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Too Much Meat? 10 Steps for a Greener Diet

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Food production can be a dirty business – but it doesn’t have to be. The ranchers, farms and processing plants that create much of our food supply also generate pollution and waste that dirties the air and seeps into our groundwater. However, organically grown meats and vegetables are held to stricter standards for leaving smaller environmental footprints. People can make positive differences simply by switching to greener diets. How do you do that?

10. Changing the Meaning of Food

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Food isn’t just fuel for our bodies. It’s part of our memories and our families, such as how your grandmother made the perfect roast beef. There’s more going on than just eating when the family goes out for burgers and ice cream after a softball game. Switching to a greener, healthier diet often means breaking away from these foods that have been spiritually meaningful in your life. Prepare yourself for changing your diet by knowing it will be harder than just going cold “tofurkey.”

9. Resolve

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People who vow to change their eating habits often stumble. There will be that day when work has been awful, the traffic is stop-and-go and you can’t imagine cooking, so you go to the diner two blocks from home. Failure is inevitable. What matters is what you do for the next meal. What steps will you take to make the world healthier, even after you stumble?

8. Eat Less Meat

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The easiest step toward a greener diet is to eat less meat. The portion size recommended for meat is about the size of a computer mouse. That’s only two or three buffalo wings. Keep an eye on how much meat you eat with each meal, and you’ll already be on the road to a greener diet.

7. Eat Better Meat

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If you buy beef or dairy, the green options are pasture-fed and grass-fed. Beef and dairy from cows raised in pastures has been shown to contain less total fat. If your beef was raised at an organic farm, then you can also rest assured knowing your dollars didn’t contribute to toxic manure runoff and other harmful agricultural practices. When buying meat, find a store or restaurant that receives its product from certified organic farms.

6. Consider Organic Meat

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Free-range, pasture-fed chicken is much better for the environment. In general, when looking for sustainable meat of any kind (pork, lamb or chicken), you want animals that were raised with room to move and no additives to their natural diets. Most restaurants that use this kind of meat boast about it, so they’re easy to find. When your dollars make their way to these sustainable, eco-friendly farms, then your dollars are spent on improving the environment.

Steve is a fitness guru who is passionate about helping people lead healthier lives. Find Steve on LinkedIn!

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