Credit: Rootology via Wikimedia Commons
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It’s time for a new challenge, and we’ve got a great one this time. Going vegetarian, even for a short time, is one of the more challenging ways to go green. It means making the right decision at least 3 times a day, and people will give you all sorts of excuses to stop.
But the benefits to the environment are important enough that it’s worth giving it a try. You’ll have seen the facts about livestock farming in the magazine: the livestock industry produces 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases, which is more than the entire transport industry; and water usage is up to 16 times higher per kilogram for meat compared to grains and vegetables.
The other benefits are to you directly: meat is more expensive than other sources of protein, and many Australians eat more meat than is good for their health. So you’ll be saving money and doing the right thing for your body at the same time.
Luckily it's the kind of change where easing your way in works really well. So the challenge G Magazine is putting forward is for you to be a weekday vegetarian for a month. This means you’ll be able to discover new recipes and learn more about nutrition, but still have a little break from it so you’re not thinking about your food all the time.
The idea is to avoid all meat from Monday to Friday, and make sustainable choices on the weekends. That means free-range, local and preferably not red meat, since beef and lamb have higher eco-footprints than other types of meat.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at new recipes for you to try: pasta, pizza, BBQ and lots more. I’ve done vegetarian challenges before and now I consider myself to have a low-meat diet (flexitarian, if you like labels), so I’ll be sharing my favourite tips for skipping meat. The best part is that things I consider comfort food, like Vegemite on toast and Tim Tams, are absolutely vegetarian and an essential part of my diet!
If you're a full-time vegetarian, we'd love to hear your suggestions for how to get started, and your favourite meat-free recipes. You've got valuable experience, feel free to share it with us in the comments!