Why I’m a weekday vegetarian | Graham Hill

Why I’m a weekday vegetarian | Graham Hill

About a year ago, I asked myself a question: “Knowing what I know, why am I not a vegetarian?” After all, I’m one of the green guys: I grew up with hippie parents in a log cabin. I started a site called TreeHugger — I care about this stuff. I knew that eating a mere hamburger a day can increase my risk of dying by a third. Cruelty: I knew that the 10 billion animals we raise each year for meat are raised in factory farm conditions that we, hypocritically, wouldn’t even consider for our own cats, dogs and other pets. Environmentally, meat, amazingly, causes more emissions than all of transportation combined: cars, trains, planes, buses, boats, all of it. And beef production uses 100 times the water that most vegetables do. I also knew that I’m not alone. We as a society are eating twice as much meat as we did in the 50s. So what was once the special little side treat now is the main, much more regular. So really, any of these angles should have been enough to convince me to go vegetarian. Yet, there I was — chk, chk, chk — tucking into a big old steak. So why was I stalling? I realized that what I was being pitched was a binary solution. It was either you’re a meat eater or you’re a vegetarian, and I guess I just wasn’t quite ready. Imagine your last hamburger. (Laughter) So my common sense, my good intentions, were in conflict with my taste buds. And I’d commit to doing it later, and not surprisingly, later never came. Sound familiar? So I wondered, might there be a third solution? And I thought about it, and I came up with one. I’ve been doing it for the last year, and it’s great. It’s called weekday veg. The name says it all: Nothing with a face Monday through Friday. On the weekend, your choice. Simple. If you want to take it to the next level, remember, the major culprits in terms of environmental damage and health are red and processed meats. So you want to swap those out with some good, sustainably harvested fish. It’s structured, so it ends up being simple to remember, and it’s okay to break it here and there. After all, cutting five days a week is cutting 70 percent of your meat intake. The program has been great, weekday veg. My footprint’s smaller, I’m lessening pollution, I feel better about the animals, I’m even saving money. Best of all, I’m healthier, I know that I’m going to live longer, and I’ve even lost a little weight. So, please ask yourselves, for your health, for your pocketbook, for the environment, for the animals: What’s stopping you from giving weekday veg a shot? After all, if all of us ate half as much meat, it would be like half of us were vegetarians. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Why I’m a weekday vegetarian | Graham Hill

  1. @spetznas101 "since we actively hunt for meat" No we don't. We do it for fun, with guns, not claws nor teeth, and more then half of the people who do eat meat from wild animals get gout. As I said, "Most herbivores can digest meat quite well" but that doesn't mean eating this food for a long amount of time won't have the corresponding consequences. Richard is a great writer and professor, but he's occupied with lots of other things and doesn't really take this direction seriously.

  2. @spetznas101 Our intelligence could be whatever… "Neither me nor anybody else in my family has gout, so I guess your stats are wrong!?" That's not a scientifically correct statement. U don't go off with a gun, kill and eat wild animals, right?"we do it for survival!" It's cheaper resource-wise to take care of a plant.
    "College professors also agree on the fact that humans are Omnivores."All people feel compelled to justify perceptions of their established personalities.

  3. @spetznas101 Dr. William Clifford Robers, editor @ The American Journal of Cardiology, medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas
    Prof. Walter Willett @ Harvard Medical School of Public Health in Boston
    Prof. Robert W. Sussman @ Washington University
    People should be able to use their own brains & not rely on others to do it for them. Small monkey bit the top of a finger of a child and it died out of the infection. We're too fragile

  4. @Neutral666 its exactly like smoking. Every craving produced by your brain is longing for chemical gratification. Meat, cigarettes, sports, all produce a chemical reward. Its hardly horse shit, in fact the mechanisms are pretty well established.

  5. @MitchL17
    there might be some people that do, but I think he was getting at is that some people eat the equivalent of a hamburger a day in some type of meat

  6. Seriously? Give this guy some credit. I've only been a vegan since the beginning if the year but I've been vegetarian for 7 years. Getting other people to follow a veg way of life (for health, environmental and ethical reasons) is difficult. It's difficult to be a "perfect" vegan– everything you eat harms some animal in some way. If he can inspire people to change, even slightly, then I have nothing but respect and love for him.

  7. I think it its a good thing that he is cutting meat out of his diet, if only slowly. I get that if more people tried this then it would help the environment drastically- but this should be considered as a jumping off point.
    trust me, its not that hard to give up meat once you become educated about the processes it took to get it on your plate. If more people knew things like THAT, then change would come.

  8. Latest research shows that the meat-diet of an average westerner is responsible for roughly 50% of his ecological footprint.

