Read on for the ultimate way to eat in harmony with the planet.
This post comes to us from Christina Culver at Culver City Salads and is the second of a three-part series!
Let’s start with the raw facts. Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gasses than all cars, trucks, planes and other forms of transport combined. A vegetarian diet reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 63%, requires 61% less land and 67% less water. Eating vegan has a climate footprint 31% smaller than a vegetarian diet and 74% smaller than an omnivore diet. Right now we are outnumbered by livestock with about three times as many farm animals as there are humans on this planet… all raised for our consumption. Every second of every day, a chunk of the rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed. The raising of livestock is polluting our rivers, streams and oceans. It is raising the CO2, methane and nitrous oxide levels. Needless to say, it’s doing a lot of damage! Reducing your consumption of animals and animal by-products is the most important thing you can possibly do for the environment. And while I haven’t even raised my concerns about the mistreatment of animals, it’s the amount of species going extinct and the loss of our rain forests that has me devastated.
I have eaten a plant-based diet for the past eight years. It all started when my best friend, Leila, had just gone vegan and knew full well that if I was more informed I would make the change too! She started inundating me with articles and video clips. At first I was resistant, but as she predicted, I got to the point where I couldn’t ignore the facts any longer. For me, the dietary risks are what shocked me the most! I read the book ‘Skinny Bitch’ en route to a family ski trip and before I’d even finished the book, I’d made up my mind… there was absolutely no going back. I remember Leila first mentioned to me that if everyone on this planet committed to eating plant-based even just three days out of the week that we could turn around all of the environment damage. I really liked the sound of that!
Gone are the days when veganism was reserved for extreme hippies. If you haven’t noticed, it’s totally mainstream… maybe even trendy! But it’s a trend that’s already transformed into an evolved way to live and eat in harmony with our planet. For one it is way more accessible. You’ll find that restaurants now have interesting vegan options on the menus, or at the very least can accommodate every dietary need, and grocery stores are stocked with tons of great plant based alternatives. Not to mention, vegan versions of all of your favorite omnivore dishes are a simple click away. There’s really nothing stopping you. What I wanted to accomplish from the get-go was to very discreetly change perspectives and misconceptions of eating a plant-based diet. I decided the easiest way to do that was by serving up delicious food that I called “vegan trickery”. I made a point of not telling people that is was lacking in animal proteins and dairy. I changed a lot of minds and helped a handful of my friends and family transition to a vegan diet.
Eating plant-based is not about depriving yourself – quite the opposite! In my former omni life I never ate such rich and delicious food. Avocado everything. Nut-based cheeses and spreads. Coconut creams and sauces. Contrary to popular belief, it’s also a lot simpler. No fussing about overlooking your meat. No worrying about catching food-borne illnesses. I dare you to find vegan recipes for your staples and favorite dishes and give them a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed, and I bet you have fun while you’re at it.
Ultimately, every little bit counts and makes a huge environmental impact. My hope is that everyone can make some small changes that they feel good about. Maybe that means jumping on the ‘Meatless Monday’ bandwagon, or sampling a different plant-based recipe every week, or maybe it’s taking the plunge and committing to eating plant-based all the time. There are certainly no rules and it does not need to be all or nothing. I know plenty of people who eat plant-based most of the time but will occasionally eat some fish or an egg. Do what works for you. Just know that by consciously decreasing your meat and dairy consumption you are significantly reducing your carbon footprint, and doing it at your own pace will bring more peace to your mind, body and soul as well as the health of the planet. Happy Earth Day!
Plant Lovin’ Inspo:
– My bestie Lauren Toyota posts the most amazing recipes – @hotforfood / hotforfoodblog.com
– My friend Erin Ireland also shares the most divine photos and recipes too – @erinireland / itstodiefor.ca
– For all your salad needs and so much more @culvercitysalads /culvercitysalads.com
+Peace + Love + Salads
Images by FP Emily.