It’s no secret that 2018 has been the year of the vegan, what with so many people turning to plant-based diets for their health and for the environment. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy for many of us to just go cold turkey (pardon the pun) and give up meaty mains and cheesy snacks.

Still, knowledge is power. So the next time you consider what to put on your dinner plate, keep in mind that there are some animal products you may want to avoid altogether.

Chinook Salmon

 - salmon
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Thanks to the recent story of a mother orca keeping her dead baby calf afloat for more than two weeks, the general public is more aware of the killer whale’s plight for food and survival. An easy way to help them out? Stop eating their number one food source, chinook salmon.

Farmed catfish

 - farmed catfish
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Most of us need to start turning to more sustainable fish sources, so doesn’t it make sense to go with the farmed variety instead? Not necessarily, says PETA. According to the organization, aquafarms put waste, pesticides, and other chemicals directly into the coastal waters, destroying local ecosystems as a result. One of the worst offenders? Catfish farms.

Lamb

 - lamb
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Some people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the taste of this gamey meat, but there are other reasons to avoid it. Namely that the production of lamb is terrible for the environment: one report even says that a single bowl of lamb stew is as bad for the planet as driving 31 miles.

Cheese

 - cheese
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The next time you want to say “cheese please,” consider this: the dairy industry has a history of producing wastewaters and effluents that could have a huge impact on the environment thanks to their pollutant nature. Cheese is also a significant contributor to the carbon dioxide problem. In fact, according to some statistics from Sweden, a 1.5-ounce serving of cheese could produce a whopping 16 ounces of carbon dioxide. Not exactly proportionate what we’d call proportionate.

Steak

 - steak
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There has been a lot of conversation about the detrimental effects of cattle farms on the environment as of late, and for good reason. Studies have shown that red meat uses 28 times more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken. Where’s the beef, indeed.

Butter

 - butter
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While choosing any kind of oil, butter, or butter spread isn’t the best option for the environment thanks to the energy needed to actually make it, a study found that butter has more than double the environmental impact of margarine in terms of climate change. Meanwhile, it’s also worse for the water and air pollution problems, and it’s four times worse for the carbon footprint too.

All You Can Eat Sushi

- sushi
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If you’re a sushi lover, odds are you’ve gone to an AYCE establishment or two in your time. Unfortunately, the popularity of items like sashimi and spicy tuna rolls is also devastating to the Pacific bluefin tuna. Before, these animals grew to more than 1,500 pounds and could yield 10,000 pieces of sushi or sashimi. But now, thanks to overfishing the population is at just 2.6 per cent of its historic size.

Turkey

 - turkey
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There is such a high demand for poultry these days that the birds are being genetically modified in order to keep up. One bird that has suffered most as a result is the turkey. These days, the industrial turkey has been modified so much that it can no longer naturally mate and reproduce. Not exactly palatable, now is it?