It’s widely accepted that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes is good for our bodies. But is such a diet good for the Earth? Many studies have found that emphasizing plant-based foods over animal products puts less of a strain on water and land resources, making a strong environmental case as well.
How does eating meat negatively affect the environment? First, producing feed for animals requires much more water than is required for raising plants. It takes 19 liters of water to produce one gram of protein from pulses, 26 liters from vegetables, 29 from eggs and 112 from beef, according to Water Footprint Network, a Netherlands-based not-for-profit organization. According to a United Nations (UN) report, the livestock business results not only in much greater water usage, but also contributes to environmental pollution when animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, fertilizers and pesticides seep into aquifers and reservoirs. Animal feed also requires vast amounts of land to grow – land that could be used to grow food for human consumption. Another issue is deforestation, as trees are cleared for grazing and the production of animal feed.
Lastly, livestock are a huge source of greenhouse-gas emissions. The UN report estimates that livestock account for about almost one-fifth of greenhouse gases.
To reduce your impact on the Earth, consider going meatless a few days a week. Whole grains, beans, legumes and even vegetables are high-protein alternatives to meat consumption. They will provide you with many essential nutrients as well as fiber. Choose organic food, and you will not only reduce your personal exposure to chemical contaminants but also support farming practices that are better for the environment. Farming practices used to grow organic food are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and to reduce pollution. The best option of all may be to grow your own food. Nothing tastes better than garden-fresh produce that you nurture, pick and prepare yourself!
Choose MadeGood® for your on-the-go snacking options. All MadeGood Granola Minis and Bars are organic, non-GMO and made from whole grains. And they also contain one serving of vegetables in each package. Nice! Choose from a variety of minis, bars and squares in everyone’s favorite flavors like chocolate-banana, chocolate chip, apple-cinnamon, mixed berry and cinnamon.
Author: Karen Gilman is a Registered Holistic NutritionistTM and the founder of www.nutrilicious.ca. When not working with families with vegetarian children, you can find her blogging about food or in the kitchen baking up healthy treats for her family.