There’s lots of talk these days about eating less meat and dairy to reduce your carbon footprint. While I agree in principle, I think the focus is off. How many times have you had success making a life change when you focus on what you have to sacrifice?
I think it’s much better and easier to focus on adding in more “low carbon” foods to your diet. When you do so, the amount of meat and dairy you eat naturally goes down.
For example. instead of trying to force your family to eat lentil loaf once a week, try cutting all the meat portions in half, and serve them family style along with a whole bevy of side dishes. Start off dinner with a vegetarian soup. Have baked beans, squash, broccoli and potatoes with the chicken. Bake some whole grain muffins or biscuits. You’ll have much better luck getting the kids to try curried lentils & yams, if you just add it to the table as an additional side dish instead of telling them they have to eat this instead of their favorite meal. If you take this approach you’ll find that your family is eating much less meat in no time, and the response won’t be “how come I can’t have my ____” but rather “Wow! This is a feast!”
I started with this approach over 10 years ago, and now my diet is 90% vegan. I’ve never felt like I can’t eat something… I just have more options on the table (literally).
People often ask me if I’m a vegetarian, and I’m never quite sure what to respond. I eat meat on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and 2-3 other special meals per year. I use some milk, cheese and the occasional chicken broth in cooking, and I eat eggs or fish a few times per month.
It’s so much easier to make small changes that you can stick with and feel good about than to try to go “cold turkey” (no pun intended) and end up giving up.