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.
Your enthusiasm for following a vegan/vegetarian diet is infectious. And you do a good job of backing up your choice with statistics. However, “No worrying about catching food born illnesses.” is incorrect and should never be used as a reason for following said diet. Vegetables can and have caused serious illnesses from being contaminated at the source and from ill people who do not wash their hands properly when making it. Knowing where your food comes from and following proper washing, storing and cooking will lessen the chances of getting sick. When you eat out you can’t inspect the food prep area and cooks, so you have to trust they are following good practices and take a chance. Most likely you’ll be fine.
I really enjoy all of the articles posted on the FP blog that give light on environmental issues and health. The only concern I have is that there are no sources given for the statistics, facts, and information that gives the content validity. I am hesitant to share with friends because of missing info. So, can we start seeing sources on the FP blog? Just a thought :)
I totally agree with Kayla. No information no matter how interesting and important can be valid without support from (valid) sources. Looking forward to seeing sources on FP blogs!
As a vegan, I’m thrilled to see this post. My only gripe is that free people still sells leather and suede goods. This needs to end. Cruelty for our own personal enjoyment and fashion is unacceptable especially when we have access to so many other materials. Thank you for posting this.
Thanks for sharing this. My sister became a vegetarian just a couple of months ago, and I’ve been doing some research of my own recently. Your enthusiasm is very reassuring. I’m now following your Insta suggestions!
Love this post so much! I’ve been vegan for almost a year now and love it! Hopefully with my support, more of my family and friends will go vegan – I already have a few that have converted to vegetarianism and veganism. Thanks for spreading great information and proving that this lifestyle is very approachable!
Kayla and Mariella,
Netflix is streaming the documentary COWSPIRACY and that will be all the validity you need! Please watch it. It is eye opening and life changing.
*In order to live a truly peaceful life we must value and respect all life.
I wish more people would reduce their meat consumption. I started eating vegetarian 1-2 days a week after watching a bunch of Netflix food documentaries about 2 years ago. I highly suggest “Vegucated” if it is still on Netflix. Now I eat 95% vegetarian and my meat loving boyfriend is on board with the change. He was prehypertensive at 25 (bad genes) before we started eating less meat, now his BP is normal. We both feel lighter and spend so much less on groceries!
For a while I thought that eating grass fed beef when I do eat meat was better for us and the environment, “Cowspiracy” proved that to be a false assumption!