Introduction: How to Reduce Your Carbon and Save Money: Become a Vegetarian.

About: I am a domestic engineer, aka. a stay at home Mom. A former science geek, scenic carpenter, and quilter.

I would love to drive an electric car. I would love to install solar panels on my roof. But like many people I just can't afford to. A simple easy way to be good to the environment is to stop eating meat. (Or at least cut down on your meat consumption)

A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations produced startling findings: The animals' burps, the nitrous oxide gases from their decomposing manure and other factors, including the energy needed to store and transport meat, were responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions - more than the entire transportation sector.

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce your meat intake.

Step 1: You Don't Have to Eat Tofu.

To start eating less meat, think about the things you like to eat that don't have meat in them, or things where the meat is not important.
Think Italian: spaghetti with red sauce, lasagna, pizza. Try vegetarian chilli instead of regular chilli. Burritos with just beans, and veggies.
Incorperating meatless meals that you already enjoy is a good start.
If you're worried about not getting enough protein with your pasta, try the protein pasta from Barilla, if comes in the yellow box. It's made with chick pea flour, and it's really good.

If you're brave you can venture onto simple substitutions. Soy milk tastes just like regular milk when you bake with it. Veggie burgers are really yummy. They don't taste like meat, they just taste good. There are all sorts of frozen meat substitutes. Some are really good, some are gross, but it's a matter of taste. Try putting soy crumbles instead of ground meat in your pasta sauce or tacos. Overcooking the soy products makes them BAD. Just warm them up.

It took me years before I started eating tofu on a regular basis. A good way to start eating it is ordering tofu meals from a chinese restaurant, they're pros at making tofu tasty. There are quite a few instructables on making your own baked tofu, which is really delicious. It has a firm texture and a lot of flavor.

Step 2: Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit.

Beans are really good for you and really cheap. They are our main staple in the winter, when there are not many fresh fruits and veggies to eat. Just follow the directions on the bag. Usually you soak them in water overnight. Cook them with a lot of garlic, and yum yum, enjoy.

Quinoa is another great source of protein. It is a grain, you cook it like rice. It is a perfect protein, meaning it contains the correct balance of amino acids, which's really good for you.

Start trying different combinations of grains, beans and veggies. They are really tasty and satisfying.

A note on farting:
Switching to eating a lot of bean and veggies can, well.. make you fart.
Make sure you drink lots of water, chew your food thoroughly, and in a few days your body will be used to it. Beano helps too.

Step 3: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Growing your own veggies is a lot of fun. You always have fresh produce on hand. If you can't grow stuff yourself, consider joining a CSA. (community supported agriculture) They are all over the place and a good source of vegetables. You go to your pickup site, and get a box of veggies to take home. You usually don't get to pick what kind of vegetables you get. This is a good way to force yourself to eat all kinds of fresh veggies that you might never think to buy, or aren't even available at the grocery store. Plus you have to eat them before you get more the next week.

Step 4: Don't Have a Cow, Man.

Every bite of meat you don't eat is a step in the right direction.
If everybody has one meatless day a week, that would make a big difference.
Go ahead and drive your Hummer, just order a salad.

There are LOTS of instructables for all sorts of meatless meals. Check them out.

I've been a vegetarain for 8 years, and I hope to encourage more people to eat less meat.

Thanks for reading!!!