Why Choose Plant-Based Food?
What does it mean to eat plant-based, whole foods?
It means eating foods that are minimally processed. Think foods that you could grow yourself if you had a large farm or small garden. You eat as many whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes as you desire.
What are the benefits?
There are so many reasons for adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Some people make the choice for the environment or for their personal health. While others make the decision for the welfare of animals. Some may even decide it is just cheaper and that all the other reasons are a bonus. Whatever the reason for your curiosity or decision, there are so many benefits you may reap!
Researchers have found the adoption of a plant-based lifestyle reduces the impact of climate change. But how? Food production is responsible for up to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and animal food production accounts for about three-quarters of these effects. Plant-based eating is associated with the greatest reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.
Agriculture alone accounts for about 70 percent of freshwater use, making it the world’s largest water consuming sector. Meat and dairy industries lead the way in using copious amounts of water. The production of just one pound of beef requires approximately 6800 liters of water. If we cut animal consumption in half, our food production would require about 37 percent less water. Plus, if we ate more beans and less beef, we would require about 42 percent less cropland!
Animal welfare increases when we stop eating animals. It seems like common sense, right? No animals dying means happier animals. Awesome! But what about eggs and dairy? No animals are being killed for their eggs and milk, but what we don’t often consider is what does happen when animals are used for these products.
Battery hens, which are chickens used for laying eggs, are usually kept in cages so small they can never fully expand their wings. They are forced to share these enclosures with 5-10 other hens. This can be incredibly stressful for the hens. When the hens can no longer lay eggs, they are disposed of in very inhumane ways. Similarly, cows that are used only for their milk are kept in very small facilities and are bred to produce large quantities of milk. Like humans, cows can only produce milk after giving birth so they are artificially impregnated three months after the birth of their last calf. After the cows can no longer produce milk, which is about 3 years, they are used in the beef industry.
By not consuming meat, dairy, or eggs, we can be an advocate for the well-being of all living things.
Personal Health Benefits:
Research shows adopting a plant-based lifestyle can be a low-cost, low-risk intervention to reduce body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Research suggests that “plant-based diets may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease events by an estimated 40% and the risk of cerebral vascular disease events by 29%.” These diets may reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes by about one half. Properly planned vegetarian diets have been studied as healthful, effective solutions for weight and glycemic control, and provide metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, including reversing atherosclerosis and decreasing blood lipids and blood pressure. Additionally, it may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates.
Plant-based nutrition has been shown to protect against many cancers. The effects of plant-based nutrition on breast, prostate, colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers have been studied the most with positive results. If you are reading this and thinking, “I am a healthy human, why should I change if nothing is wrong?” Here are a few extra bonuses: better sleep, increased energy, faster recovery times, and increased metabolism. Plus who doesn’t want be on the preventative side rather than the reactive side of treating illness?
Will it fit my budget?
If the reasons above do not sound appealing, your bank account is also a factor in this transition. It can be very easy to get caught in the noise of trendy foods. And more often than not, they are very expensive. But a whole food, plant-based lifestyle is more practical than trendy. If you compare the price of a pound of beef to a pound of beans, you would be able to tell which the more frugal decision is. There is an opportunity to save about 2000-2700 Euros every year. Just switching away from meat 4 meals a week could save you about 400-600 Euros per year!
What is Next?
Experiment! Have fun! Be curious! Explore! This is new and exciting so try it all before making a decision. You could start by including more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to your diet and choosing to eat meat only a few days a week. After that, the opportunity is endless by slowly decreasing animal product consumption and adding more plant-based drinks such as almond milk, herbal tea, and infused water. And adding seeds, roots, and all the spices to all your meals!
Read about the farmers and suppliers of the wonderful organic ingredients we use for your delicious meals.
You can find us on Happy Cow.
We are joining them in promoting compassionate living.