BYÂ ARIELLE HARTMAN
Much has been written lately about the benefits of eating vegetarian, both for your health and for the environment, but there is still a vast population of the world that just can't seem to put down the burger.Â And that's ok!Â With the growing popularity of Meatless Mondays and great alternatives and additions for summer grilling, it's easy for meat eaters to incorporate more veggies and eco-friendly products into their meals and lifestyles.Â Now, navigating the food world and cooking smart and healthy meals just became easier with the recent release of the Environmental Working Group's new guide, Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change and Health.Â The in-depth, yet easy-to-use, guide rates different proteins based on their greenhouse gas emissions by taking into account everything from animal feed production to the energy used in packaging and transporting the food.
Not surprisingly, many animal-based proteins, such as beef, pork, poultry and fish fall to the bottom of the guide, producing the most greenhouse gas emissions, with lamb at helm, producing more gas per 4 oz. consumed than a car driven for 7 miles.Â Plant-based proteins, such as soy, tomatoes and lentils, give off the least amount of gas and provide great additions, or substitutions, for a delicious and more conscious meal.Â Trade a meat-centric meal for this great tasting and totally satisfying lentil salad, and reap the health benefits of this superfood while still eating eco-consciously!
The guide also provides helpful and manageable tips for eating out, food shopping, and meal planning with great real-life results to put everything in the guide in perspective.Â According to the guide, if just one person skips one burger a week for a year, the energy saved is equal to taking your car off the road for 320 miles.Â Furthermore, if everyone in America didn't eat meat or cheese one day a week for a year, the gas emissions conserved would equal to 7.6 million cars taken off the road.Â According to this revolutionary guide, any individual can do their part, on any level, to conserve greenhouse gas emissions and better our planet.