Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life but you’re too scared to fully commit to something new so you don’t even end up going for it? There might be a few reasons for this, but one of them can be having an all-or-nothing approach. So many of us are afraid of failure that we stop ourselves from trying something new in the first place. What if taking a step towards making an impact didn’t have to be all-or-nothing, instead, small and conscious decisions could help you make an impact every single day? Practicing reducetarianism is a great place to start!
What is reducetarianism? Simply put, reducetarianism is about reduction. It is not a commitment to a lifestyle and labels such as “vegan” or “vegetarian,” it is somewhere in between. Reducetarianism is the act of reducing animal products for the sake of the earth, animals, and overall health. This movement’s approach is to, “reduce rather than be perfect.” 7 years ago Brian Kateman, who is now the executive director, started the Reducetarian Foundation. It’s a non for profit organization with a mission to reduce meat consumption and in turn, create a more sustainable, compassionate, and healthier earth.
In a world where many diets and labels exist, a lot of people end up becoming too intimidated to making a transition. So many of my family, friends, and co-workers are petrified at the thought of having to give up their favourite animal product for good. “I love bacon too much,” or “I could give up all meat, but I just wouldn’t know what to cook,” are just a couple reasons as to why people won’t bother taking small steps towards reducing their consumption of animal products. The Reducetarianism Foundation’s vision is a world where societal consumption of meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs is drastically reduced. This is the great thing about reducetarianism, you can make mindful choices to reduce, but not fully eliminate, which can still make a big impact in the long-run.
Trends such as “Meatless Mondays,” or “Vegan before 6,” are just some of the ways reducetairianism could be practiced, but the beauty of this concept is that it can really look different for everyone. If you are making a commitment to limit your consumption of animal products, it all starts with small steps and consistent actions. With any goal or commitment, it’s important to remember your “why.” Prioritizing your why and reason for making a change in your life will help make it easier for you along the way.
If you’re looking to make this change and shift to a reducetarian lifestyle here are a few ways you can start:
Try incorporating more plant-based alternatives: We now live in a time where we have so many meat, egg, and dairy alternatives. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have created imitation “beef” and other animal products that could easily fool any carnivore. It’s not just these two companies that are dominating the meat alternative industry, there are many others that have great tasting and easy to make options for those looking to make a full transition or become more flexible with their diet.
Set small goals: As we’ve spoke about before, it’s important to eliminate an all or nothing mindset when choosing to reduce your animal product consumption. Instead, a great way you can get started is by setting small and realistic goals for yourself that you can commit to and feel good about. We highly recommend taking time to write out some of your reducetarianism goals, whether they be short-term or long-term. Once you’re clear on what fits into your lifestyle you can go full speed ahead and see how you feel making this new change in your life.
Plan ahead: Planning is so important, it ultimately sets you up for success. If you don’t currently plan your meals ahead of time, this is something that will become essential when you decide to limit your meat consumption. Choosing certain days of the week, such as Mondays and Wednesdays to eat more plant-based meals will help you know exactly what you need to buy and what to prepare. Think of it as a fun and exciting challenge, and who knows you might end up falling in love with eating vegetables all over again.
Learn how to make amazing plant-based dishes: This tip sort of goes hand in hand with the one above, planning ahead. There are so many amazing plant-based blogs and recipes online that make it super simple to incorporate more plant-based recipes into your lifestyle. Some of our favorite recommendations include: Minimalist Baker, Oh She Glows, and Pick Up Limes! Check them out for all the delicious plant-based things.
“The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable; but the power of many working together is better.” – Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
When I think of how we can change the world, I think about how it starts on an individual level, becaue we really do have more power than we think. If all of us took more small actions everyday towards the things that matter to us, it would create a ripple effect and we would begin to see results. A study from the Energy, Environment and Resources Programme says that if the entire U.S. population limited or stopped consuming animal products, 267,537 square miles—could be repurposed for the restoration of ecosystems and more climate-friendly farming. Currently as it stands the U.S. has one of the highest rates of meat consumption globally, but with more information coming out about the impact less consumption has on our earth, more and more people are becoming open to the idea of change. You may think you’re “just one person” so it won’t matter what you do, but it really does matter. If we all come together we can start to see the fruits of our labour and create a more sustainable planet, together.