vegetarianism,

examined

a friendly website for people who are tired of feeling personally attacked by plant-based enthusiasts.

We know that eating plant-based is not for everyone, and for many it's not even a strict rule. 

But have you ever wondered why so many people are stoked about being vegetarian?

Here we examine some of the reasons why plant-based diets are exploding in popularity, and some of the ways vegetables can benefit you.

environment

Chances are, you have become increasingly aware of climate change in recent years.  You may be wondering what you can do.  Adopting a partially vegetarian diet is one small step that can make a big difference.

So how does vegetarianism help the environment?

Reduces Carbon Emissions

Industrial Smoke

"Eating a veggie diet means 2.5 x less carbon emissions than a meat diet...By eating vegetarian food for a year you could save the same amount of emissions as taking a small family car off the road for 6 months..." (Ma, 2021).

"A vegetarian diet greatly reduces an individual’s carbon footprint, but switching to less carbon intensive meats can have a major impact as well. For example, beef's GHG emissions per kilogram are 7.2 times greater than those of chicken" (Heller, et. al., 2020).

Uses Land Wisely

Holding Plant

"A vegetarian diet requires two-and-a-half times less the amount of land needed to grow food, compared to a meat-based diet." (Ma, 2021)

"If everyone stopped eating these foods, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75 per cent, an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined" (Petter, 2020).

Saves Water

Water

1 pound of beef requires anywhere between 2000 and 8,000 gallons of water to produce, according to studies conducted by UC Davis.   Much of this water is used in creating the feed for the cows, whether it is grass or grain.

Similarly, 1 gallon of cow’s milk requires 1950 gallons of water.

Conversely, 1 pound of Tofu requires 302 gallons of water to produce, and it requires 290 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of unprocessed oats.  (Hunnes, n.d.)

It may not be realistic to expect the whole world to go veg.

But what if each of us made small changes, found new ways to enjoy our veggies, and ate one less meat meal a week? 

By reducing our animal product intake, we can reduce carbon emissions, use our land wisely, and save resources that are becoming increasingly scarce.

health

Another great reason for adopting a partial plant-based diet is health. 

Every body has different needs, and health can look different for everyone. 

it is generally considered a good idea to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, and a vegetarian diet can help with that.

For many, vegetarianism promotes

bodily wellness and mental health!

Mental Balance

Image by Chen Mizrach

A UK study suggests "significant links between consuming fruits and vegetables and attaining better mental health.  Compared to some health-related changes (such as quitting smoking or jogging each day), consuming more fruits and vegetables is easier and less time-consuming. And unlike medications, fruits and vegetables do not have a long list of negative side effects" (Emamzadeh, 2019).

Low fat/high fiber

Image by Monika Grabkowska

"Brazier states that 'One reason is that many people who follow a vegetarian diet tend to consume a high proportion of fresh, healthful, plant-based foods, which provide antioxidants and fiber. When a person decides to follow a meat-free diet, they often become more active in making overall healthy choices.' Vegetarians may focus on whether they intake enough nutrients or not and pay more attention to balance their diet to assure if they have enough nutrients" (Ma, 2021).

Disease Prevention

Image by Nadine Primeau

"Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses" (Ma, 2021).

You might be thinking, these are solid reasons to eat more plant-based foods, but what If I don't know how to cook vegetarian food? 

 

Have no fear, we've got you covered.

get

inspired.

get

cooking.

Experimenting with vegetarian foods can change your life if you're open to it. 

When I was in my early 20s, I tried Indian food for the first time, which opened up a whole new world of flavors and textures.  Global cuisines often do vegetarian and vegan really well! 

Some of my favorites are Korean (mm hello veggie bibimbap), Mexican/Latin American (I'm Costa Rican and black beans are a delicious daily staple for me), Thai, and Ethiopian.  Even sushi can be made veggie!

There are other ways to get exposed to great vegetarian food without eating out. 

For example, Food Not Bombs (foodnotbombs.net) is a global network of collectives that share vegetarian and vegan food for free. 

I learned to grow, prepare, and cook a lot of veggie foods while volunteering for WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms).  It was a wonderful experience that I highly recommend for all young people interested in learning more about where their food comes from.  It also allowed me to skip winter for a few years by moving to Hawaii.

Wanna get started on your own?

Search #vegetarianrecipes on tiktok

or

check out these cookbooks:

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This Rawsome Vegan Life

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https://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/

Totally raw, totally vegan, totally gorgeous and delicious recipes.

Best Black Bean Burgers

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https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/best-black-bean-burgers/

Full disclosure; I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks amazing.  

More recipe resources:

The main takeaway:

Plant-based food can be delicious and satisfying. 

Eating less meat can have positive benefits for the health of our planet and the health of our bodies.  

I love plant-based food and it makes up most of my diet.

Do I sometimes eat animal products?  Yes, when it feels right.

Over time I have found the balance that works for me.

Life is not black or white.

Diet doesn't have to be either.

Thanks for reading!

Wishing you happy and healthy eating.

Healthy Meal

Works Cited

Emamzadeh, A. (2019, April 15). Does Eating Fruits and Veggies Mean Better Mental Health? | Psychology Today. Psychology Today; Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/201904/does-eating-fruits-and-veggies-mean-better-mental-health

Heller, M., et. al. (2020). Implications of Future US Diet Scenarios on Greenhouse Gas Emissions. http://css.umich.edu/factsheets/carbon-footprint-factsheet#:~:text=A%20vegetarian%20diet%20greatly%20reduces,greater%20than%20those%20of%20chicken.

 

Hunnes, D. (n.d.). The Case for Plant Based | UCLA Sustainability. UCLA Sustainability. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://www.sustain.ucla.edu/food-systems/the-case-for-plant-based/

 

Ma, Q. (2021, February 26). Why Do Some People Think Everyone Should Be a Vegetarian? Portland Community College, Writing 122.

 

Petter, O. (2020, September 24). Veganism is “Single Biggest Way” to Reduce Our Environmental Impact, Study Finds. Independent; Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/veganism-environmental-impact-planet-reduced-plant-based-diet-humans-study-a8378631.html