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Going Green At Home: Eating More Vegetarian

Calf munching a leaf, courtesy of Wikimedia.
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Meatpacking plants across the country have become coronavirus hotspots, infecting workers and forcing some closures. This has made its way to the refrigerated section where some stores are limiting meat purchases to prevent shortages.

Livelihoods and health are at risk in many places, including Utah.

We wish a swift recovery to all of those who are ill, and a return to work as soon as it’s safe.

As a consumer, this state of affairs may have made you curious about how to cook healthy, satisfying meatless meals. The good news is that cooking more vegetarian meals– whether occasionally or frequently– is usually healthier for your family, as well as easier on the planet.

What we eat matters and it turns out that animal products have the largest carbon footprint.

Meatless Mondays

Did you know that cutting meat – and other foods – one day per week started as a national resource conservation strategy during wartime? Indeed, how and what we consume plays a central role during many national and international crises – from growing more food at home in Victory Gardens, to sharing our food resources at local food pantries.

Cabbage photo

In recent years, Meatless Mondays have become a popular approach to environmentally conscious eating. Limiting meat consumption reduces your carbon footprint and helps save water. Indeed, approximately 1,700 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef, while only 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables. Similarly, by cutting back on meat, you cut back on greenhouse gasses produced in the farming, slaughter, and transportation process.

Putting it all into perspective, if all Americans opted for meatless and cheese-less Mondays, it would be the equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

Poster with statistics on Meatless Mondays from humanesociety.org/meatlessmonday.

Dining with Discretion: More Important than Ever!

Remember, going meatless is one step towards reducing your household’s carbon footprint. Other ideas include:

  • Buying food locally. You can stay up to date with changes to this year’s Downtown Farmers Market here. Or, consider buying a share of produce through a CSA.
  • Meal plan carefully to avoid waste – this will help you save money and energy too!
  • Eat organic food when possible. Eating organic food helps protect farm workers; bees and other pollinators; and yourself from harmful pesticides.

Find more ideas on SLCgreen’s Dining with Discretion page.

Our Favorite Recipes

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan chef or a beginner, cooking without meat can be a fun culinary challenge. One of our favorite sources for cooking inspiration is vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, creator of the Post Punk Kitchen.

Meatless Mondays offers a wide variety of recipes and inspiration for vegetarian and vegan cooking, too.

You can even learn an easy vegetarian tabbouleh with Mayor Mendenhall and Laziz Kitchen in support of the Tip Your Server program that’s providing funds for food service workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19:

Food Access Resources

Making careful decisions about what your household eats can be a challenge, especially as we continue to face the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. If you are in need of food resources, or if you are looking for more ways to support local farmers and restaurants, visit our COVID-19 Food Resources page for more information.

Even though there may be new limitations on your cooking, remember that reducing your meat consumption is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and help your household be more sustainable.

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