Going Green: Vegan diets can help to benefit the planet
There’s never a bad month to switch to being plant based but November happens to have world vegan day on the 1st and it’s also Veg Pledge month where people are being encouraged to go vegetarian for a week.
As someone with a farming family, when I announced I was going vegetarian aged 14, my decision was met with disappointment by my family who couldn’t contemplate a plate without meat on it.
Not only that but back then, vegan choices were pretty much chips, salad and bowls of vegetables. Linda McCartney was my hero. It’s been incredible watching the plant based revolution grow since.
Now there’s no need to miss anything because the food choices are so varied. If you want meat substitutes there are plenty of vegan options from fake pulled pork to sausages, bacon and everything in between.
If you decide to start with a few vegetarian meals a week instead of going straight to plant based, there are tonnes of options when it comes to foods.
Lentil Bolognese is a thing of beauty, lots of seasonings and your family won’t really taste the difference. And beans and pulses are so much cheaper than meat – eating plant based reduces food costs by up to a third according to a study from Oxford University.
Vegetable curries are delicious and veggies are a great carrier for those spicy, warm curry flavours.
There are some great recipes out there for stuffed whole butternut squashes that you carve like you would a joint on a Sunday so the ceremony of meal times doesn’t have to be sacrificed either.
While there’s no need to compromise on taste or flavour when it comes to going plant based, it’s worth always remembering the staggering difference ditching meat and dairy will make when it comes to the environment.
Research from Oxford University found plant-based diets lead to 75 per cent less climate-heating emissions, land use and water pollution than carnivorous ones. That’s a huge impact by anyone’s standards.
Vegan diets also make a huge difference to biodiversity.
The same research found they reduce water use by 54 percent and cut wildlife destruction by 66 percent.
But it’s not just the planet that’ll benefit if you decide to move towards a planet based lifestyle. Research from an international medical journal found vegans have a nine percent lower risk of death from all causes.
Whatever your motivation for giving it a go there really are so many benefits for everyone if you decide to go vegan or try being plant based.
So while I’d advocate for anyone to give it a try and see how they get on with it, why not talk to friends and give it a go at the same time that a lot of other people will be too.