Pledge 2

I will cook plant-based for 2 meals a week

Why should I make the change?

Intensive livestock production is a major contributor of greenhouse gases, currently releasing around 15% of global emissions according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The main greenhouse gas produced by livestock is methane which is burped out by the animals (contrary to popular belief it does not come out their back end!) With global meat and dairy production set to double by 2050 as more nations move to a more meat based diet, we need to take action to buck the trend. Some sustainability experts suggest we need to be eating 50% less meat than current levels and to double our fruit and vegetable consumption to avoid climate catastrophe.

And it’s not just the climate that is being impacted, agricultural intensification and expansion, and overfishing, are major factors in the loss of species and biodiversity. Expansion of cattle ranches drives the clearance of species rich forest in many parts of the world, leading to the loss of biodiversity and removing trees vital for tackling the climate emergency.

I will cook plant-based for 2 meals a week.

We are not suggesting that you become a fully-fledged vegan over night, but swapping out meat for just a couple of meals a week, will reduce climate impact. It will give you the chance to try new things in the kitchen, experience new recipes and flavours. Non-meat dishes are just as easy to make, just as tasty and full of nutrition.

Here are some tips to get you started and ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need:

  • Reimagine your favourite meals: You can keep the flavour your love, but swap out the meat. Some simple substitutions are lentils or Quorn for mince; tofu for chicken; jackfruit for pork or chicken or falafels for meatballs and beans for most meats.
  • Substitute the substitutes: While meat substitutes have never been so varied and tasty, if they are not for you, you don’t need to use them. Simply bulking out with vegetables, beans or pulses is a good way to replace meat. And you can always pop a bit of cheese on top!
  • Eat the rainbow: Many of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals provided by fruits and vegetables come with their own distinctive colour. So making sure your plate is full of colourful foods is an easy way to make sure you get the complete range of goodness your body need to thrive.
  • No need to go the whole hog: Changing any habit is hard. Find a way of reducing your meat intake that works for you – don’t be too prescriptive and find a balance. Go meal by meal, being mindful of the ambition but not feeling that they are depriving yourself of choice. You will be more likely to stick with the change if you are still enjoying your food. For more tips on making a habit stick click here
  • Egg each other on: Change is easier (and much more fun) when you’ve got someone going through it with you. Find a buddy or get the whole family involved and make a commitment together. Cooking one another meals and exchanging tips and ideas should keep you engaged and inspired. And remember you are really not alone, you are part of a growing trend. According to Eating Better Alliance, people are reducing meat consumption. They say 65% of people are willing to consider eating less meat in the future.
  • Make the meat go further: Not strictly, a plant based tip, but reducing the amount of meat on your plate is also a good way to make a difference. Have one sausage and one bacon rasher, instead of two of each, in your full breakfast – add another egg and extra beans if you’re hungry. Build meals around vegetables and add a little meat in, rather than the other way round. For example, reduce the amount of meat in stews and curries, and bulk up with extra vegetables. If you love bacon, fry one rasher until crisp, chop into pieces and add to a salad, omelette or pasta dish

Extra wins!

Consuming too much meat is not good for us, so swapping out some of it will be good for our health, reducing the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and cancers. In 2010, a study carried out by Oxford University’s department of public health found that across the UK eating meat no more than three times a week could prevent 31,000 deaths from heart disease, 9,000 deaths from cancer and 5,000 deaths from stroke, as well as save the NHS £1.2 billion in costs each year.

Replacing meat with alternatives is a cheaper way to cook. Plant based proteins typically used to replace meat, like beans and lentils are much cheaper than meat. According to Office for National Statistics figures for 2018, the average UK family spends £15.70 a week on meat and fish, which would buy you a whole lot of vegetables! Eating meat less often means you have a greater meat budget when you do decide to indulge. When buying meat you can then buy better quality, better cuts, organic and tastier options. Remember to support your local Fife suppliers too; who will provide excellent quality and whose produce will have travelled a shorter distance.

Useful Links

The BBC has produces a couple of interesting articles about the carbon footprint of food and ingredients here and here.

Hubbub’s campaign Meat Your Match looks at the link between meat and masculinity. It challenges the notion that going plant based means a lack of protein in your diet.

Plant based recipes:

The internet is packed with plant-based recipes. Here are a few of our favourite:

I’ve taken the pledge, what next?

More Food Based Climate Action

Check out Hubbub’s Food Savvy guide for tips on reducing your food waste and reducing food packaging.

Support local businesses and reduce food miles by shopping at your local markets, businesses or producers. Or even grow your own.

Tell people that you have taken a Big Five pledge

Share your pledge online using our #BigFiveForFife social media library where you will find readymade tiles for sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

Please use the hashtags #BigFiveForFife and #ClimateActionFife on your posts.

Net Zero Nation

Take a look at the Scottish Government’s Net Zero Nation campaign for more ideas on how to take climate action.

Thank you for being a Climate Champion!


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