Bill Nye said it… Plant-based diets are the future.
But what is it about leafy greens and plant proteins that are making us turn our heads more today than ever before?
Is it because the latest celebrity is jumping on the vegan craze?
No. This is no longer about trends, this is about scientific facts regarding the detrimental impact that animal products and byproducts are having on our bodies and our planet.
Read along to find out what the experts are saying and why you should be paying attention.
Plant-Based Diets Reduce Our Carbon Footprint
A study entitled ‘Evaluating the environmental impacts of dietary recommendations”, found that roughly 24% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to food production— three-quarters of that is due to agriculture.
“Animal products (meat, fish, and dairy) account for 22%, 65%, and 70% of emissions in the diets of lower-middle–, upper-middle–, and high-income nations, respectively,” the report went on to say.
The U.S. is one of three countries who produce 40% more emissions than its peer-group average.
It is clear from the research that, while the consumption habits of different countries affect the environment in different ways, there is something that everyone can be doing to aid in CO2 reductions.
A new film set to debut in 2018 addresses the growing detrimental effects of animal agriculture.
Watch the trailer:
“Studies show that climate change and water shortages are directly linked to the amount of meat we consume.” — just let that sink in.
The film was made by the same brothers behind the short film, ‘Planet Earth – As We Eat Our Way To Extinction’.
There’s too much science now supporting these claims that its becoming harder and harder for us to turn the other cheek.
Simply Eliminating Meat Is Not Enough
The same study above found that “changes in meat and dairy intake would result in a significant reduction in GHG emission, eutrophication, and land use in all countries except three lower-income nations, India, Indonesia, and Romania.” The United States could also see a massive reduction in these harmful effects by lessening its intake of fats and sugars.
While any reduction in meat consumption is regarded as a good thing, all research points to a complete elimination of animals and animal products as having the greatest improvement on our environmental and health problems. In simpler terms, veganism is our best bet.
Basically, the consumption of animals (their meat itself) and the raising of animals to consume what they produce, both produce the same effect.
Beef is regarded as the worst of them all. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations highlighted that cow farming (for meat, dairy, manure, and energy) produces 65% of all emissions amongst its animal siblings.
This Shift is Necessary to Save Mankind
Consider this for a moment: Grain production (grains make up a substantial portion of the human diet) has managed to keep up, decade over decade, with a rising global population; yet, there are about 815 million people in the world who are malnourished. We currently produce about 350kg of grains per year per capita and the USDA recommends eating 6 ounces per day, which translates to less than 100kg/year.
Well, what if I told you that 35% of that grain goes to feeding animals? Animals, like cows, who were just fine living off of grass before humans came in and decided otherwise.
Not only are animals being raised unnaturally on grains, and in deplorable conditions might I add, they are also being injected with the same antibiotics that we rely on when sick.
“Antibiotics used in animal agriculture contribute to the threat of drug resistance,” reports The Pew Charitable Trusts. They go on to point out that, “around 70 percent of the total volume of all medically important antibiotics in the United States is sold for use on the farm.”
This issue with these antibiotics being used on animals is that, when we consume these animals, we are becoming more and more immune to the antibodies that are supposed to be in place to protect us— not to mention the concern of a vaccine shortage.
This is not sustainable and, better yet, it poses a risk to society at large. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, calls it “a global health emergency.”
And yet, we continue to harm ourselves more than anything else…
The Overall Impact on Human Health
If it seems like I’m throwing a bunch of facts and figures at you— it’s because I am! Why?
Because numbers don’t lie.
The results of a study recently reported by the American Heart Association showed a significant reduction in the risk of developing heart failure in those who stuck to a predominantly plant-based diet, than those who didn’t.
An article at nature.com entitled, ‘Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health’ reads:
“Alternative diets that offer substantial health benefits could, if widely adopted, reduce global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, reduce land clearing and resultant species extinctions, and help prevent such diet-related chronic non-communicable diseases.”
The reality is, increased consumption of meat is leading to an increased outbreak of chronic diseases and, resultantly, lower life expectancies for all.
We should clearly be moving in the other direction.
And if scientific studies don’t do it for you, how about a first-hand account from someone who beat brain cancer and attributes his recovery and increased health to his decision to embrace a plant-based diet?
What a plant-based diet comes down to, at the end of the day, is a happier and healthier planet overall. And who wouldn’t want that? Whether its a reduction in animal products/byproducts or a complete elimination, everyone is going to be at different stages in the journey, but arming ourselves with the knowledge is at least half the battle, so we’re off to a good start.
I’ll end with this quote by Richard Branson:
“I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone. One day we will look back and think how archaic our grandparents were in killing animals for food.”
If you’ve long been thinking about a transition to plant-based eating but have had some trouble getting started, or if this post has inspired you, we recommend you start here: The Perfect 2018 Plant-Based Diet Starter Kit.
The New Year is the perfect time for change (but if you begin early, we won’t tell)!
If you’re further along with your commitment to greener eating, why not give yourself a real challenge with 30 Days of Meatless Mornings?
We love to hear about people’s journey in healthy eating so, please, leave your comments below and keep us up to date on your progress!