Save Earth: Stop Eating Meat!

10th January 2021By DZ TeamEnvironment

Save Earth: Stop Eating Meat!

Let's Save Our Planet

You may be asking yourself; how can I save Earth by giving up meat? Well, we are going to explain, so read on!

Meat has always been a part of the diet of the majority of humans on Earth. However, we never really consumed it the way we do today. In the past, meat was a food to only be consumed on special occasions, and most families only had it on Sundays. The rest of their diet was made up of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, and other plants. Eating meat also usually wasn’t an easy feat. It had to be hunted for, or the family had to kill their own livestock.

Contrasting that to today, when we have meat readily available to us 24/7, and some people have it on their plate several times per day. One can’t help but wonder what impact this change has had on the planet we live on.

Getting meat onto our plate is as easy as walking into a supermarket and picking it up off a shelf – and that’s exactly what most people do! However, this change doesn’t come without its consequences, especially when it comes to impact on mother nature. Knowing this, what can we do to save Earth from our new consumption patterns?

Save Earth - Stop Eating Meat – Diet Zest Article

The environmental footprint of meat

Meat pollutes the planet in many different aspects. This is why we have divided its impact into categories of environmental issues and challenges.

Contribution to climate change

Meat has a remarkably high carbon footprint. In fact, data from Our World in Data shows that it isn’t as much where our food comes from that affects our carbon footprint, but what the food is. In meat, many factors contribute to the carbon footprint, but none are as unavoidable as the digestive system of animals.

You may be wondering why it is that beef, lamb, and mutton have by far the highest carbon footprint of all foods. This is because cows and sheep produce methane as they digest (a fast-acting greenhouse gas), that’s very dangerous in the short run.

Deforestation and habitat destruction

To make space for all the food for livestock, rainforests are often being cut down and replaced with fields to cultivate livestock feed. Rainforests aren’t just places of outstanding natural beauty. They are also home to a wide variety of plants and animals going extinct because of deforestation. Often, other foods get mistakenly blamed for this process, when in fact, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes!

Take this, for example – one common crop known for being cultivated in areas where rainforests had been cut down, is soy. However, did you know that most of this soy (80%) is fed to livestock?

 

Cause of future pandemics

Most of us don’t remember an occurrence that would negatively impact our lives as much as the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you know that three-quarters of new diseases humans are affected by come from animals?

Factory farms increase the likelihood of disease spreading from animals to humans, but so do other practices associated with meat production. Mainly, it’s the deforestation process caused by the need for livestock feed. As humans are cutting down forests, they come into contact with wild species, some of which could be carrying highly infectious diseases.

While this isn’t strictly an environmental issue, the pandemic has also had a negative impact on the environment. This is due to the increased need for single-use plastic or increase in food waste.

Can’t we just eat organic?

Eating organic, grass-fed meat is often used as an alternative and referred to as more sustainable and ethical. So, can’t we just switch to organic meats to resolve the issue?

The short answer is no. Now, here is the long answer. Grass-fed, organic meat takes a lot more land to produce. This is because the animals need space to run around outside. This is much better for the animals. However, there simply isn’t enough land on Earth to sustain the demand animal agriculture is receiving now. If we want to reduce our impact on the environment and save Earth, we will need to reduce our consumption. Just switching to a more ethical and eco-friendly source is not enough.

Additionally, eating organic doesn’t decrease environmental threats related to meat production at all. For example, all cows will always produce methane as they digest. This cannot be reduced by producing beef organically.

How to stop eating meat?

If you are someone who doesn’t really enjoy meat in the first place, you may find going vegetarian a piece of cake. However, as we all have different likes and dislikes, you may also be someone who eats meat daily, and can’t imagine giving it up. While in that scenario, it may be a little harder for you to stop eating meat, it’s not impossible. It actually makes for a more rewarding experience in the end! 🙂

In order to save earth, the first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to stop eating meat overnight. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to see any more meat after finding out about its environmental impact, certainly do so. However, if you don’t do well with sudden changes (as most of us don’t), eliminate one type of meat at a time, until you’ve stopped eating meat completely. For example, dedicate your first month to quitting red and processed meats. Next, give up chicken and other poultry in the second month. Then, dedicate the third month to eliminating fish and seafood from your diet. Lastly, give up any hidden meat, such as gelatine, in your last month.

There are plant-based alternatives to meat available in many stores – make use of them to satisfy your cravings. No, they are not going to taste exactly the same, but plant-based food manufacturers are making more progress every day. Keep an open mind and experiment with what you can find in the vegetarian section of the supermarket.

Summing Up

Lastly, always keep in mind why you’ve decided to stop eating meat – to save Earth. Yes, some steps are going to be challenging, but always keep the end goal in mind!

If you need help to take your next step into a meat free lifestyle, why not check out our Personalised Grocery List service.

We'd also be delighted to have you join our community - our amazing “Healing through food” movement!

Vegan Foods List for Veganuary

4th January 2021By DZ TeamGoing Vegan

Vegan Foods List for Veganuary

Happy Veganuary!

