7 Environmental Reasons for Choosing a Plant-Based Diet
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The idea of choosing a plant-based diet may seem, at first, to be a personal choice that is based on individual tastes and needs. Research is starting to suggest that, in truth, it may go much deeper than that. In fact, according to that research, a plant-based diet could be the answer to quite a few of the world’s problems, including the lack of essential nutrition in the diets of many humans. Here are 7 environmental reasons for choosing a plant-based diet.
1. A Plant-Based Diet Could Ensure Essential Nutrition for Everyone
Farming was once looked upon as a moderately primitive institution, providing essential nutrition to people in various communities. Farmers mostly worked in the dirt with their hands and essential tools to plant and cultivate fruits and vegetables while tending to herds of animals bred for food. Although it seemed to be a simple way of life, farming was, and still is, a noble undertaking. Growing food was, and remains, vital to every human on earth.
Agricultural development has come a long way in recent decades, enabling us to produce enormously larger amounts of food than the simple farmer could have ever dreamed of. Despite this exploding abundance of food, however, humankind still has not managed to stamp out hunger or provide essential nutrition to a large percentage of the people on the earth. As a result, malnutrition among humans is soon expected to reach an all-time high. Some research suggests that choosing a plant-based diet could help alleviate some of these issues.
2. A Plant-Based Diet is More Sustainable
According to the evidence presented in recent studies, the animal-based diet that much of the world enjoys is putting a heavy strain on an already fragile food system. In turn, this threatens the security of our global food supply, increases our risks of a health crisis, and adds pressure to environmental sustainability across the globe. Moreover, some research suggests that meat consumption has even added to and caused food crisis issues we may soon face.
Knowing this, it is easy to see how a plant-based diet could be the answer to providing sustainable food sources to people worldwide, while providing essential nutrition on a global scale. Removing meat from your diet could be part of a larger movement to target these issues at their source and improve the ethical and nutritional voids that are part of our everyday lives.
Oxford suggests that a plant-based diet is more sustainable for our environment because it uses fewer natural resources than a diet that heavily depends on meat consumption. Environmental data shows that the current food preferences of the world include diets that are high in both meat and dairy products, a fact that is quickly becoming unsustainable. Reports say that this is causing nonrenewable resources to become scarce, quickly degrading our environment.
3. A Plant-Based Diet Can Help Protect Water Resources
The research published in Oxford’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that there is an apparent link between agricultural productivity and the degradation of the environment. One of the environmental stressors detrimental to humankind is the drain on our water resources.
Most of the cropland in the United States is maintained by rainwater. Despite this, it still requires close to 80% of the nation’s water to irrigate crops and water livestock. In addition, both surface and groundwater are often polluted agricultural practices, causing devastating water issues.
Actions such as waterlogging, salinization of soils, overdrafting of aquifers, loss of wetlands, runoff, leakage from irrigation systems, and evaporation all contribute to the damage that agricultural work does to our water supply. These issues are even further exacerbated during extended or seasonal drought. Perhaps it would help lessen this strain if our water supply was not needed for livestock.
4. A Plant-Based Diet Would Vastly Lessen Waste Generation
The aforementioned research from Oxford also shows that the above-mentioned pollution issues are vastly worsened by an increase in animal production for food. In the United States, 130 times more waste is created by our 7 billion livestock than would be made by 300 million humans. A lot of this animal waste goes untreated.
Animal waste contains traces of metals, antibiotics, potassium compounds, phosphorus, and nitrogen, which both the US Department of Agriculture and the World Health Organization see as a serious concern. In addition, gasses such as methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide from animals are global issues.
5. A Plant-Based Diet Can Lessen Land Degradation
The vast amount of livestock needed to satisfy most people's needs on the planet takes a significant toll on the natural habitats and contributes to the degradation of a large amount of land. Reports from the Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that livestock uses more land than any other anthropogenic user. Livestock takes up 70% of the agricultural land on the planet and 30% of all of the earth’s habitat.
The livestock production pushes many destructive habits in our ecosystems, such as deforestation, erosion, pollution, soil compaction, and more. Sedimentation of wetlands, waterways, and coastal lands is also an issue of livestock production. Some types of livestock even spread disease.
6. Animal-Based Diets Are Less Efficient
While grass-fed livestock is available, it is not the primary source of meat found in supermarkets and grocery stores in developed countries, according to researchers. Most of the livestock fed to humans was raised on grains, which could be a food source for humans themselves. These studies suggest that the energy spent on growing livestock for food is far greater than it would be for increasing the same amount of plant-based food.
The amount of grain that it takes to produce the same amount of meat varies but is around 2.3 times the amount for chicken and about 13 times the amount for beef. So, to get a pound of beef, you’d have to use 13 pounds of grain. You can apply the same process to dairy and eggs; how much grain is needed to keep a milk cow producing or feed a laying hen?
It is estimated that it takes about 11 times more fossil energy to produce animal protein than produce plant protein for people to eat. That ratio varies according to the type of meat consumed. It takes four times more energy to produce chicken protein than grain protein but 40 times more energy to produce beef protein. With that knowledge, it seems as though growing meat for food is simply inefficient when compared to growing plant-based foods.
7. Plant-Based Diets are Healthier for Humans
With all of the research that shows the environmental advantages of a plant-based diet, you may still be asking, “What good does it do to save the environment if we compromise the health of those who live in it?” You wouldn’t be alone in assuming that giving up meat for a plant-based diet would cut out vital nutrients that you need for essential nutrition. The truth is quite surprising.
A diet heavy in meat, especially red meat and pork, can cause all sorts of health issues. Chronic inflammation, pain, fatigue, irritability, brain fog, and more have all been linked to the consumption of these meats. Most of us could benefit from a diet that is lighter in meat and processed foods and higher in nutrient-dense foods.
Two-thirds of the United States population is overweight, with a third of them obese. We know that this can cause many health issues. This is why we created LyfeFuel. We help people learn to eat a plant-based whole food diet rich with plant-based recipes to ensure that they receive the essential nutrition needed to look and feel great.
LyfeFuel isn’t just for those who are suffering from health issues, however. We offer ways to help improve stamina and enhance energy for some of the healthiest people on the planet, including athletes. A plant-based protein after a workout, for example, can help you recover from vigorous exercises, such as weight lifting or long-distance running, much quicker than an animal-based protein.
If you’d like to find out how a plant-based diet can improve your mood, energy level, and health, our 21 Day Transformation is a great place to start. This program is excellent for those who want to lose weight, increase their energy levels, or just stop feeling so tired and “out of it.”
This program is not like other cleanses, fad diets, or detoxes that you may have heard of. Instead, it is the beginning of your training on how to live a healthier and more successful life.
With this 21 Day Transformation, you will learn the habits and recipes that will help you stick to a healthier way of living.
Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.