Heard of the phrase all things in moderation including moderation itself? That’s the CHKN Not Chicken motto, especially when it comes to our diet. We’re not here to tell you to cut out meat all together, that’s not our style and that way of thinking can actually be counterproductive. A huge number of people think that when it comes to cutting out meat, the only way is to go cold turkey (excuse the pun). The good news for the carnivorous crew is that that’s simply not true.
What we hear time and time again is a BIG reason people don’t stick to a meat-free menu is that it’s simply unrealistic for them. Just like cutting back on anything, starting too strong makes you far more likely to revert back to old ways because it’s too hard, too much of a change, and just too much too soon. Which is why we’re advocating for meat-consciousness, rather than entirely meat-free (#flexitarian
). But why?
According to a UN report,
the livestock sector emerges as one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems. Furthermore, medical journal The Lancet has found
that North Americans eat more than six times the recommended amount of red meat. Maybe it’s time we put more FLEX into our flexitarianism…
What if we told you that when it comes to reducing your meat consumption, you don’t need to go hard or go home to benefit the planet? Nope, cutting out meat just 2 days a week can have major benefits, and knowing what those benefits are can keep you on track when that bacon beckons…
What Feeds The Animals In Your Diet?
We can’t talk about eating animals, without talking about what those animals are eating themselves. Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals, and all that grain needs somewhere to grow. In fact, the UN noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing ten times as many crops as we'd need if we just embraced the power of plants more in our daily diets.
The truth is, animal-based food is far more resource intensive than plant-based, and there’s no two ways about it. To put that in perspective, if we were to cut out animal products just twice a week, the 3 billion pounds of crops that would otherwise have been fed to livestock would be enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year.
Now, you’ve heard of a carbon footprint, but what about a water one? We all know that we’ve got to keep our H2O intake up, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that meat production requires a LOT of water too. Did you know that a single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,800 gallons of water to produce? 98% goes to watering the grass that the cattle consume over their lifetime. This huge number once again highlights the issue - we are consuming SO much more food and water than if we were to just eat the crops we grow directly. Cutting out meat for just 2 days a week saves 200 billion gallons of water, which is enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months. We’ll let that sink in for you.
Waste Not Want Not
While the type of food we’re eating is an issue, it’s also the food we’re NOT eating. By now it should be obvious to most that we as a country are indulging in too many animal products, but we’re actually producing a lot that never even make it on to anyone’s plate. As it turns out, we’re the land of plenty in many areas, including food wastage. Meat production is one of the most environmentally damaging industries on the planet, which means that wasted meat and dairy have a greater environmental impact per pound than wasted grains or fruits and vegetables. It’s not just the end product that’s thrown away that causes damage, but all the feed, water, land, pesticides and fossil fuels that went into raising the livestock, which are then just tossed out!
Let’s break it down. Animal products accounting for 13% of global food waste doesn’t sound TOO bad, until you consider that they’re responsible for a massive 1/3 of all greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the huge amount of resources it takes just to get a meat product into a shopping cart, according to a University of Minnesota study
, Americans throw out more than 660 calories from beef, chicken and pork per person every single day. We can do better, guys!
Cattle + Carbon
When you think of carbon footprint, you probably think of your own right? If you thought that last (slightly unnecessary) Uber was a bad move environmentally, wait ‘til you hear what the United Nations had to say about the meat industry’s greenhouse gas emissions... In a report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow
, they concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's transportation systems - that's all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. Yep, you read that right. 40%
That sounds like an insane figure, until you think about transportation, refrigeration and distribution of animal products required to cater to the entire country. When all THAT’S taken into consideration, it makes a lot more sense when you hear that you need to burn ten times as many fossil fuels to produce one calorie of meat than production of the same amount of plant protein. Not just that, but beef requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more GHG emissions per gram of edible protein than common plant proteins, such as beans or peas.
One of our favorite statistics
comes from the Environmental Defense Fund - if every American substituted just one meal of chicken with a veggie option per week, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. One to think about next time you’re doubting the power of the plant.
There’s nothing worse than being smacked in the face by grim stats, so let’s hit you with some good news and end on a high note. CHKN Not Chicken
is launching a whole range of new, 100% plant-based, completely delicious AND gluten free products that are set to make your meat-free days the best of the week.
If you thought plants were boring, you’ve been eating the wrong ones.