Why You Can Continue to Feel Good about Enjoying Dairy, Meat

Green living means living in a way that’s good for your community and the planet, and good for you, too.

Further, many opt to make certain diet choices to help decrease their environmental footprint bit by bit.

This may involve shopping at a local farmers market, composting or joining a community garden.

Some may decide to minimize or eliminate a particular food group from their diet. For example, some people who are lactose intolerant tend to remove dairy from their diets, which can result in unintentional consequences to their health. Similarly, eliminating some foods, like cheese and meat, can result in cutting back on the essential nutrients your body needs. For example, many cheeses are excellent sources of calcium and good sources of protein, both of which are important to help build and maintain healthy bones.

The good news is that you can enjoy your favorite foods while knowing that from the farmer to your family we can all make better, greener choices every step of the way.

Starting on the farm, U.S. dairy farmers are constantly finding new ways to reduce their footprint. In the United States, dairy farms and companies contribute to roughly 2 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions – and they work each day to lower that percentage even more. By making cow feed easier to digest (which results in fewer cow burps), installing energy-efficient lighting and equipment, and improving other farm processes, farmers are steadily doing more with less to be good stewards of the earth.

This isn’t a recent priority. Over the past 60 years, the dairy industry has reduced the carbon footprint of its products by more than 60 percent. More recently, the industry has launched a number of projects that aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 12 percent – including animal care and nutrition, renewable resources, and energy efficiency efforts.

Plus, you can feel good about supporting dairy cows because they’re excellent at recycling. How? Cows have the special ability to digest – and get the nutrients out of – items that we can’t or don’t eat. That includes orange pulp, leftover from making orange juice, as well as cottonseed.

Our nation’s dairy farmers are committed to making the world a better place for future generations, and that’s something you can feel good about.

Interested in continuing to do your part? Finding ways to cut back on food waste can help significantly. Learn to serve the right amounts and find creative, delicious ways to use up what you may already have on hand. Every time you turn off a light, recycle a plastic bottle, or bike to work, you are reducing your footprint. Together our small steps can lead to significant changes.