The 10 in 10 Diet is a total system that makes it easy to transition off meat and cook healthy food conveniently while keeping your grocery bill under $150 a month per person, and reducing our contribution to climate change – think 10% reduction by remembering 10 key points below.  

This site has been here since 2009 (writing March 2015). It gets pretty regular traffic. That's very encouraging.

If you want to get up to speed quickly, or if you're in the choir and want lots of strong arguments for friends and family, then watch this powerful documentary: Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret. The long & short of it is, the big environmentalist organizations that have put the onus for greenhouse gas reduction on fossil fuels (in other words, transportation) have been cowed by the ultra powerful meat industry (come on, I'm allowed one key pun), which is really by far the biggest emitter of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. Plus, because methane is both a much more powerful heat-holder than CO2 and also a lot shorter-lived, reducing meat production would get that number down to 350 ppm (carbon dioxide and equivalents in the atmosphere) way faster than people driving less, etc.

I was never a hardcore vegetarian, always willing to eat what was put in front of me in others' homes, so I have been enjoying some sustainably produced local meats, while supporting the farmers of our little market, but a very small amount. I'm big on stews and soups where the meat is very sparse among the veggies. Cowspiracy has changed my mind about what constitutes real 'sustainability'.

1. Eat like a peasant.

Enjoy inexpensive but delicious vegetarian foods from different ethic traditions.

2. Make it from scratch.

Learn basic skills instead of paying for corporate processing plants to make your meals.

3. Buy basic supplies.

Supplies keep well. Groceries get forgotten at the back of the fridge and produce tons of trash. Stop driving to the store every day.

4. Eat beans.

Beans and lentils form the protein base of many countries' staple meals where frugal people don't use much meat.

5. Cook big batches.

Make your own convenience foods by making enough to freeze a stack of portions.

6. Preserve in season.

Buy fresh local fruits and vegetables in season and freeze, can or dry them.

7. Buy local.

Plan for a more localized future by supporting local growers.

8. Grow your own.

Even a tomato plant and a pepper plant on a balcony give you a measure of self-reliance. Look into a community garden if you don't have any space of your own.

9. Be content.

Observe your eating and shopping habits and question them. You may find you can be satisfied with a much simpler diet.

10. Share.

Invite your friends for meals. Have pot luck dinners. Surprise people!

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it."

—Wendell Berry

In this low-carbon vegetarian diet you'll find a limited menu of carefully worked out meals and recipes to help you get off the cycle of eating mindlessly (and expensively) now and feeling guilty about it later. This is the complete opposite of making a hobby of experimenting with gourmet cooking. It's also not about being too much of a stickler for any 'ism'.

This diet is a way to fast track to a simpler, more peaceful life. It's totally possible to really enjoy food while eating more like the majority of people in the world. 

  • This simple system is vegetarian, organic when not prohibitively expensive, low on dairy but not totally vegan.
  • Packaged food is avoided, but not banned.
  • Local food in season is given priority, mostly as a practice for the possibility of future contractions in industrial monoculture and food distribution.
  • Milk is used sparingly. The book The China Study cooled me off on dairy.
  • Eggs are used mostly for for baking – in my case from small mixed farmers whose chickens have a life.
  • I make yogurt to keep the yeast in check, say no more. Luckily we have a local organic creamery that sells lovely full-fat milk with which I make the thickest, creamiest yogurt.
  • The name 10 in 10 Diet was based on the 10:10 campaign, which was reducing carbon footprint 10% in 2010. Now, since the name seems to have stuck, it's about 10% and 10 key points.


One key item is the cabbage soup. I believe it was a major factor in my fairly painlessly reducing my weight by two clothes sizes.

My methods are as important as the ingredients in creating a lifestyle of mindful cooking. Just as restaurants train line cooks in specific procedures, I'm providing my efficient ways.

You can take all the anxiety out of vegetarian nutrition, food spending, snacking, and cooking. This frees up space in your mind, money in your pocket and time in your day.

Read more about how I reached this point here.

Cheap Breakfasts  Cheap Lunches   Cheap Suppers    Cheap Bread

My road to frugal eating  Recipes to print  Climate Change Diet
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