I Changed My Diet to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint, Here's Why

At the end of last year, I read an article on ways to immediately start the process of cooling down our planet. In its depths, food was said to be one of the most impactful things on our carbon footprint. Mainly, the rise of the meat packing industry has caused a large spike in carbon emissions.

This astounded me; I had never correlated the consumption of meat to global warming. As an environmentally conscious person, I knew I had to do something. This is why I decided to challenge myself for my New Year’s Resolution: I would not eat meat for a minimum of two days a week.

To make sure I stuck to my goal, I schedule three days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays) to refrain from eating meat. I struggled the first few vegetarian days but then realized that I ate a lot more meals that are vegetarian-friendly than I had anticipated: zucchini chips, spaghetti squash, and grilled cheese just to name a few.

The worst part was something that was completely unexpected. On the days I went back to eating meat, I felt repulsed by the taste of certain meats, like beef and pork. It made me confused about whether or not I even should eat meat. Was it really benefiting me in any way?

I’ve continued to think about this question and about giving up eating meat for the last two months that I’ve done this. Though I’m still not sure if I should permanently change my diet, I have noticed positive results from alternating between eating meat and not eating meat.

Overall, I’ve felt more energized. I don’t go to class feeling sluggish and tired, but rather, I’m wide-eyed and engaged in conversation and note-taking. My productivity in both dorm-room chores and school work has increased as well. No longer am I waiting until the last minute to complete an assignment or procrastinating on cleaning my room. Now, I take initiative and get a lot more done throughout the day than I have in years past. The best part is that it’s helped me with exercising. I feel lighter and faster on days that I don’t eat meat rather than heavy-footed and lagging when I do.

Today, I wouldn’t call myself a vegetarian, but I definitely appreciate vegetarianism and practicing it part-time. For now, I’m going to stick to my goal of eating less meat for not only my own health but for the health of the planet as well. By keeping up this practice, and creating more sustainable practices as well, I hope that I’ll be able to decrease my carbon footprint one simple step at a time.

To read more, look at this article from The Independent.