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Get the Facts Do Your Part
This is a core SixLinks guide
1100 Using Energy points
This is a core SixLinks guide
300 Basic Needs points
by Jeff Gunther Guide: Eat less (and better) meat

Jeff's action: Eat less (and better) meat

The amount and type of meat that you consume is a huge part of your energy (and water) usage. This is likely one of the biggest impacts you can have on your personal energy and water usage. Putting aside the potential health issues with regards to high red meat diets, it is important from a sustainability perspective to eat less meat and eat meat that is lower in impact. Eating lots of high energy meat is a waste of energy in the same way leaving the refrigerator door open all day would be. We simply don't have enough resources for everyone to be eating lots of high energy meat.
Step 1: Get the facts read more
Read our Eat Less Meat section and use the tool there (coming soon!) to figure out the impact of your meat consumption. Did you know that producing 1 pound of corn-fed beef requires 10 times the amount of energy it takes to produce 1 pounds of chicken? Or that 1 beef meal a week with 20 vegetarian meals can almost double your energy consumption compared to 21 vegetarian meals?
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 12:44 a.m.
Step 2: Figure out how much meat you eat read more
Keep track for a couple weeks of the amount of meat you eat. How many times do you eat chicken vs. pork vs. beef vs. turkey? Do you eat corn-fed or grass-fed beef (if you're not sure, you likely eat corn-fed). Keep a little log and see how much of each meat you eat a week.
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 12:44 a.m.
Step 3: Cut out your highest impact meats read more
If you eat beef, try to replace most, if not all, beef with chicken. Once you have eliminated most or all beef, then try to cut out pork, then turkey. The goal is to be eating as much chicken and sustainably harvested fish as possible (fish is not an issue due to energy usage, but because of fishing methods).
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 12:44 a.m.
Step 4: Try a lighter diet for a couple weeks read more
Commit to replacing some high impact meat with lower impact meats or vegetarian meals. Go back to the Eat Less Meat section and use the tool there (coming soon!) to see the impact of your new diet. Try it out for a couple weeks
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 12:44 a.m.
Step 5: Keep it up read more
This is a bit of an ongoing process. Some people will be more religious with it than others, but the key thing is to remove as much beef or pork from your diet as possible. If you can't live without the very occasional steak, that's fine, but get a chicken sandwich instead of a hamburger on a day to day basis. And when you do eat beef, make it grass-fed (it has half the impact of corn-fed beef). We'd love for everyone to be vegetarian, but if that's not something you will do, at least replace as much beef with chicken as possible.
June 5, 2009
This is a really tough thing for me. I love my meat and there are a number of beef and pork products I absolutely love. Also, my favorite lunch meats are salami and turkey, both of which I'm trying to get away from. I've been really good recently (living with two vegetarians has helped). I'm not quite there yet, but I've started craving a couple veggie burgers as opposed to cheeseburgers, so I'm getting there.
July 6, 2009
I'm willing to call myself done with this. I know it's an on going thing, but it has become very much a part of my life, especially now that I live with vegetarians. I am now very aware of the impact of all of the animal products that I eat and I do my best to minimize them, mostly by not eating meat most days, and eating pretty much only chicken when I do.
Completed on July 6, 2009 at 10:32 p.m.
Step 6: Tell at least one friend read more
Explain the numbers to others. 1 pound of beef containing the same amount of energy as 10 pounds of chicken is pretty compelling. Maybe you will get them to rethink that cheeseburger and go with chicken instead from time to time.
July 6, 2009
I've been making this an ongoing thing. For example, when Xander was out here visiting, we talked about it a bunch and even looked into the meat at different places we were eating (like the beef fed with spent distillers grains from one of the breweries, which is likely to have a significantly lower N20 and CO2 impact).

I think I've gotten a few people to consider giving up beef for chicken at least from time to time.
Completed on July 6, 2009 at 10:36 p.m.
All Done!
Tomo Says:Great Job!
Updates and Comments: What is this?
The updates and comments below show how Jeff is doing in completing his action. You can leave him comments, suggestions and encouragement using the box below.
Tomo Says:Know who's hungry? Me. Supporting SixLinks gets me extra treats!
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