What is reductarianism?

3 July 2017 by
First published: 14 July 2017

Reductarianism, the trend for cutting down meat consumption is the latest buzzword in health circles and it’s catching on quickly. There are so many good reasons to scale back your intake, from boosting your health to helping the environment, laying off animal protein is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those concerned about making a difference. New stats from a YouGov study reveal that 56 per cent of us believe that meat isn’t a necessary component of breakfast, lunch or dinner and we’re happy to forgo animal protein for plant-based substitutes. But if you’re not ready for a full-on lifestyle change by going completely meat free, lowering your consumption to just a few times a week can still be hugely beneficial.

So, what exactly is in it for you? Well, for starters going meat-free helps to slash calories from meals whilst helping to lower your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes type two and some forms of cancer. Then there’s the planet to consider. Food production is responsible for about 70 per cent of all human water consumption, and is the leading cause of global deforestation. Research by Oxford Martin School found that switching to a mainly vegetarian diet could massively cut food related greenhouse emissions and adopting a completely veggie only diet would bring down emissions by 63 per cent. So what’s the best way to get started? We’ve put together our five essential rules to help you make the switch.

1. Give yourself a goal

To ease yourself into reductarianism, shift your mindset. Begin by using meat as a side dish rather than as the star of a meal, and up your intake of plant foods in its place. After a week or two, drop animal protein completely from meals a few times a week and see how you go from there.

2. Fill up on fresh produce

A well stocked fridge makes it much easier to wean yourself off meat so make sure you have your veggie drawer filled with fresh produce. In particular iron-rich dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are important to ensure that you don’t miss out on valuable nutrients such as iron, whilst healthy starchy carb sources like sweet potato will keep you feeling full.

3. Don’t skimp on protein

Protein-rich diets have been linked to weight loss and improved recovery from exercise so make sure you don’t miss out on this valuable macronutrient when you make the transition. Good sources include lentils, beans, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, yoghurt – so if you’re taking meat out of a meal, make sure to swap in one of these healthy sources.

4. Play around with textures

If you can’t resist the lure of a juicy steak, but really want to give reductarianism a go, factoring foods into your diet that replicate the taste of meat might help you make the switch. Foods like seitan and mushrooms have a slightly similar meaty taste and can be easily incorporated into meals like stir fries and veggie burgers.

5. Get inventive

If you’re going meat-free, make sure to make meals as exciting as possible. Scroll through Pinterest or Instagram for veggie inspiration and use sites like supercook.com which allows you to invent recipes based on the specific ingredients you already have in your fridge.


cutting down on meat consumption: yougov.co.uk

oxford martin study: oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk

water consumption stat: imeche.org