Less Meat

One of my recent quests in life is to reduce the amount of meat that I consume. There isn't a single reason why, but rather it feels like a manifestation of slow culmination of thoughts and beliefs.

Whether it be literal less i.e. physically driving less or buying less junk or less in the sense of slow, the idea of less has always had an appeal to me. Better living with less. This thinking is counter to a lot of those I grew up around and was a constant source of conflict.

Why now? Why meat? I can't give can exact reason for why now, other than, why not now? Why meat? The answer to that is more complex.

Each burger we consume comes with a at least of costs baked in: the direct cost of a life of the animal and environmental (cutting down forest to make room for cows, shipping animals across an ocean to get processed in a foreign country, just to be shipped back to their origin for sale).

The first is true no matter what. I'm mostly fine with that cost. It's the circle of life. I'm glad it's not me that has to do it. If it were, I'd probably be vegan. The second, the environmental costs, can be controlled, or at least managed by our consumption choices. Do we go for the cheap back of mince from the super center or do we go for the grass-fedย  at Whole Foods?


The Power of Defaults


When I was in my teens I was massively overweight. I was well over 100kg and only 172cm. While 172cm hasn't changed, but I'm currently in the low 70's (still too high, but I digress). What made this possible wasn't exercise, but learning about the power of defaults. ย 

If you can change your default, you can make substantial changes with significantly less effort. So if your goal is to lose weight, it's less work to reduce consumption rather than burn off excess calories consumed. By changing my default from burger, fries, and a coke to burger and a diet coke or just burger or maybe the chicken sandwich could shave off 600+ calories, which is at least an hours worth of running. And since it's just a default, if I really wanted fries or a coke that day, I could, but I had to make the decision.

Likewise, I've changed my defaults for meat. As beef as it has a higher CO2 footprint per kilogram than pork or chicken, I mostly stopped buying beef and replace it with pork or chicken. Default changed to not beef. The other default I've been working on default: no meat.


Changing Defaults


My default breakfast has changed from toast with eggs, and maybe some sausage or bacon to toast with peanut butter and a banana. I can still eat an egg if I want, but I usually don't.

Lunch is harder to default for me, but I've been defaulting to less or no meat dishes. I'll have some pasta (either a butter-soy-garlic Japanese style pasta, or a Naprotian (sans bacon as is traditional)), taco rice (with beans instead of meat or just little meat), or onigiri with a Japanese style omelette (tamago-yaki).

Dinner still typically has some kind of meat or fish component, but it's no longer the main. It's used more like a spice. To replace the gap we've been increasing the variety of vegetables that we buy and eat in it's place.

I don't have a particular goal of becoming vegetarian or vegan (though many creatives I respect are e.g. Moby, Casey Neistat etc..), but I may end up there.

For now it's just a journey of exploring life with less meat. A life with less harm. A life with more veg. A life with different defaults.
Interactions
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  • I would love to be able to eat 1) taco rice, 2) pasta and 3) ramen again! Enjoy your taco rice!

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  • Could you do it brown rice? Still too much?

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  • Brown rice works as long as I donโ€™t eat it every day.

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  • James is trying to eat less meat: Each burger we consume comes with a at least of costs baked in: the direct cost of a life of the animal and environmental (cutting down forest to make room for cows, shipping animals across an ocean to get processed in a foreign country, just to be shipped back to their origin for sale). If you can change your default, you can make substantial changes with significantly less effort. Likewise, Iโ€™ve changed my defaults for meat. As beef as it has a higher CO2 footprint per kilogram than pork or chicken, I mostly stopped buying beef and replace it with pork or chicken. Default changed to not beef. The other default Iโ€™ve been working on default: no meat. I myself barely eat meat either, my default is โ€œno meatโ€ as well. And to be honest, I donโ€™t miss anything, Iโ€™ve never eaten much meat. Vegetarians or vegans often have to deal with arguments that without meat they would lack vitamin B12, for example. If only those who make such arguments knew that many additives are also added tโ€ฆ

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