Start your Veganuary off with this helpful vegan foods list, so you can walk in the grocery store with confidence!

It’s Veganuary again! It’s time to start the year off with wholesome plant-food goodness. Whether you are already vegan, transitioning, or just trying it out, this helpful vegan foods list will give you some great ideas on what to shop for. Our vegan foods list will provide you with a great variety to make your meals amazing, and not miss out on any nutrients. You will feel better and start your year off great, with nutrient rich food to fuel your body.

 

How to step up your Veganuary

One of the best ways you can fire up your vegan game is by trying out many different plant-based whole foods. This means food that comes in its natural unprocessed form. Nothing is added or taken away. These can be foods like lentils, fruit, vegetables, oats, nuts, and seeds. Make sure to try out new recipes that look interesting and enjoyable for you.

Of course, if you have favorite meat substitutes like veggie sausages, smoked tofu, veggie burgers, keep them. These foods are still tasty, and if they make your vegan experience enjoyable, all the better. However, it is good to use them moderately as many are quite high in salt, refined fats, and other ingredients. The idea is to make veganism fun and delicious. However, make sure to include whole foods with them. They should be a gateway food to more plant-based foods.

Health perks

Plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation in the body. Why is this important? When our body lacks antioxidants, there is an imbalance of free radicals. These free radicals (while necessary for immune and healing functions) can wreak havoc on the body over time. This leads to inflammation which can damage the DNA in our cells, leading to cancer growth.

Plant-based food also has an abundance of fiber. Fiber is paramount, given the statistic that 97% of Americans are fiber deficient. Moreover, fiber is both great and necessary for human health. It keeps our digestive system running smooth, it keeps our heart working at its best, and it keeps us fuller, which can help metabolism and manage weight.

Eating a plant-based diet can improve our longevity, prevent heart disease, diabetes, promote healthy cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This can prevent many debilitating and costly conditions, as well as many needless deaths.

Benefits for the environment

Veganuary is gaining popularity due to the lockdowns, people trying new things, and increasing concerns for the environment. A record 400 000 people signed up to the Veganuary pledge last year. This is followed by 250,000 in 2019, and 170,000 in 2018. Restaurant closures have also forced people to cook more at home.

Eating a diverse plant-based diet helps the environment by encouraging a more diverse food supply. Much of the agriculture on the planet is dedicated to growing single crops. A lot of it isn't even for us, but instead is for feeding livestock.

By eating a plant-based diet, you skip the middleman. The food comes straight from the ground to the plate. Eating seasonal and local can help by reducing carbon footprints, getting fresher tastier, and nutrient rich food. It can also help your local farmers with much needed revenue to put back into their businesses and into the local economy.

Try to keep in mind when using the vegan foods list to shop in season. Try to buy local produce whenever possible. If you have farmers markets in your town or city, this makes it so easy to do both. The money goes straight to the farmers making it more profitable to have markets like these.

 

Vegan Foods List for Veganuary - Diet Zest Article

Getting the most out of your food

When using your vegan food list, it is good to shop and eat with plenty of colors. Include foods that are green, orange, purple, blue, yellow, and red. Eat lots of whole grains, healthy fats, and plant-based protein. Lots of ingredients can be swapped for different ones. It is like a create-your-own adventure of plant-based goodness! 😊 The vegan foods list will help you check all the boxes with flavors and nutrition.

Vegan Grocery List

Fruits

Fruits are always fun to shop for. There are so many different kinds, and it's exciting to try new ones. You can further diversify your fruit shopping by getting different kinds like berries, citrus fruits, and melons.

Vegetables

Like fruits, it is good to try different kinds and colors. You always want to include dark leafy greens. Also be sure to include tomatoes (even if it is a fruit), starchy root vegetables like yams, and potatoes, and other root vegetables like carrots. Frozen vegetables can be a quick and convenient way to include more veggies in your diet.

Protein

Plant-based protein can be best found from tofu, and legumes like lentils, beans, and chickpeas. However, the vegan diet is great because protein can be found in many other things in the vegan foods list like nuts and seeds, greens vegetables like peas, and grains like quinoa, and oats.

Whole Grains

These are good staples to include in your vegan food list. Grains help to include fiber, protein, and complex carbs. This supports heart health and keeps you feeling full throughout the day! Some good grains to include are brown rice, quinoa, oats and farro.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats, and protein. Some good things to include on your vegan foods list are almonds, (and almond butter of course), walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and flax seeds.

Healthy Fats

When eating a plant-based diet it is easy to get too much refined vegetable oils like canola oil, palm oil, and vegan margarine. Instead, try to get fats from avocados, sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil, and from the olives themselves of course. You can also include nuts and seeds as a source of fats.

Herbs and Spices

Do not overlook herbs and spices, as these will bring great flavor to your cooking. Fresh herbs are always great to include whenever possible, but the dried varieties are okay too. Some good options to blast flavor into your food are garlic, rosemary, dill, cilantro, and oregano. If you like Indian cuisine, keep a steady supply of turmeric, paprika, cumin and garam masala (or some other curry spice mix). If you are not sure which spices are best, it's always a good idea to read recipes. This will help you to get an idea of which spices go with which foods. Additionally, try to look up recipes for your favorite foods to learn what spices are in them.

