There’s been a big push lately for “Meatless Mondays” – the idea being, if people eat vegetarian one day a week, we can curb obesity, fight diabetes and cancer, and prevent heart disease – as well as reducing our water usage, reliance on fossil fuel, and reduce our carbon footprint. Here in the Little Apartment, we don’t eat a lot of meat. It’s expensive, for one – we mostly get our protein from quinoa, lentils, and beans. Meat has traditionally been more of a once-a-week thing vs 6-times a week. However, now that the Boyfriend has moved in, there is definitely a lot more animal protein in the house. So we Big City Pioneers are trying to pay attention to what kinds of protein we eat.

The Environmental Working Group recently released a “Meat-Eaters Guide to Climate Change and Health,” outlining what people who aren’t willing (or able) to go completely meat-free can do to help prevent climate change. And hey – there’s a lot. The fact presented by EWG are pretty interesting – they rank 20 common foods on their environmental impact. The best? Lentils – no real surprise there. Lentils are loaded with protein and fiber, and require little in the way of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Buy organic, and you even eliminate that. The worst foods, like lamb and beef, can be made much “better” (as far as the environment goes) by buying grass-fed, locally raised meat. This Big City Pioneer was pretty horrified to discover that cheese ranks worse than pork in the carbon footprint ranking. How to solve that problem? Again, locally raised, organically made cheese cuts the environmental impact by a whole lot.

Here’s some more interesting data presented by the Environmental Working Group:

If everyone in the US went meat- AND cheese-less one day a week, – so, Meatless Mondays and Cheese-less Wednesdays? – it would be “like taking 7.6 million cars off the road.”

“Uneaten meat products account for more than 20% of meat’s greenhouse gas emissions” – so don’t buy more than you will eat!

Check out EWG’s Guide Here. Are you surprised by any of their findings?

Read more about Meatless Mondays Here. Can you commit to not eating meat AND cheese one (or more) days a week?