Halve the amount of meat you eat

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Halve the amount of meat you eat

In the UK we eat around twice the global average of meat (UN FAO) and this comes with a massive environmental impact – animal farming is responsible for 14.5% of global emissions.

Raising animals for food uses much more land, water and resources than growing plants – but why? We have to feed animals many more plants, for much longer, to produce the same number of calories compared to eating the plants ourselves. Cows in particular release a huge amount of methane, a greenhouse gas 25x worse than carbon dioxide, through the way they digest food. Animal farming is also one of the greatest causes of deforestation and biodiversity loss because of how much space is needed to raise animals and grow crops for animal feed.

The good news is there are plenty of ways for us to get more plants on our plates. The even better news is that you get at least three delicious chances to do your bit every single day. Here are some tips, ideas and recipes to get you started.

These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment.Check out what we do and how your actions add up.

It's a common myth that if you eat less meat, you won't be able to get enough protein, but there's plenty of other foods you can find it in

Here's the science

Protein contains 9-10 essential amino acids that our bodies can't make alone (10 for children). It's essential for muscle growth and repair and is said to help us to feel full for longer. Some foods contain all 10, whereas some require you to mix and match to meet your quota. Luckily we don’t need every essential amino acid at each meal, we simply need a certain amount daily.

How much is enough?

Three quarters of men in the UK eat more protein than they need. A good rule of thumb is 1g of protein per kg of body weight, at a maximum of 70g. People doing a whole lot of exercise, with an illness or who are pregnant should get personalised advice.

Where to get it?

From protein-fortified Mars Bars to milkshakes, flapjacks and corn flakes, these days it seems like anything with protein written on it will sell. Here are a few solo ingredients with an abundance of protein: Soybeans, lentils, chia, almonds, buckwheat, quinoa, dairy and meat will all give you a solo essential amino acid hit.

We all work a little differently. You might want to agree certain days like Meatless Mondays, not cooking meat on weekdays, only ordering it when you’re eating out, or you might find it easier to choose meal by meal, with the ambition in mind but without removing the choice. Start where you  are and  enjoy and value what you do eat.

In the UK many of our staple dishes are built around meat. Need quick swaps? Substitute mince for lentils or quorn; chicken for tofu; meatballs for falafel - oh and if you're into protein shakes, give pea-based protein a whirl. Less meat is also an opportunity to lots of other things instead. Our bodies benefit from variety and mixing up what we’re eating can bring a pleasant surprise of new flavours and ingredients. For example, some cuisines such as South Asian food naturally rely less on meat, so you might try completely new dishes!

Natural plant based proteins are found in nuts, seeds, pulses, legumes, potatoes, oats, seaweed, soya and vegetables, the majority of which can be sourced from the UK and are more than sufficient to meet nutritional needs. 

There’s a lot of fancy, funky and intriguingly realistic meat and dairy substitutes on the market at the moment, but if you want to save money, put your pound towards pulses, nuts and grains and whip up something yourself. We believe in you. You’ll save on the number of additives too.

The milk industry plays a huge part in contributing to climate change within animal farming, as again the cows need so much space, food, water, etc. Cows in particular create a huge amount of methane (a greenhouse gas 25x worse than carbon dioxide) through the way they digest food. Up for trying some plant milks? Oat, cashew, rice, hemp, soy, almond, hazelnut, coconut.... there’s plenty to choose from, so you’re sure to like at least one. They’re not going to taste the same, of course – but they’re delicious, widely available in lots of flavours, and many are reinforced with calcium and B12 too.

You could also try making your own plant milk, it’s super cheap, easy, and you’ll cut out a whole load of transport and packaging. Here’s our easy peasy oat milk recipe.

Creating wider change

As set out in the National Food Strategy diets need to change in order to meet the Government’s existing targets on health, climate and nature. By 2032, fruit and vegetable consumption will have to increase by 30% meat consumption should reduce by 30%. To support this:

  • We’re calling on food retailers to set meat and dairy reduction and plant based food increase targets, in volume of sales.
  • We’re calling on producers to harness opportunities for more plant-base food production.
  • We’re calling on Government to deliver on a national food strategy that joins up trade, food, farming and health policies to deliver on population health and environmental outcomes.

What happened when Hubbub tried it?

We used football as a hook for our ‘Manchester is Green’ campaign to encourage football fans to make some tactical substitutions in their diet to save them money and help the environment.

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