Remember that week back in college when you were broke and lived off ramen noodles? Little did you know you were making a political statement; Meat Free Week is now a thing, and you can join in March 23rd to the 29th.
Politics of the plate often extend to food consumption and what type of food we’re ingesting. For most Americans, reducing meat intake helps both our bodies and the planet.
How much meat do Americans consume?
The numbers are pretty staggering:
- The average American male eats 6.9 ounces of meat per day
- The average American female eats 4.4 ounces
- 6.2 million Americans have jobs related to meat production, totaling $200 billion in wages
The last number on wages gives you some indication of how brave the USDA was last month when they changed the dietary guidelines recommending less meat. Meat production is a huge multi-billion dollar industry with some heavy hitters who were less than pleased to read the new recommendations. The North American Meat Institute estimates U.S. meat companies processed:
- 8.6 billion chickens
- 32.1 million cattle
- 250 million turkeys
- 2.2 million sheep and lambs
- 113.2 million hogs
Next week a group called Ethical Eats will be sponsoring Meat Free Week in Australia and Britain. There is no formal U.S. contingent but you can still join with your Facebook account and participate in the challenge.
No Meat for a Week
Can you survive Meat Free Week? Sure, and this time it’ll be more sophisticated than boiling ramen in a hot pot. The vegan/vegetarian lifestyle is more popular than ever, and there are millions of recipes a few Google clicks away.
Even if the whole week seems too daunting here are some other suggestions to dial it back a bit.
- Eat meat for one only meal a day
- Join in on Meatless Monday and call it a victory
- Eat meat as usual, but reduce your normal portion size by 50%
We mean it when we say we’re “from vegan to omnivore, living well and loving the planet.” We want people to live their best lives, in a way that is respectful to sustainability. If you choose a vegetarian or even hard-core raw vegan lifestyle, more power to you. But we hope everyone realizes a little less meat on our plates is a good thing. Lower meat consumption improves health, decreases food costs, and helps the planet. It’s a win/win/win.
So let us know if you plan on joining in next week, either officially through the group or just on your own. Declare your intentions below and report back on your progress.