Inspired by documentaries about the meat industry and its impact on the environment, a New York restaurant has faced backlash from “Cross Fit People” for phasing meat out of its menu.
How could you take meat off the menu?!
GustOrganics on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea decided to go on a “green mission” after owners Kiki Adami and her husband Paul Chang learned of the unsustainable way meat was produced. “There was a huge disconnect, because even organic farming is one of the main reasons for deforestation and [agriculture] also produces more methane emissions from all the cow-farting than all the cars in the world combined,” Adami said. “It’s a totally messed-up system and we don’t want anything to do with it.”
Unfortunately, the decision to make positive change for the environment went over like a heavily weighted medicine ball for patrons of the restaurant that base their diets heavily on the meat laden offerings GustOrganics is turning away from.
“Is something wrong with you?” one customer asked in a text to Adami when they learned that the fajitas would no longer be made with meat. “I was receiving hate emails from the [meat-loving] CrossFit people, we were their go-to spot,” Adami told DNAInfo. “I must have gotten 50 hate mails.”
It doesn’t have to be this way, we can totally all get along.
The loss of their regular clientele caused a huge drop in profit, causing the business to go into the red and stay there since November. While they still offer three meat based dishes, because they comprise 20 percent of their total profit at the moment, they still intend to phase those out over the course of the next three to six months, undaunted by the prospect of taking an even bigger dip in their bottom line.
GustOrganics is doing something incredibly forward thinking in choosing to provide a more sustainable, locally sourced menu even if that meant putting their business in the hot seat. While choosing to eat high protein in order to do power strength and endurance training is in no way mutually exclusive from eating plant-based, there are some out there who just plainly dislike change. Without change, however, we are dead in the water when it comes to reversing the damage conventional meat and dairy production methods have done to the environment.
Addressing climate change starts with addressing our habits
Supporting businesses who actively choose to create that change is integral to getting more and more businesses on board. Showing that this business model works will only help to bring more plant-based options to menus everywhere, lessening the demand for meat. And with options like homemade lemon seitan, mushroom risotto and kale pizza made from mostly locally sourced ingredients, what’s not to support?