to a plant-based diet could help reverse diabetes. 
Mr Kateman argues there are also strong environmental reasons for giving up animal produce.

'We know our planet is in trouble, and we know that meat production from the clearing of lands and trees to the transportation of these products, accounts for nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,' he said in a TedxTalk that aired in November. 
'That is why a vegetarian's footprint is nearly half that of a meat lover's. And for a vegan, it's even lower.'

Meat production also requires a lot of water; producing one pound of meat protein requires 10 times the amount of water as producing grain protein, he said.
Becoming a reducetarian and pledging to eat less, but better quality meat, is the perfect solution, he said.

'By choosing to eat meat sometimes, as opposed to never eating meat, you alter your moral standards for primal urges and convenience,' Mr Kateman said.
'These perceptions matter. These seemingly innocuous labels used to describe our eating choices matter a great deal. 

'They determine how seriously we are taken, how our messages are understood, and our feeling of belonging.'
Becoming a reducetarian is appealing because it means people don't have to completely give up meat, and can still eat dairy products like eggs, cheese and milk.
Mr Kateman believes his theory will be successful as people are much likely to take up a reducetarian diet, whereas for many, becoming vegetarian or vegan is too drastic and unfeasible.
In fact, research from the Humane Research Council published in December found 84 per cent of vegetarians and vegans eventually gave up the lifestyle choice. 

More than half (53 per cent) started eating meat again within a year, and almost a third (30 per cent) relapsing within just three months.
Mr Kateman said reducing meat consumption, rather than completely giving it up, would see more people sticking to their pledge long-term.

He added: 'We need a word that describes a community of individuals who are committed to reducing their consumption of meat.. this is so they can encourage others to reduce their consumption of cows, chickens, pigs, lambs, and seafood.'

'Reducetarianism is the practice of reducing one's personal consumption of meat: red meat, seafood, and poultry. 
'With more consumption of fruit and veggies, reducetarians will live longer, healthier, happier lives.'