Earth Day recently happened and I must admit I pay little attention to the event. Making lifestyle decisions for the planet can’t happen on just one day a year but must be incorporated into our daily decision making. Curbing green house gases, conserving water and reducing our impact on the planet should be considered in all aspects of our life, including the food we eat. A vegan diet can help.
A vegan or plant based diet is nothing new, but it is gaining in popularity, and that is not without reason.
A plant based diet appeals to my inner environmentalist. I believe we all need to step up and make some personal changes for the betterment and survival of the planet. From the worrying predictions about global warming to the destruction of animal and plant habitats by deforestation and the impact of plastic waste in the oceans, the problems facing our one and only earth are vast and varied. Switching to plant based foods more often can be a small way to make a positive difference. Some of the environmental benefits of a plant based diet include:
- Lower Carbon Emissions – Livestock contribute to the amount of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide – all gases that contribute heavily to climate change, emitted in to the atmosphere. Add in transportation and the fuel used to grow feed for livestock, and the carbon emissions increase more.
- Habitat Protection – Livestock require space. Almost a third of the earth’s arable land is used for animal agriculture, contributing to deforestation and desertification. Both phenomena contribute to the extinction of whole species of animals.
- Water Preservation – Animal agriculture requires huge amounts of water and contributes to water pollution and erosion. It takes 100 to 200 times more water to raise a pound of beef than it does to raise a pound of plant foods. Water pollution from agriculture is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, areas polluted to such a degree that marine life can not survive.
There is also a strong health based reason for eating a plant based diet. When done properly, all of your required vitamins and nutritants can be obtained. A vegan diet has been known to reduce inflammation and pain, improve digestion and help obtain a level of health that improves appearance and performance.
A complete vegan diet can be and is achieved and enjoyed my many. For others ,making plant based options more often is enough. Personally I have been a vegetarian most of my life but have never sustained a vegan diet but I do not prescribe to any strict diet or dietary group. I do, instead, try to incorporate the best of many healthy dietary lifestyles into my own food practices whether it be paleo, gluten free or vegan. I try to eat good fats and whole foods. I reduce simple sugars and carbohydrates. I include complete, plant based protein sources more often and most of all I strive for life balance.
The options for vegans, or those wishing to include more plant based products in their life, has increased and improved dramatically in recent years. I encourage you to stop by during our Vegan Days Event May 10-12 to try some delicious plant based fare!