What if I told you that a simple swap between beans and beef could change the world?
What if I told you that not only does it have greenhouse benefits – It’s also healthier?
If you’re like most people, your ears would perk up and find yourself interested in learning more. That’s the current situation for millions of people around the world as the research and science continues to showcase the value of a plant based diet and its impact both on the environment and your personal health.
Most recently, a team of researchers from four different American universities found that the key to reducing harmful greenhouse gases is more likely to be found on the dinner plate than the gas running through your vehicle. The researchers from LLU, concluded that one simple change in our eating habits could have a large impact on the environment:
If Americans would eat beans instead of beef, the United States would immediately realize approximately 50 to 75 percent of its GHG reduction targets for the year 2020.
It could REDUCE the chances of our world burning by 50-75% (ok, I may be getting a bit over the top with my description but you get the point).
The researchers provided evidence that beef cattle are the most GHG-intensive food to produce and that the production of legumes (beans, peas, etc.) results in one-fortieth the amount of GHGs as beef while still offering folks protein and delicious snacks.
Wondering what recipes you can eat that are filled with beans? Here’s a few:
Here’s the rest of the article:
In addition to reducing GHG, Harwatt and her team — which included Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH; Gidon Eshel, PhD; the late Sam Soret, PhD; and William Ripple, PhD — concluded that shifting from animal-sourced to plant-sourced foods could help avert global temperature rise.
Sabate, who serves as executive director of the Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention at LLU School of Public Health, said the findings are substantial.
“The nation could achieve more than half of its GHG reduction goals without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing,” Sabate said.
The study, which was conducted while Harwatt was an environmental nutrition research fellow at Loma Linda University, also found that beef production is an inefficient use of agricultural land. Substituting beans for beef would free up 42 percent of U.S. cropland currently under cultivation — a total of 1.65 million square kilometers or more than 400 million square acres, which is approximately 1.6 times the size of the state of California.
Harwatt applauds the fact that more than a third of American consumers are currently purchasing meat analogs: plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture. She says the trend suggests that animal-sourced meat is no longer a necessity.
“Given the scale of greenhouse gas reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, are we prepared to eat beef analogs that look and taste like beef, but have a much lower climate impact?” she asks. “It looks like we’ll need to do this. The scale of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed doesn’t allow us the luxury of ‘business as usual’ eating patterns.”