How to Eat Less Meat in 2020

“I’m Melissa Clark. I’m a committed carnivore, and I think we should all be eating less meat.” That’s how the New York Times’ recent cooking video starts out. Why would a “committed carnivore” make such a claim? Clark explains that in the Times’ climate change report states that 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases come from the meat and dairy industry. “That’s roughly the same as all the transportation, including cars, trucks, trains, airplanes—same amount for meat and dairy.” Just by giving up a little bit of meat, you can help reduce those emissions.

So how do you do that? Clark recommends transitioning to an 80/20 rule where 80 percent of your diet is plant based. Her first recommendation is to learn how to cook dry beans. Dry beans are more flavorful, says Clark, though she’s not opposed to canned beans. Clark’s second recommendation is to start using tofu. Not only are there rich ways to cook tofu to help it taste better, and you can also use it as an addition to your meat dishes, such as cooking it with bacon.

Meat isn’t the only way to go to get your protein. There are also plenty of plant-based proteins that are used as meat substitutes. Along the same lines, high protein grains are excellent sources as well. Nuts provide texture, flavor, and protein to dishes—they’re not just snacks. Eggs are an excellent choice as well. Clark also recommends truly savoring every bite of protein. Remember, quality over quantity.
And what shouldn’t you do? Don’t worry about protein, says Clark. “If you’re getting enough calories in your diet, you’re probably getting enough protein. Protein is everywhere; it will find you. Just eat a balanced diet. Don’t eat crap.” Clark also recommends not replacing meat with dairy. Cheese is good, but don’t use it to replace your meat. You can also use meat for flavoring rather than as the main portion of the dish.

Clark goes on to explain a Mushroom Bourguignon, demonstrating that you can still enjoy your meals even without meat. So there you have it—ways that you can eat less meat in 2020, and still stay a carnivore.

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