If your first thought is “What the hell is reducetarian?” then you are not the only one. There are a lot of naughty and not-so-great things in the world we could, would, should be cutting back on. This particular call for reduction is about meat.
If you’ve been a loyal follower, you likely know that most of the recipes we share and love here on Poosh are totally plant-based. So what’s all this about reducing our meat intake? Well, we understand that some people just truly love meat. They depend on it to meet their protein goals, they don’t like the taste or texture of imitation meats, and their bodies fully agree with meat.
We aren’t ones to tell someone not to listen to their body. Some people don’t handle legumes well. We hear you if processed faux meat gives you the ick. Maybe long-term full-veg doesn’t make you feel as vital. Listen to that. We evolved to eat meat, after all, and if it is near and dear to you and impossible to give up completely for the sake of the planet, reduce!
Overconsumption is the problem
Eating a reducetarian diet doesn’t mean depriving ourselves. The issue is that we overconsume meat, especially in America. Ever hear of the oh-so-appropriate acronym, SAD? That’s the Standard American Diet, friends. And it is sad indeed. We’ve been programmed to think the only sources of protein are animal-derived, and we tend to think we need to be eating meat or fish at every single meal, which is wildly untrue. In fact, we don’t even need it once a day. We’re actually doing both our planet and bodies a major disservice by eating too much meat.
What does a reducetarian diet look like?
You may already be a reducetarian and not even know it! Essentially, it means cutting back, way back, on your consumption of meat and animal products, which can be easily organized by looking at your grocery list for the week. If you buy one or two animal products, such as chicken breast and fish, and the rest high-protein grains, veggies, and legumes, you’re on the right track.
Think a smoothie or oatmeal for breakfast, a salad or veggie sandwich for lunch, and chicken soup for dinner. The other evenings, swap things up and get protein in other ways, like a chickpea curry, a quinoa casserole, or a tofu stir-fry. Without cutting out meat completely, your body gets all the nutrients it needs without feeling depleted or deprived. As a bonus, you get to eat more plants and a more dynamic diet.
If you’re going to hyper-reduce, or totally cut out one kind of meat, make it red meat and pork. This means avoiding it completely or enjoying it only on occasion, like once a month. The reasoning is that the production of beef and pork produces way more CO2 emissions than chicken and fish, not to mention it’s a little harder to digest. Win-win.