This is the time for new resolutions and new habits. So, how about a more climate-friendly diet? My friends know I study climate. So they ask me, “What is the one thing I can do to cut my carbon footprint?” I try not to scream in response that there is not just one thing! Among the most important to consider,” I tell them, “is changing your diet.”
As a meat-eater, this is a topic I have avoided for years. Many times, I have stood guiltily in front of the meat counter thinking about how much I hate tofu and how my body just doesn’t seem to like legumes, and hearing myself ask, “don’t those steaks look good?” But I have come to understand that I do not need to give up meat to have a more climate-friendly diet. However, I do need to become a more intelligent eater.
First, I was surprised to find that most Americans eat far too much protein. According to JohnHopkinsmedicine.org, the average women needs less than 50 grams of protein a day, the average man less than 60. But the average American eats over 100 grams of protein a day. That is why the Mediterranean diet, which meets global dietary guidelines, is so healthy. It has plenty of protein, but in diverse forms and smaller quantities.
Consider: A hamburger is about 4 grams an ounce and a three-ounce patty is 12 grams.