    Consider this very carefully, without meat, the human race would use up HALF of the natural resources of what we use right now.

  9. @humpfry24:

    I disagree with your idea thag animals would rather live to be eaten than not live at all. In the case of traditionally hunted animals or animals that are raised in humane settings for slaughter, what you're saying may be true. But the way the animals are raised and slaughtered in the modern meat industry negates any notion that at least being alive is better than not existing at all.

  10. @Thebielnasser
    "The best and the worst thing about the human-being: the ability to think. You will NEVER see an ANIMAL be like "ew, I wont eat this because some other animal died"

    I've never met a vegetarian who doesn't eat meat because they're disgusted by the thought of eating a dead animal. I'm a vegetarian because the modern meat industry – unlike the traditional practice of hunting animals in the wild – is ethically and environmentally detrimental.

  11. A more accurate way to put this would be to say that human beings have the ability to think "I won't eat this because it causes immense suffering to animals and because it is an unsustainable source of damage to our planet". Yes, humans alone possess this capacity, in the same way that we are the only animals to be able to write a declaration of universal human rights. Thank god we have this capacity because, unlike other animals, only we are capable of using our intellect to destroy our planet.

  12. @acousticatmosphere

    Inherently the problem is not our decision to eat meat, but how we treat the animals, ultimately in nature they would be eaten anyways. So we as conscious beings would be doing no wrong by providing them with a better life then they could naturally poses, in exchange for food. However as we have seen some among us choose to not respect the animals, and don't give back. Then it gets even worse when you bring in the fact that most meat we eat is not natural.

  13. @humpfry24

    If we did not eat meat these species of animal would not exist. The cows, and other domesticated animals you see today are created by humans through selective breeding, and other methods into other creatures. Forced evolution I guess you could call it, we turned them into far more productive beings, but at what moral cost?

    We are also most certainly not making them healthier in many cases, just making them produce more meat, which is a pretty silly idea in retrospect.

  14. @NeutralExistence My decision to become a vegan stems, inherently, from my belief in using my human nature to reduce suffering instead of cause it. I couldn’t agree with you more–the treatment of animals raised for commodity is not justifiable moral. For me, the decision to reduce suffering is one extended far beyond my own species, but that is not to say that it does not incorporate my own. I idealize those who use their potential to benefit the world, even if their action is of the

  15. @NeutralExistence smallest measurement. I think it needs reminding that we are giants of chaos with steps of destruction, and we cant afford to be clumsy. Yes, our bodies have the ability to digest meat. Yes, animals would be naturally eaten in nature (although I don’t think it’s possible to provide a better environment for them then what is natural). The point is that growing animals to use as commodities is essential destroying

  16. @NeutralExistence everything; our personal and national health (along side our financial pocket), our environment (as I believe was this guys point), and yes, I am a believer that it is also destroying our individual morality–for those aware of the suffering it causes

  17. @NeutralExistence and do nothing to defend against it. We as a species should not and cannot afford to cause such destruction, especially with the exponential population expansion and loss of the worlds natural ecosystems. Any steps towards the reducing of suffering to me seems like a good thing. Sometimes logically things need to be taken in steps, despite how frustratingly obvious the answers seem to be. Thanks for being like minded.

  18. @acousticatmosphere no you can just buy vegan cheese. go to your local health food store and ask the worker their. its basically dairy free cheese.

  19. @acousticatmosphere

    I guess the hardest part is to change within, and if people are truly able to give up a meat eating lifestyle then no doubt we will see things change fast. Personally however I think that organic methods of farming etc.. are a better method then stopping eating meat altogether, since that would also eliminate our need for the animals. We must change our methods of farming, instead of our diets, or at least that seems the most efficient.

  20. @jessiebrickley

    How do you think they would be kept if we didn't eat them? Look how we treat things we don't eat, I am sure a lab monkey would love to trade places with the cow. I think the cows have it pretty good compared to the monkeys who are tested on, and put through all sorts of cruel bullshit. At least when its food we have that little bit of guilt to keep us from making it go extinct. Stopping eating them would make entire cow species disappear, or worse.

  21. @void110

    In no way was that an argument supporting the treatment of domesticated bovine, but one must consider how to best go about changing the mentality of man gradually, as to reduce the risk of destroying entire species. Like I said look how we treat the things we don't eat, simply turning into vegetarians isn't going to stop the suffering of these animals, nor will it change the mentality that made us think these actions are okay.

