Updated: Jan 16, 2019
Our personal food choices not only have an impact on our bodies but also our environment. The decision about whether to eat meat is a big one and is can have significant impacts on the environment. Many areas are impacted by factory-farmed beef consumption.
Cattle require huge amounts of water every day. Giving up one pound of beef a year could save more water is you stopped showering for 6 months! Corn fed-cattle also impact the environment because each bushel of corn they eat has been treated with about 1.2 gallons of oil based fertilizers. Each cow consumes about 25 pounds of corn per day, which translates into a lot of fossil fuel energy. Cattle also need land for grazing. About 70% of the lands in western national forests are used for grazing and although the US is the world's largest producer of beef, worldwide demand for beef has caused massive deforestation in other parts of the world. Between 2000 and 2006 Brazil lost about 150.000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) of forest and area larger than Greece - and since 1970 about 600,000 square kilometers of of Amazon rain forest have been destroyed. The leading cause of deforestation in the Brazilian amazon is cattle ranching.
But you don't have to eat a strict vegan diet to eat environmentally friendly. Get to know where your meat comes from by making friends with your local farmers and ranchers or look online to find better sources than what's available at your local story. Look for meat that is grass-fed, certified organic and local, whenever possible. Think about reducing the amount of meat in your diet and therefore lessening your overall environmental footprint.
In What the Heck Should I Eat by Mark Hyman, it says, " Red meat contains various types of fat - not only saturated fat, but also omega-6 from feedlot cows and omega-3 from grass-fed cows. Most of the meat consumed in America and other developed countries sadly, come from factory farms, where animals are subjected to cruel, unsanitary and often unimaginable conditions which contribute to climate change, pollute the environment and in some cases, abuse the workers. We should do all we can to avoid propping up this industry. But the does not negate the fact that the right meat - can - and should be an essential part of the average American's diet. There are valid personal, spiritual, ethical and environmental reasons for not eating meat. These, however, are not good scientific or health reasons to avoid good-quality, organic, grass-fed, sustainably raised meat in the context of an overall healthy diet."
Here are a few options to purchase grass fed and/or local meat:
Our Harvest: Where farmers market meets online grocery. You get fresher, more nutritious food at better prices, all awhile supporting those in need in your community. At Our Harvest they take a whole animal and can trace every step in that animal’s lifecycle. It is broken down and dry aged to their specs. Their ground beef is 100% from the same animal (opposed to the ground beef you will find in conventional grocery stores, which is often comprised of many different animals, with zero traceability). Enter coupon code WENDYSWELLNESS for 25% off your first order & free delivery. https://ourharvest.com/
Long Island's Own: They offer a full line of gourmet foods tailored to your family’s lifestyle, budget and palate. Their premium, gourmet foods are the highest quality at affordable prices. And best of all, they deliver your grocery orders directly to your home. https://www.longislandsown.com/
Butcher Box: Their cattle are free to range on grassy pastures throughout their entire lives, suckling from their mothers for the first 6 to 9 months, then eating their natural diet of grass. They graze year-round, with access to shelter when needed. The health benefits of eating grass-fed, grass-finished meat are abundant. 100% grass-fed & grass-finished.Pasture-raised and free to roam. Packed with key nutrients like Omega-3s, vitamins and minerals. https://www.butcherbox.com/
Some information taken from "Integrative Nutrition" by Joshua Rosenthal.