This post is very different from what I normally write about, but I’m excited to share a little bit about another part of my life. I’ve recently been experimenting with a plant-based diet, and it’s turned out to be the exciting challenge that I needed. I have always been curious about the vegan diet and how difficult it would actually be to follow, but always just said “I could never do that, it would be way to hard and way too expensive”. Well, turns out I was wrong about both of those things. After wandering through the grocery store a month ago and deciding to give it a try for one week, I now find myself having no desire to go back to my old ways of eating. Yes, there are a lot of things that I wish I could still eat, but one of the many positive things about following a plant-based diet is that most of the things I wish I could have aren’t good for me anyway. It’s helped me eat more fresh, whole foods, and I feel so good.
Since I began eating plant-based, I’ve become more interested in not only the benefits it can have for your body, but the many ways that it helps the environment. The meat, egg, and dairy industry is extremely hard on the planet, and contributes greatly to climate change and world hunger. It’s been my new topic of passion that I’ve been researching and watching documentaries on in my free time, so if you don’t mind, I’m gunna hit you with some FACTS:
- It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie of animal protein as it does to make one calorie of plant protein.
- Eating vegan reduces your nitrogen footprint – nitrous-oxide is an extremely potent climate change gas, (much more than carbon dioxide), and the meat, dairy, and egg industry is responsible for about 65% of its emissions.
- It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat, while growing one pound of wheat requires only 25 gallons of water.
- 70% of the grain that’s grown in the US is used to feed livestock, and globally, 83% of farmland is set aside to raise livestock.
- The meat, dairy, and egg industry contributes GREATLY to world hunger – It’s estimated that 700 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes to livestock each year. **These animals are ultimately going to feed only the regions of the world that can afford it, leaving those who cannot, hungry.
- The meat and dairy industry produces more greenhouse gasses than ALL forms of transportation combined.
- ONE quarter-pound hamburger takes over 660 gallons of water to produce.
- Domestic water use only accounts for 5% of total water usage, compared to animal agriculture, which accounts for 55%.
There, now you know. And I’m not suddenly judging anyone who eats meat, dairy, and eggs, because until a month ago, I ate them my whole life. But I’m happy that I’ve become more aware of the positive impact that even one person can make, and I’ve learned that it’s really not nearly as difficult as many people assume it will be to follow a vegan diet. It’s made me get more creative when making food for myself, and it’s made me try new things at restaurants that I might not have tried before. And it doesn’t have to be expensive! If you want to buy faux-meats and cheeses or eat out all of the time, then yes, it can be a little expensive, but if you stick to primarily buying produce, grains, beans/legumes, and tofu, it’s potentially more affordable than a diet including meat and animal products.
Moral of the story is that being vegan is cool and turns out you don’t even have to be a hipster or do yoga or live in a trendy city to do it! If you’ve ever given it a thought, I would definitely recommend trying it out for even a week. And if you’re not into it, I seriously urge you to at least try to reduce your consumption of meat and animal products. Anything can make a difference! I’m excited to share this part if my life on my Lifestyle page as I try out new recipes and new restaurants!
The following links, along with the documentary “Cowspiracy” are where I found lots of this information. I 1000000% recommend watching this documentary (it’s on Netflix), because I guarantee you will learn so many things and that your mind will be blown.