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Review: ‘The Reducetarian Solution’ gives readers a diet with less meat

Author Brian Kateman has a new diet that aims to improve people’s health and cut resource consumption. “The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet” is his first book since co-founding the non-profit Reducetarian Foundation in 2014.

Brian Kateman coined the term reducetarian as a way to describe those reducing meat in their diet. (Courtesy of Brian Kateman)

This collection of 70 original essays by Kateman and other contributors is an enlightening and insightful read. The short sections are easy for busy students to grasp onto in chunks, and it also provides recipes to enhance your cooking repertoire. 

The book takes a look at the somewhat flexible world of reducetarianism. This concept involves being aware of your meat intake. When it comes to eating meat, or rather not eating meat, vegans and vegetarians have no grey area. For vegetarians this means not eating any part of an animal; for vegans this expands to no animal products. Unlike those strict dietary choices, reducetarianism has a blurry middle zone.

Read the Emerald’s story about vegetarianism here.

The term, coined by Kateman, refers to the act of reducing your meat intake by 10 percent or more, thus it makes you overtly aware of your diet on a daily basis. Rather than the usual all-or-none approach, this method is tailored to each person and presents a more inclusive dietary term.

Many of the essays focus on the personal health benefits of adopting this meat-reducing lifestyle, while others discuss the positive effects we could see on the planet by slightly shifting our diets.

In the book’s press release interview with Kateman, he said “reducetarians know that eating less meat is good not only for themselves but also for the well-being of animals and the planet.” This concept is echoed throughout the book’s many essays and demonstrates the belief that reducing the use of animal products in our world has a positive impact beyond our personal health.

While some are more entertaining than others, no two essays are too similar in content. Each has it’s own focus and anecdotal way of expressing the positive aspects of reducing one’s meat intake. From Susan Page’s essay on how to navigate a relationship with someone who doesn’t follow the same diet as you to Samuel Boerboom’s look at the way language affects our food habits, each author’s contribution is unique and insightful.

Rather than shaming people for not committing to vegetarianism or veganism, Kateman’s reducetarian concept celebrates those who are taking a moment to consider their meat intake and reduce it in smaller, more manageable ways. While not every essay will connect with the reader on a personal basis, there is something in the collection that will appeal to just about everyone.

Watch a brief video about reducetarianism below:

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Leanne Harloff

Leanne Harloff