We all know that plants are good for us (insert mom’s nagging here), but converting to a plant-based diet can not only do wonders for your own health, but can also help the planet and other people too. Talk about a win-win!
Choosing plants over meat and dairy products has been proven to treat and prevent a variety of diseases, keep our planet greener and happier, and help alleviate hunger by ensuring that the two-thirds of grains grown on Earth reserved for livestock go to human beings who are in need instead. Keep reading to find out all the ways a plant-based diet can change you and the environment around you!
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet -- For YOU.
1. Lowers risk of disease
They weren’t kidding when they said “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” According to the American Health Association, individuals who consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables were at lower risk of having a stroke, becoming obese, or developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Fruits and veggies are also densely packed with nutrients and vitamins, adding a superfood boost to your diet and keeping your brain and body healthy while promoting longevity. Filling up on greens while limiting meat, especially red meat, can also lower your cholesterol levels, leading to an overall healthier heart and lifestyle.
The benefits don’t just stop there, choosing to eat plants over meat is also a holistic way of managing diseases and cancer in people diagnosed, just as one of our loyal customers Jessica Anderson does, living with breast cancer.
2. Weight maintenance
In addition to preventing obesity, eating plant-based meals can help you shed excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight and BMI. Since fruits and veggies are packed with fiber, complex carbohydrates and water, they tend to keep you fuller longer so you eat less throughout the day, reducing your overall caloric intake. Plus, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, and legumes like chickpeas and lentils are high in protein, helping you build and maintain muscle mass. When you feel good, you look good, too.
3. Sinus relief
This may come as a shock to some, but 75% of all people on earth are lactose intolerant. With those numbers, odds are you are too and not many know that lactose sensitivities come in many forms. The most well-known symptoms are stomach pains, gas and other intestinal issues, but another negative effect milk can have on the body is the thickening of mucus, leading to pressure and congestion in the sinuses. If you struggle with your sinuses, or allergies in general, weaning yourself off the dairy could help!
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet -- For THE ENVIRONMENT.
1. Cleaner air
Livestock production accounts for a good chunk of global greenhouse gas emissions (around 14.5%), and livestock raising also involves a LOT of manure which attributes up to 78% of the agricultural emissions. All that waste emits unsustainable amounts of methane gases, releasing ammonia and trapping heat in the atmosphere, factors that contribute to climate change. By choosing plant-based meals, we can decrease emissions caused by animal agricultural by nearly half and reduce our personal carbon footprints.
2. Water conservation and quality
Water is not an unlimited resource, and considering it takes 100 times more water to produce one pound of animal protein then it’s plant-based counterpart, it’s clear which dietary option is most sustainable. Raising livestock also threatens the quality of the water left for human consumption. Remember all that manure from before? Animal agricultural waste can runoff into lakes and rivers or even seep into groundwater, attributing to water pollution. The best way you can combat this from your very own home is opting for fruits and veggies over meat products in your daily diet.
3. Saving animals’ (duh!) and plants’ habitats
By reducing meat consumption, we can help save a fraction of the 9 billion animals raised for meat annually in the US alone. But choosing not to eat land animals can also help protect marine life, too. The water pollution caused by animal agriculture releases toxins into the water that creates dead zones in lakes and rivers, severely endangering marine life.
Plant habitats can also be protected by choosing a more plant-based lifestyle. Though it seems counterproductive to eat plants in order to save plants, nearly one-third of the arable land on Earth is used for animal agriculture and the growing industry contributes to deforestation as well as desertification. The loss of plant habitats not only affects oxygen levels and raises carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, but also puts endangered animals’ habits and lives at risk as well.
Not ready to go completely plant-based?
Flexitarianism is actually a thing.
Despite all the benefits of going vegan for both you and the planet, we are all still human at the end of the day and we humans have very different taste buds and preferences when it comes to food. If you swear you were born a carnivore, or not quite ready (or will never be ready) to call it quits on the cheese, flexitarianism could be right for you. Being a flexitarian is all about intentions and making a conscious effort to choose cleaner, plant-based foods whenever you can. This way you don’t have to give up on dairy or meat cold turkey (pun intended), but can still make a notable impact on your overall health and limit your greenhouse gas emissions.
Even reserving just one meal a day for plant-based foods or choosing to select more vegan options at the grocery (or online shopping with our Vegan Sampler Pack ;) can not only help you feel healthier and happier, but give you peace of mind knowing the planet and the people who live on it are better off too.
Ready to try some plant-based recipes? Find all of our vegan treats on our blog today.