How to Lead a Plant-Based Life
Eating meat has a massive detrimental impact on the health of the planet, as well as the health of those who consume it. Cardio-vascular health is one of the areas most affected in those who eat a diet heavily based on meat. The amount of methane produced by cattle farms is one of the single greatest causes of global warming. We are now facing the facts that the diet so many of us consider standard and normal is actually harmful and unnatural. If we are serious about saving our planet, as well as saving our health, we need to start committing ourselves to a different way of thinking about food and eating.
The nutrient myth: if I’ve heard it once…what about zinc? Protein? Vitamin B12? You name the nutrient, and someone will have already questioned where you get it from in a diet devoid of meat and dairy. The absolute truth of the matter is that you do not need to consume meat or dairy to get any of those things. Every single nutrient we need to function fully and healthily as babies, children and adults can be found in a plant-based diet. Yes, it takes a bit of re-education (I have saved tons of google searches of varying vegan recipes) but it is possible. It is doable. It is achievable. And it is imperative if we really want to do something good for the planet, for the animals, for ourselves. You can find out where to get any nutrients from plants with a little research. The only exception being vitamin B12, which you can find in nutritional yeast. Sounds yucky. Really isn’t. It makes a nice white sauce for lasagne and cannelloni.
The real myth is that dairy products are natural sources of certain nutrients, like calcium and B vitamins. In actual fact, studies have shown that dairy products are themselves fortified with nutrients, just so that claims can be made that they are ‘good sources’ of those nutrients.
Foods to be excited about when researching plant-based ways to eat include; kale (so much calcium), broccoli (ditto calcium), tomatoes (loads of B vitamins), bananas (literally heaps of health benefits) berries, oats, turmeric, garlic, lentils (iron)….it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a plateful of plants.
The compassionate truth: Regardless of the numerous health benefits of turning to a vegan diet, the number one reason for choosing vegan in my opinion, is for the animals. Farming not only contributes to the ever-growing ill-health of our planet, but it is a pretty disgraceful industry in terms of animal welfare. You don’t have to look far to find images showing animals in distress, or articles about the lack of compassion shown to animals on their way to slaughter. It is uncomfortable reading, of course it is, but it happening. Right now. So, I’m all for a vegan diet.
There are many sound reasons for leading a plant-based life. The reduction of carbon emissions is one. The health benefits of a vegan diet is another. But, for me, the greatest single reason I choose to eat a vegan diet is entirely ethical. So many of my friends and family members have said to me that they couldn’t do it, that they’d miss eating meat too much. I say, if you can’t do it for yourself, then at least do it for the animals.
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