Reducing your footprint with a plant-based diet
How do I start a plant-based journey?
One of my biggest drivers for starting VegMeUp is the state of our planet. I am convinced (and so shows the data) that we have to dramatically cut back our environmental footprint and live more sustainably with the world’s limited resources. Even making the decision to start with a part-time plant-based diet will make a huge positive impact on your environmental footprint. This is due to the enormous detrimental impact of animal agriculture in creating harmful greenhouse gas emissions including carbon and methane.
I understand that it can be very challenging to stop eating meat, fish and diary if this is a big part of your regular diet, and is something I struggled with this myself. Where do you even start? Many people find it difficult to make this change overnight and may fail in their plant-based journey by trying to make the shift without learning how to substitute and replace meat and dairy products, and how to get a balanced diet.
Sometimes it can be better to make changes in baby steps; slow consistent and incremental progress may give you a better chance of succeeding. Simple steps like having 2-3 plant-based meals a week, replacing your butter for nuttelex, and working out your preferred plant-based milk to use in your coffee or tea (such as soy, oat, almond, macadamia, or coconut milk) are a great way to start. Mindset is also important. Rather than thinking you have to “give up” food you love, I’ve found you end up replacing with a range of other equally delicious options. Getting used to your new habits for a couple of weeks may make moving on to the next step less daunting. Following some inspirational Instagram pages and listening to podcasts to keep informed with news and facts can also help you to stay motivated.
Read the study results below for some mind-blowing facts that will help you stay motivated on your journey.
Study to plant-based food and environmental footprint
According to a study Feb2019, a plant-based diet is the “single biggest measure” that can be taken to reduce environmental pollution. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that not eating meat and dairy products but having a plant-based/vegan diet instead can reduce a person’s carbon footprint by up to 73%.
If all people worldwide were to stop eating meat products and replace these with vegan and plant-based food, the area of land used for global agriculture could be reduced by around 75%. This would correspond to the combined size of the USA, China, Australia and the EU; such a reduction would lead to an enormous decline in greenhouse gas emissions. The remaining agricultural land would be sufficient to feed the world’s population, according to scientists. The loss of natural habitat due to agriculture is the main cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.
The study analysed data from nearly 40,000 farms in 119 countries. The researchers examined a total of 40 agricultural products, which account for 90% of global protein and calorie consumption. The impact of these foods – from producer to consumer – on land use, greenhouse gas emissions, freshwater use and water and air pollution was comprehensively assessed.
The results show that the environmental impact of animal products significantly exceeds that of plant products. While global meat and milk production is responsible for 60% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, the products themselves account for only 37% of protein and 18% of calories in the diet.
The study leader Joseph Poore says a vegan/ plant-based diet is the best way to reduce an individual’s environmental footprint. The consumption of plant-based foods not only reduces greenhouse gases, but also global acidification and land and water use.
The effect is “far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he explained, since the latter would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy,” he added in an interview with The Independent.
1]This section quotes analysis and information provided from the following source: https://vegconomist.com/society/new-study-vegan-diet-reduces-carbon-footprint-by-73/
Eat more plants!
I hope that reading this blog has helped to motivate you to eat more plants if you have been struggling on your journey. Slowly progressing in the right direction may be more effective than trying to make a full change from the start. VegMeUp can help with our delicious meal options for 2, 3 or 4 days a week. Delivered to your door in sustainable packaging with easy-to-follow recipe cards. Start experimenting with plant-based food now to reduce your footprint!