Eating more veggies isn’t new news. So, why is it more important now?
A 2019 report from the United Nations (UN)Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared another benefit to eating more greens—more people can be fed. They concluded that the high consumption of dairy and meat products contributes to climate change in a significant way.
Supporting livestock requires a lot of resources. The animals need to be fed and have enough land to roam and graze. The amount of land required to produce meat and dairy products is the problem. With less land to store the carbon we emit, we can’t make as much food to feed everyone in the world, let alone slow down our contribution to global warming.
For the non-vegan eaters, drinking a glass of cow milk or eating one slice of hamburger meat doesn’t look like it would make our world end. These instances may seem small, but every mindful and more intentional eating decision can make a big difference in the long run.
Why Bother Eating More Plants and Less Meat
According toInteractive, the problem in this situation is that “food production accounts for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and takes up half of the planet’s habitable surface,”
Interactive’s findings reveal that “meat and dairy specifically account for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).” This statistic means that eating a breakfast sausage does more harm to our planet and body than eating a bowl full of stir-fried vegetables.
Here is how eating less meat helps the climate and us.
Climate Impact: Better for Our Planet
Eating meat and dairy products tells farmers and suppliers to produce more. When we replace meat and dairy food with veggies in our meals, we lower our carbon footprint and the demand for meat. AScience study confirms this when they noted that “emissions from plant-based foods are 10 to 50 times smaller than those from animal products” on average.
With a lower livestock demand, we also have more land to use for “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and afforestation projects,”says Carbon Brief. With less competition with agriculture, the risk offood security lowers, providing more food to more people.
Eating less meat and more plants also helps our health and wallets.
Human Impact: Better for Our Wallet and Well-Being
Consuming a more “climate-friendly” diet by chomping on more vegetables nourishes our bodies with vitamins and lowers our grocery bills.
Arecent study by Sous Vide Guy found that vegans and vegetarians save an average of $23 in comparison with their meat-eating counterparts during weekly grocery shopping.” This result is mainly due to meatcosting three or more dollars more per pound. Considering the resources, time, and energy to produce, process, and deliver meat and dairy products, it doesn’t seem surprising that they are expensive.
As for our well-being, eating more vegetables helps us bulk up on the fibre, vitamins, and minerals we need to keep our body and mind happy to function at our best. Meatless diets also lower our chances of obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
Although eating more greens helps our planet, wallet, and bodies, the problem is our meal preferences. According toThe World Counts, we’re eating approximately 75 million tons of meat globally this past year.
To overcome this problem, here are a few ways to eat less meat to save our money and the planet.
Ways to Eat More Plant-Based
- Reduce One Meat Product at a Time: Start small and gradually decrease the amount of meat and dairy products in your meals. Try to choose lean cuts and avoid overindulging to help your body transition away from animal protein.
- Cut Red Meat First: Beef is a type of red meat that has one of the most significant impacts on climate change (in a bad way). By swapping beef for a different protein first, we can shrink our carbon footprint for the long run.
- Have Meatless Days At Least Once a Week: Finding other ways to include plant-based proteins keeps our meals exciting. It’s also a perfect opportunity for us to learn and try different recipes. (You may find a new favorite!)
- Add Plant-Based Protein-Rich Foods: Add edamame, chia seeds, chickpeas, or peanut butter to your snacks and meals. Although small, these beans and nuts are mighty with higher concentrations of protein than other plants.
- Trust the Process: We may find it challenging to alter our diets. It could take a few days, weeks, or months to adapt to eating less meat. Your continuous effort is what matters because every attempt to eat less meat contributes to a greener future.
If you want to start transforming your diet and kick off a more plant-based lifestyle, check out PlantX, they offer a variety of high-quality plant-based groceries, lifestyle products and vegan meals delivery services.