Five unexpected benefits of regularly having meat-free days

Five unexpected benefits of regularly having meat-free days

There’s no better time than now to cut your meat consumption. A new UN report has warned we have a responsibility to “look after the land” in an effort to combat climate change, as global warming is putting food supplies at risk.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said eating less meat (and even then, only sustainably-produced animal products with low greenhouse gas emissions) and adopting plant-based diets, featuring grains, beans, lentils, nuts, fruits and vegetables, is one of the key ways we can, as individuals, help curb climate emissions.

Experts behind the report also said red meat in particular had a much higher carbon impact, due to production emissions and the clearing of land to grow animal feed. In fact, the report outlines how human use of land accounts for 44% of methane emissions (largely due to livestock and rice paddy expansion), while 82% of nitrous oxide emissions come from crop fertilisers and livestock.

But aside from the environmental benefits, there are other bonuses to taking steak off the menu…

1. You’ll save money

View this post on Instagram

Freshly harvested! These are the first of our carrots, the last of the summer's broad beans - I think we’re going to make them into a yoghurty, minty dip to see if we can coax the boys into eating them that way - and yet more perpetual spinach (which just keeps on coming!)⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #farmhousetableco #farmhousekitchen #farmhousestyle #farmhouseliving #farmhousechic #countrykitchen #countrychic #countryliving #kitchensofinstagram #contemporarykitchen #luxurykitchen #interiordesigninspo #luxuryinteriors #interiorstyling #instahomedecor #instahome #harvest #vegpatch #freshveg #vegetablepatch #sustainableliving #thegoodlife #ethicalfood #countrylife #nature #wild #natureandnourish #simplelife #seekthesimplicity #aseasonalyear

A post shared by Farmhouse Table Company (@farmhousetableco) on

Buying quality, premium cuts isn’t cheap. In fact, a recent report by Thinkmoney found the average Brit spends £645 on meat-based products per year.

Whipping up even just one dish a week that’s made from vegetables, beans and wholegrains, will likely save you money in the long run. And there are plenty of veggie recipes as delicious and filling as meat, that won’t leave you feeling unsatisfied.

2. It’s not cruel to animals

If you don’t agree with eating meat for ethical and animal welfare reasons, but are struggling to overhaul your lifestyle, starting with one meat-free day a week is an achievable way to cut down your consumption slowly.

Whether you decide to go veggie or you simply reduce your meat intake, every little bit helps. 

3. It’s a chance to try new foods

If you’re totally new to meat-free days, it’s a chance to take on a challenge and get creative in the kitchen.

Whether you attempt a jackfruit burger, some cauliflower wings or a tofu-filled buddha bowl, eliminating meat can introduce you to lots of new ingredients, techniques, cuisines and dishes.

4. You may reduce your risk of heart failure

Heart and circulatory diseases account for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. A US study found that eating a mostly plant-based diet – which involved limiting but not totally cutting out meat – could reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 42%, compared with people who ate fewer plant-based foods.

5. It could help you live longer

Want to live a long life? It might be a good idea to limit the bacon and burgers.

A recent Harvard study found that eating red meat three times a week can increase the risk of early death by 10%. The study’s research team found that swapping red meat for healthier plant-based alternatives was associated with a lower risk of death overall.

If that wasn’t convincing enough, the World Health Organisation also recently added processed meats – such as hot dogs, ham and bacon – to its list of carcinogens, reporting that 50g a day can increase the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.

- Press Association

More in this Section

This Much I Know: Actor Aislin McGuckinThis Much I Know: Actor Aislin McGuckin

Wedding on the Week: Supporting a cause close to their heartsWedding on the Week: Supporting a cause close to their hearts

Stand up and be counted : The Young Offender's Demi Isaac Oviawe on college and school lifeStand up and be counted : The Young Offender's Demi Isaac Oviawe on college and school life

You've been served: General manager at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa Caitriona O’KeeffeYou've been served: General manager at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa Caitriona O’Keeffe


Latest Showbiz

The decision is part of a drive by the corporation to boost the UK’s fortunes at the event.BBC scraps public vote used to select UK’s Eurovision entry

The Black Sabbath star had surgery on his spine.Ozzy Osbourne reveals he thought he would die after fall in his home

The actress went on to star in Groundhog Day and Green Card.Andie MacDowell recalls early career cocaine experience

The Celebrity Juice and former Bo’ Selecta! star is going back to crafting for a new series.Keith Lemon to go back to artistic roots for ‘fantastical’ new crafting show

More From The Irish Examiner