Why switch to a plant-based diet?
According to the United Nations, switching to a plant-based diet can reduce an individual’s annual carbon footprint by up to 2.1 tons with a vegan diet or up to 1.5 tons for vegetarians. While switching completely overnight is difficult, easing into a plant-based diet by eating more vegetables for a particular meal (ie. lunch) or day of the week can be a great way to get started. Recruiting family, friends, and colleagues to make the transition more fun and social can also be an effective way to transition. With the availability of meat substitutions, vegan chefs and bloggers, and the plant-based movement, eating more plants is becoming easier and more widespread with the additional benefits of better health and saving money!
What effect does an animal-based diet have on the earth?
The U.N. report stated that “a shift toward plant-based diets” is one of the most significant ways to reduce greenhouse gases from the agriculture sector. Population growth and an increasing demand for meat and dairy results in the need to clear land and deforestation to make room for animal farms and growing animal feed. This results in a loss of biodiversity, and greater strain on resources like water and energy, among other adverse impacts. In the case of ruminant livestock such as cows and sheep, methane production, a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide, exacerbates the problem. The issue extends to seafood where overfishing and degradation of our oceans from industrial activity and pollution put the future of our oceans in jeopardy.
Tips to introduce more plant-based options to your diet:
Swap cow’s milk for plant milk
There are a huge range of plant-based milks now available on the market such as soy, almond, oat, coconut, hemp and more.
Swap beef mince for lentils
While beef might be higher in protein per 100g, it’s also much higher in calories too. So, you can eat double, or triple the lentils for the same amount of calories and plenty of protein, with none of the fat.
Swap cheese for nutritional yeast
If you’re after a cheesy sauce with a vitamin B12 boost, then it’s a great addition to many of your favourite meals. Add some to your pasta bakes for a vegan-friendly cheesy flavour.
Swap non-vegan snacks for vegan snacks
There are lots of delicious plant-based snacks available plus you can get create and make your own. For example: nut cookie, dark chocolate, soya yogurt, lentil chips, hummus, etc.
Swap scrambled eggs for tofu
No need to ditch the full English, you can enjoy a creamy scramble with a very similar nutritional value to eggs and make a spicy scramble from tofu or chickpeas.
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