<a href="http://www.gmagazine.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Are you still eating vegetarian meals?

Lots of vegetables

Credit: iStockphoto

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We did the vegetarian challenge back in November. The idea was to have at least one meat-free day a week - I found that easy in summer, with plenty of salads and fresh fruit around. It's getting a little more difficult now that the weather has turned cold. I want to have lots of casseroles and roasts when it's chilly outside!

But I'm still keeping it up, going for meat-free lunches and breakfasts most days, and at least one meat-free dinner each week. It's helped that I've learned how to cook a decent curry! The spices and curry keep me feeling warm and cosy, and a curry with rice is a filling, substantial meal even without meat.

If you're in need of some inspiration to go meat-free more often, check out Paul McCartney's Meat-Free Mondays website. They've got videos and recipes to get you enthused, plus the facts about how factory farming not only is bad for the animals - it's bad for the environment.

  • The livestock industry is responsible for about 13% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, and it's an easy one to reduce if we all do our bit.
  • Most people eat more meat than is good for them: we only need 200g of protein a day, but the average Aussie eats 400g a day
  • 67% of the world's animals which are raised for food are held in industrial farms, not the nice green pastures we'd like to imagine

Of course, if you've been keeping up the challenge just fine and are ready to move on to the next level, you might want to follow the recommendation of Graham Hill, the founder of Treehugger.com. He's a weekday vegetarian - five times the world-saving impact of Meat-free Mondays, and still lets you do the right thing without having to go cold turkey.

I don't know about you, but I think I've done better with a gradual reduction in how much meat I eat than if I'd gone straight to having no meat at all. I'm not good with sudden changes in my lifestyle, and tend to give up if it gets too hard. But this way I've been keeping it up and improving for over 6 months now. At this rate I'll end up vegetarian anyway, just in a way that's been fun and not a big shock to the system!