It’s a question I’ve heard a million times. It has been posed to me over, and over (and over) again: “So if you don’t eat animals, what do you eat? Broccoli? Salad?” Well yeah, I do enjoy broccoli and salad from time to time, but I also eat plenty of other things. The options on a plant-based diet are literally endless and, I would argue, far more numerous and diverse than those of the typical omnivorous diet. And if you’re wondering what a plant-based diet is, I will explain.
It is a diet consisting of foods derived primarily from plants; it either restricts the use of animal products or uses them in sparse moderation, and it completely exempts processed and packaged foods. Another name for a plant-based diet is a whole foods diet, and generally people who follow these diets try to stick to organic foods to ensure they are getting maximum nutrition and avoiding exposure to pesticides.
If you are someone who is aware of how most conventional food is produced and no longer want to support it, but you are worried about having to sacrifice great taste, variety, and satiety, I encourage you to put that doubt and worry aside and give it a shot! You’ll be pleasantly surprised with just how many truly amazing meals can be achieved whilst eating primarily plants.
Check Out The Video Below For A Great Example Of What I’m Talking About
What do you eat on a whole-food, plant-based diet? Some food porn for Friday—here’s what a whole-food, plant-based diet actually looks like.
Recipes here: forksoverknives.com/recipes.
Posted by FORKS OVER KNIVES on Friday, April 8, 2016
Why Choose A Plant-Based Diet?
There are countless reasons why you may want to consider adopting this diet. The main 3 categories include: health, environment, and animal rights.
Countless studies have been conducted which clearly demonstrate that if the majority of the calories you are consuming each day is coming from plant-based foods, your risk of developing disease is significantly smaller. One of the most comprehensive studies ever performed on this subject is “The China Study.” Conducted by Drs. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell, it found a direct connection between nutrition and heart-disease, diabetes, and cancer, proving that cultures which eat primarily plant-based diets have lower to no instances of these diseases, and that switching to a plant-based diet can reverse diseases already established in the body. The China Study is recognized as the most complete nutritional study ever conducted on the relationship between diet and disease. I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, (available on Netflix) which delves into this in more detail.
Recently a new federal report was issued which outlined the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based or vegan diet and apparently, the meat industry is not too happy about it, with representatives arguing that sustainability shouldn’t be a topic of discussion for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. A representative from the North American Meat Industry complained: “The same concern would exist if an expert sustainability committee were making nutrition policy recommendations, it is not appropriate for the person designing a better light bulb to be telling Americans how to make a better sandwich.”
“Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)
“Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009) (source)
A diet based primarily on factory farmed animals and animal products is absolutely, 100% destroying our environment. Here are some statistics that may shock you.
- 260 million acres (and counting) of US forests have been clear-cut to create land for producing feed for livestock.
- 70% of the grain that is produced in the US is fed to farm animals.
- Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have stated that the equivalent of SEVEN football fields of land is bulldozed every single minute to create more land for farming animals.
- 2,400 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of meat. Only 25 gallons are needed to produce 1 pound of wheat. You would save more water by not showering for 6 months than you would by eating a pound of meat!
- In the 2004-2005 crop season all the wild animals and trees in over 2.9 million acres of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil were destroyed in order to grow crops to produce feed for chickens and other factory farmed animals.
- Close to half of all water used in the USA goes to the production of animals for food.
- A United Nations report from 2006 states that animal agriculture is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”
- The EPA reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the US come from animal waste. Atmospheric ammonia can disrupt aquatic ecosystems, ruin soil quality, damage crops, and jeopardize human health.
For more information and statistics, check out the documentary Cowspiracy, available on Netflix!
Millions Of Animals Are Being Raised, Tortured Their Entire Lives, Then Slaughtered
Animals are being bred on a massive scale for the sole purpose of consumption. Because demands are high, the animals are subjected to appalling and inhumane living conditions. Cows who are meant to eat grass are being fed corn in order to fatten them up quicker, even though corn lacks the essential nutrients cows need. (Incidentally, products made from corn-fed cows are also less nutritious for humans.) Many cows go their whole lives without so much as stepping a foot onto green grass. Chickens are kept in battery cages where they are pumped full of growth hormones to get them big enough for the consumer in as little time as possible. Pigs are kept in gestation crates where they can’t even stand up and turn around until they too will be slaughtered to keep up with the demand for meat and animal products. These animals are regularly abused, and all for what? To satisfy our taste buds? We don’t need to be eating nearly as many animals and animal products as we are today. And this leads me to my next point…
You Don’t Need To Give Up Animal Products Completely, Just Make Better Choices
I know a lot of you are thinking, Will this stupid vegan chick quit preaching to me and telling me how to live my life? First I’ll clarify that I am not vegan. I have been vegan before, but it wasn’t the best fit for me. What I am suggesting, rather, is to start cutting back on the amount of animal products you consume and consider adopting a more plant-based diet. This will not only benefit you — mind, body and soul — but also our great mother earth and all sentient beings on it. There is a term called reducetarian which explains this idea perfectly.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out Meatless Mondays and start by pledging to have one meat free day a week. This will get the ball rolling and force you to explore some new options. Also for some very simple plant-based meal ideas, check out the following: 16 One Pot Dinners If You Are Considering Cutting Animals Out OF Your Diet.
Really, what have you got to lose? Who’s willing to give this a try and make a change?
Image credit: OhSheGlows Check out Anegla’s site for great recipes and resources.
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