  22. @void110

    Well existence is a good one, living… On a biological level, the only thing that matters is creating more successful copies of one's cell's. To take it above that can hinder a species existence, we have proven this many a time…

    I suppose you assume we wont find some other purpose for the millions of cows we have if we just all of a sudden stopped eating them? I don't even want to imagine what all the "cow factories" would figure out as a good solution…

  23. @void110

    That "piece of chemistry" is the building blocks for all life as we know it, one cant really even try to contrast our newly formed consciousness to DNA, which has taken many a millennium to reach its state of perfection. You think its better to moralize, then rationalize? I think the definition of intelligence is quite subjective frankly, for I know cellular life can problem solve, and personally consider the pro-creation of life in itself to be intelligence.

  24. @void110

    Who said we have to keep breeding/killing them, you seem to be missing my point…. I am all for us searching for less harmful solutions to our food problems, but I am stating that it needs to be a gradual process, otherwise everything is going to be effected. One cant change 100+ thousand years of diet in a couple years time, we need to think of alternatives, and maybe instead of risking loosing these species, we could help them back into nature slowly.

  25. Probably did more to reduce meat intake than all the pure veggie presentation. I was a vegetarian for 3 months and now I started eating meat again. Wish me luck folks…the next time will hopefully be for much longer

  26. A nutrition high in fruits and vegetables is a corner stone of naturopathic medicine.

  27. This is such a hypocrite speech, I would of walked out when I heard "week day vegetarian" your a full time hypocrite try only being a weekend one.

  28. I appreciate his message and that he's convicing ppl to cut their meat intake -healthier and less pollution. But you're still causing animals alot of pain and suffering. I

  29. I think this is a great way to open people up to the choice of complete vegetarian. I had this strategy when I first started cutting down meat from my diet 2 years ago, but I realised with that small leap, I actually had the total strength to rid meat from my diet completely. Vegetarian for just under 2 years now and feeling brilliant 🙂

  30. I'm vegan for many years now. The only problem you had mostly 2 ignore are the reactions of people who doesn't know what it is or think they known but doesn't do it. Once you get it youre must be a vegan!

  31. Clips like this devalue TED Talks. For the past year and a half I only ate fish and veg, on a a rare occasion I will eat free range chicken, rarer still, red meat. I don't need to give it a gimmicky name nor is my story worthy of being a TED Talk. It would appear you can frame any old banal crap as a TED Talk and people will think it is great.

  32. I must be a complete alien because I don't care about animals and their feelings, I just find eating filthy, bloody animals disgusting. Just the thought of it makes me sick.

  33. This is BS. It's crop agriculture that is destroying the environment, using the up the water, killing more animals, and is unsustainable. Pasture raised animals have none of these problems. Crop farming kills more animals through heavy machinery, pollution, using animals as fertilizers, and mining fertilizer than a similar farm raising animals.

  34. Um, check your facts on grass fed cattle producing 50-60% more GHG because you are out to lunch as are almost all the facts in this video. Getting food production advice from a Architect/Designer/Web-Developer is as good as getting medical advice from your mechanic. If you want to know something about food production look up Joel Salatin and see how we can actually make good decisions on our food and where it comes from. As far as vegetarianism and health goes, I look to the Paleo Diet.

  35. Wow what a bunch of inaccuracy TED. Does anybody check the facts in the talks before you post these videos? Getting food production advice from a Architect/Designer/Web-Develop­er is as good as getting medical advice from your mechanic. If you want to know something about food production look up Joel Salatin and see how we can actually make good decisions on our food and where it comes from. As far as vegetarianism and health goes, I look to the Paleo Diet.

  36. Nope, you're idea has been debunked. A basic understanding of agricultural practices would be a good place to start.

  37. No, you need to read credible science sources and not vegan psuedo-science. Pasture farming is the only sustainable agriculture.

  38. I agree, but that's why I do not eat animals which have suffered, but free range organic produce. If they are suffering more then they would in the wild, then obviously its wrong, but I doubt very much that they do. Anyways, my point was clearly that our self centered views on things would certainly make their lives much worse if we did not need them for food. I was not advocating our abuse of them, but illustrating a fact about our symbiotic relationship with animals.

  39. You ever heard the screams of a slaughterhouse on kill day?

    We're supposed to pat people on the back for only funding that *sometimes*?

  40. I do not want to be vegetarian…..

    Please stop using the environment as an excuse for why the whole world should become vegetarian…..