You can check out our recipe ideas and our Personalised Grocery List service.

Also, consider joining our community, our “Healing through food” movement is growing daily!

Go Vegan For The Environment

15th December 2020By DZ TeamEnvironment

Go Vegan For The Environment

Vegan Environment Facts

Are you considering going vegan for the environment? Well, there are various reasons why more and more people choose to go vegan every day. An increasingly popular one is to go vegan for the environment. As more research discovers what the exact impact of animal agriculture is on the environment, and more vegan environment facts come to light, we are finding out that going vegan is one of the best things we can do for our planet.
In this article, we will share some of the most important vegan environment facts, which explain why it’s so beneficial to go vegan for the environment.

 

Vegan For The Environment - Diet Zest Vegan environment facts

The production cycle of our food

In animal agriculture, food grown on farms isn’t consumed directly – instead, it’s fed to livestock. This requires a lot of livestock feed and the animal product which ends up being made feeds much fewer people than the plants would in the first place. Over 700 million tons of food, which could be consumed by humans, is fed to livestock every year. If we all stopped eating animals, we could even solve the world’s food crisis!
This means many more resources are needed to produce animal products, in comparison to plant-based alternatives. Ultimately, the production cycle of animal agriculture is unsustainable by design. Even organic farms cannot avoid this characteristic, making going vegan for the environment the most sustainable solution.

Adding to our carbon footprint

Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental issues we’re facing today – and the vegan environment facts regarding our carbon footprint are truly shocking. Research has found that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gasses than all of the world’s transportation combined. There are many reasons why this is the case.

Firstly, livestock, particularly cows and sheep, produce methane while they digest – a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent in the short run than CO2. However, the good news about methane is that if we reduce our consumption, we’re likely to see the results in our environment much sooner than when reducing our CO2 consumption!

Secondly, slaughterhouses and farms take a lot of energy to power, energy which often comes from fossil fuels. By choosing plant-based options, or deciding to go vegan for the environment, you are not just reducing your energy consumption – but also the carbon emissions associated with it.

Lastly, to grow livestock feed, forests are often cut down, particularly in the Amazon. As the number of trees which could compensate for our release of greenhouse gasses decreases, so do the effects of climate change. However, climate change is not the only issue deforestation causes – it also leads to widespread species extinction and soil degradation in the area.

Effects on our oceans

When speaking of vegan environment facts, we often focus on farming of livestock, rather than fishing. However, industrial fishing is one of the most environmentally damaging activities related to the sourcing of animal products – and an incredibly good reason to go vegan for the environment.

Firstly, the demand for fish and seafood is severely endangering marine species targeted by the fishermen. The fish simply cannot multiply fast enough to keep the population size stable, because so many are being caught. Some data even suggest the oceans could be fishless by 2048 if we don’t take action. Although some steps are being taken to address this issue, we need much more widespread bans on fishing in these endangered areas – until that happens, the best thing to do for the environment and our ocean is to go vegan.

As if it wasn’t enough that these targeted species are being endangered, so are other sea animals. This is happening because the fishing nets used by industrial fishing are exceptionally large and catch anything that comes in their way – this includes not just the target fish but also other animals, including dolphins, sharks, turtles and many endangered species. This phenomenon is referred to as bycatch and costs billions of animals their lives annually. Why do the animals die? They often get severely injured in the process and are thrown overboard, dead or dying

 

Vegan For The Environment & Vegan Environment Facts - Diet Zest

Wasting and polluting our water

It takes a lot of water to produce animal products – we need 100 to 200 more water to produce a pound of beef compared to a plant-based alternative. Besides water for the livestock to drink, a lot of water is also used to clean and maintain the facilities they are kept in.

Animal agriculture is also a big polluter of water, as faecal matter often leaks into rivers and contaminating them. Animal waste runoff is much more common than you may think and one of its most environmentally destructive consequences is the collapse of freshwater supply to the affected areas, leading to people being left without access to safe drinking water.

All the food that’s wasted

Food waste is another environmental issue we are facing in the 21st century. According to the USDA, 30% to 40% of our food supply goes to waste! While all food waste is highly problematic, it seems to be even more so with animal products.
Firstly, as we mentioned above, it takes more resources to produce animal products than it costs to produce plant-based foods. This means that if the food gets thrown away, more resources will have been wasted.
Secondly, animal products such as meat or dairy have a particularly short shelf life, especially when compared to vegan alternatives. This gives us less time to consume them and makes them more likely to be thrown away. While this does not apply to all animal products, it’s an important factor to keep in mind.

Summing up vegan for the environment

Decided to go vegan for the environment? That’s a wonderful thing! We wish you a lot of joy, sustainability, and animal compassion on your journey.

Remember these vegan environment facts – write them down or save this article. They will help keep you going if, at any point, you encounter challenges on your journey towards veganism.

If you need help to take your next step into veganism, why not check out our Personalised Grocery List service.

Consider joining our community, our “Healing through food” movement is growing everyday!