Meat, aquaculture, eggs, and dairy use makes up 83% of the world’s farmland and contribute 56 to 58% of food’s different emissions, despite providing only 37% of our protein and 18% of our calories.
“The global adoption of healthy diets from sustainable food systems would safeguard our planet and improve the health of billions. Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of ill health worldwide. Globally dietary changes towards a plant-based diet can prevent approximately 11 million deaths per year.
The data is both sufficient and strong enough to warrant immediate action. Delaying action will only increase the likelihood of serious, even disastrous, consequences. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits. Overall, the literature indicates that such diets are win-win”
— The EAT Lancet report 2019
Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.
On top of the environment here are other reasons to eat mainly plant-based:
Nutrition and Health
A whole food, plant-based diet is one that centres on whole, unrefined and unprocessed foods. It is made up of fruits, vegetables, tubers, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It highly reduces or excludes all red meat such as beef and pork, white meat such as chicken, all fish, all dairy products and eggs. It also excludes most refined and processed foods such refined flours, sugars and oils.The research on the benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet is expanding, particularly in the field of cardiovascular disease, weight management, chronic disease management, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
The main ways this diet can help with these conditions are:
- Naturally Reduced Saturated Fat: Saturated fat is mainly found in animal products and refined plant oils such as coconut and palm. Eating a wholefood plant-based diet eliminates most of these sources.
- Naturally Reduced Dietary Cholesterol: Wholefoods such as fruits veg, beans, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds contain no dietary cholesterol. Not only is your intake of dietary cholesterol reduced through this pattern of eating, but the properties that assist with excretion of cholesterol, such as beta-glucans, are found in foods such as oats and beans.
- Reduced Intake of Foods infused with Antibiotics and Artificial Hormones: Antibiotics are used in animal agriculture to prevent infections from spreading among animals kept in unhygienic and overcrowded conditions. Artificial hormones are also utilised to speed up growth of an animal to produce greater yield, and these hormones can enter human circulation if the animal is eaten.
- Increased Intake of Fibre: Fibre is only found in plant-based foods. The more fibre in your diet, the better equipped the body is to eliminate waste, excrete cholesterol, maintain weight and optimise immune function.
- Increased Intake of Antioxidants: Antioxidants are essential for neutralising free-radicals, which can cause a significant amount of internal damage over time, promoting ageing.
By choosing to eat a more plant-based diet you are also choosing a cruelty-free way of living. Independently on how animals were raised for meat, dairy or eggs, whether in a cage or in the field, they all end up with the same fate which is a violent and sad death. Overfishing also causes the destruction of biodiversity causing the entire ecosystem to suffer. Last but not least an average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. By consuming bee’s hard-earned honey it leaves bees with an insufficient amount and they will die. It is known the world needs bees to survive so would you opt for other alternatives such as date, brown rice, maple or agave syrup; xylitol, erythritol or stevia to sweeten your meals?
Avoiding processed foods might help with reducing food package and here are extra tips to cut down on waste:
- Keep an eye on best before dates and make sure food is used in time before going shopping again. Apps are available to help shopping/using what’s in the cupboard.
- Plan ahead of time and always keep some healthy food in your freezer for those lazy days. You can meal-prep over the weekend, this can be especially fun for kids!
- When unpacking the shopping, keep the food that needs to be used first in view in the fridge as a reminder .
- Make sure your fridge is working correctly, at the right temperature ( between 1-5 degrees Celsius)
- Don’t over fill the fridge as it won’t work as well and it will also waste energy.
- Prepare correct portion sizes to minimise leftovers or even better use any leftovers for lunch/ dinner the next day.
- Choose the misshapen veg/ fruit – save it from being thrown out. It’s often cheaper too! Check your local shops at the end of the day for reductions or certains places such as Noms offer free produce sometimes before having to dispose of it.
- Compost: Check with your bin collection company as many also offer the collection of compost as part of your bin plan.
- Separate waste properly and get to know what type of packaging can actually be recycled. It is very important to make sure you only put on the recycling bin those that can be recycled as including non-recyclebe items on your green bin can lead to contamination. When a batch of recyclables is contaminated, there’s a good chance it’ll be rejected and end up in the landfill. In other words, because of that one problematic thing you tried to recycle, tons of properly recycled items get landfilled.
- Request less packaging at your supermarket: get in touch on email/social media.
- Choose loose veg, lower packaging options and buy in bulk, not if it results in food waste though!
- Other tips on food waste Here
Resources to Learn From
Check out the Act Now What I Eat page for practical steps to help put this into practice and to find many more resources on the topic.
For animal welfare:
For waste reduction: