Eating Less Meat and Abandoning the Packaging
Changing my behavior has been a rather enlightening experience. So far I have become much more aware of exactly what I’m eating. At first I thought it would be difficult to change how much meat I consume, but that actually seems to be the easy part. I’m starting to discover that I am a huge fan of vegetarian and vegan options and have been eager to try new things in restaurants and the dining hall. I first decided to eat meat every other day, but now it’s almost becoming simpler for me to quit eating meat all together. Instead of craving steak or chicken, I easily pass on it in favor of something else. My favorite part of the dining halls is that they have vegetarian options with lots of protein, so I haven’t felt sick or unwell since beginning this new diet, either.
Strangely enough, the hardest part of the behavior change for me is using less packaging. I’m really bad at washing my dishes (it’s an excuse, but it’s impossible to wash dishes in a tiny kitchenette where the sink is always full!), so I left them at home this semester in favor of using paper plates, which have been causing a lot of waste for me. I also like to buy things like veggie chips and pretzels in serving-sized value packs which cause me to throw out a lot of plastic packaging. It’s easier for me to hold myself accountable for eating proper portions of food when I buy single-sized packets, but I think that an easy fix for this is to buy regular-sized bags of my snacks and portion them out into zip-lock bags that I can reuse later, rather than throw away.
So far these behavior changes have made me altogether more aware of my own actions. While doing research, I found a webpage that discussed the impact of meat consumption and confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on the environment. It stated that “every year, CAFOs in the U.S. produce three times as much waste as our country’s entire human population”! Learning facts like these make me feel much less inclined to eat meat and more encouraged to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle.
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