Meatless Monday, Dairyless Tuesday

I’m not much of a meat eater. I’m more of a nibbling rabbit. When I stumbled upon the Meatless Monday campaign, I joined right away. Meatless Monday is a non-profit campaign aimed at reducing meat consumption in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

Health of our planet? Yes, what we eat has an impact on our planet. But I’ve often wondered how much?

Recently I found a study (pdf file) from Carnegie-Mellon University that answered some of my questions. The study compared greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production and distribution in the United States. 


Red meat has the greatest impact on our environment, followed by my dear friend dairy.

Red meat and dairy production have far more climate impact than delivery. The study found that eliminating red meat and dairy products for one day each week could have the same climate impact as buying local food all year.

Now that I know the impact of dairy on the planet, I’ve decided to reduce my dairy consumption.

It’s easy enough to substitute in soy or hemp milk. Soy yogurt? Earth Balance natural buttery spread? I’ve been reading the Living Without Meat blog (sans ads on my Kindle) and collecting vegan recipes. I don’t think I’ll be vegan anytime soon (don’t worry Mom). I’ve always been more of a flexitarian; I occasionally eat meat. Still, I’m compelled to reduce my dairy consumption. Vegantarian?

For me, frugality is about treading lightly on our earth; consuming less meat and dairy.

Have you reduced your meat or dairy consumption? Use a Comment to add your wisdom.

Kim O’Donnel’s Mighty Appetite blog has meatless recipes that sound tasty.


4 thoughts on “Meatless Monday, Dairyless Tuesday

  1. I have joined Meatless Mondays, which is very easy for us. We only eat meat 2-3 times per week, and no red meat. In fact yesterday (tuesday) I realized I’d forgotten about it the day before and then remembered what we’d eaten- all veggie.

    Dairy is another matter! I LOVE my yogurt! And we do eat a lot of milk and cheese as well. Thanks for chart.

  2. May I toss this in for “food” for thought?

    If we stop eating meat on Monday & Dairy on Tuesday, obviously we must find something to eat. Wouldn’t whatever it is that we consume still require transportation resulting in a zero gain, at least in the delivery emissions category?

    Also, if we began to reduce our consumption of cow products what will happen to our cattle? Do we stop breeding as many as a result of lower demand? How will that affect the livestock markets? If demand lessens significantly farmers may have to close up shop and lose their livelihood of farming.

    If we all turn to eating grains will it strain our food supply as we compete with feeding our livestock and fueling our automobiles? Will the cost of these grain/corn food products skyrocket as demand for our crops increases?

    Not that I don’t agree that we should eat less food that is bad for our health, just curious of what the consequences of our action could lead to further down the road.

  3. Steven:

    Thanks for your comments… they got me thinking. :)

    The production of red meat produces significantly more greenhouse gases than the transportation of any other food. The delivery segment on the chart is tiny compared to the gases created from production. This is why eating less meat has a greater impact than eating local food.

    A dramatic overnight change would affect the farmer, but a gradual shift would give them time to shift production to another food type.

    I don’t see people dropping meat and dairy overnight, but it’s good to know the impact of different food types.

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