    Please watch this TED video for a balanced view:


  41. Allan Savory is a fraud. His method has failed repeatedly, but rather than acknowledge his method is flawed, he just blames everyone else. Exactly the kind of crank behavior you'd expect from someone who murders 40,000 elephants. This video does a good job of addressing the environmental fantasies of the grass fed beef crowd:


  42. JustAnotherVegan, I don't know where you got your info from….So I will assume it is your unbiased opinion…. But I have an open mind,. So please post any links that can justify your position on Allan Savory's methods

  43. These are good:

    "All Sizzle and No Steak" by James McWilliams
    "Cows Against Climate Change: The Dodgy Science Behind the TED Talk" by Adam Merberg
    "TED Talk Teaches Us to Disparage the Desert" by Chris Clarke

  44. I am also a vegan but it's certainly a step in the right direction is it not? If the type of people that refuse to go vegan and simply won't try it just did this programme, then the world would be a much better place. Not perfect but a hell of a lot better than factory farming. Peace 😉

  45. Bravo…I completely agree, so what. My point was that this is high school level presentation, at best. TED is known for eye opening lectures not a mediocre presentation from some guy that is almost a vegetarian.

  46. I admit this presentation is far too short and I've seen a lot better presentations, but I think it's a good idea at least 😉 Many people have this false dichotomy that they have to choose from being a strict vegan or eating meat every single meal every day. I think that this programme is at least manageable for most people. TED have some amazing talks and sometimes some completely dreadful talks, I've seen a lot worse lol

  47. You would be surprised on the amount of people who aren't selfish and do actually care about people in 3rd world countries. Seriously stop your fear mongering, vegetarians are not dying! I know I'm never going to get that across to you but you haven't got a clue what your talking about. For anyone else reading this comment we have spoken before, she refuses to accept germ theory and eats raw meat and thinks she knows more than thousands and thousands of scientific experts!

  48. How about put yourself in the position of a starving child in the poorest parts of Africa. I know you have no empathy or sympathy for anyone apart from yourself but seriously, how insensitive can someone be…

  49. I am not saying he doesn't present a good idea, but if that simple plan warrants a TED talk, I should be doing TED talks!

  50. Agreed, a mass reduction in meat consumption would begin to make a difference.  Hit them in their pocketbooks, get attention. 

  51. I get this, I agree with the whole its very cruel the way the majority of animal farming is done, I luck out and live in a farming community with tons of high quality as humane as possible cattle farming, so now I am starting to spend a bit more to get it from the local farmers.
    I think I might give this a try. Would force me to eat a lot healthier and I still get my steaks or burgers on a weekend.
    Eating meat doesn't need to be cruel, do some research, lots of Amish, Huderite (sp?), and Mennonite farms sell their meats and eggs and cheeses, they are organic and they are sustainable and you don't get the gouge price of paying for the same qualities at a grocery store or specialized store and at the same time you help a local community thrive. Win win.
    I don't believe in veganism because humans are omnivores. If anyone remembers learning about Dinosaurs in school they ought to remember the part about teeth. We have omnivore teeth, we are designed to eat both meat and vegetables.

  52. I actually implemented this a long time ago, I didn't know it was a thing 😀 I eat mostly vegetables, pasta and cheese and on the weekend, if I feel like it I eat some meat. It's cheaper and probably healthier. The truth is you don't much protein as a person over 20-25, unless you are very active, I'm a computer programmer who rides a bike, likes hikes and has a herniated disc, so I don't really need much protein 😀 My main reason for eating less meat is that meat production contributes between 15-30% to the how CO2 picture (this is not me pushing a vegetarian agenda with lies, this is simple science! look up reports from the FAO and UN).

  53. I support the idea. It would encourage more people to contribute to the food choice awareness without making it "impossible" for many. If no one eats meat all of a sudden, many workers will loose jobs and animals would go perhaps distinct if without preserved land to maintain their habitat. Everything in "moderation" is good, even as a society.

  54. He looks perfect and energetic. But if you are a vegetarian you should carefully think about what you will eat in order not to harm to your health.

  55. In concept of course it's better to lessen the amount of animal products that are eaten, but the principle of choosing to only do what you know is right some of the time, conflicts with principal. Good is the enemy of great and in a world of good, better, best, it's important to keep in mind that if something matters then it matters all the time and not just some of the time. If along the way you make a mistake that's one thing, but it's a totally different thing to plan from the beginning that before you even start you were only going to do what you know is right some of the time and essentially predestine yourself to only achieve what you know is important some of the time. Everyone has potential, to tell them otherwise implies that they don't have what it takes within them.

  56. A good method would be to make vegan meat more accessible to the public. what if In the meat isle, they also put out those veggie patties?

  57. And knowing ALL that, he chooses to be a part-time killer and environment destroyer because…tastebuds? Sad. This is the most uninspiring TEDx I’ve seen. I went vegan for the animals almost 13 years ago when I saw what is done to them, and it was easy. And now there’s so many amazing plant-based products, including his beloved hamburgers, there’s no excuse extreme animal abuse. I hope he watches the documentaries “Dominion” and “Cowspiracy.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *