Did you know that by changing your diet you can change the world? About 3% of people understand this. They’re vegan.
People are highly concerned about climate change, and they’re trying to find small ways to make a huge difference.
There are many reasons to be vegan. Not only can a plant-based diet improve your health, but there are ethical and environmental advantages, too.
Keep reading to learn more about what a vegan diet is, how you can get started, and the environmental impacts of a plant-based diet.
What Does it Mean to Be Vegan?
What is veganism? If you’ve never heard of the term, it means that you don’t consume or use animal products. For most people, that means eliminating chicken or beef.
For others, it means no animal products whatsoever. No leather, certain hair and beauty products are off-limits, no eggs, or fish.
There are vegans who think that the very strict form of veganism is the only way to go. There is no right or wrong way to be vegan or adopt a vegan diet. You have to decide how far you want to take your vegan lifestyle (it is a lifestyle).
Environmental Reasons to be Vegan
There are health benefits of being vegan. Red meat is often linked to heart disease, cancer, and other preventative health issues.
By curbing your red meat intake, you’re cutting back on your risk for these health issues. You can also reap these environmental benefits of a vegan diet.
1. Less Methane and Cleaner Air
Cows produce methane. A lot of it. Livestock that is farmed is responsible for 14.5% of all human emissions.
While researchers are trying to find a way to cut back on those emissions, there is something that you can do right now. Stop eating red meat to reduce the demand for livestock farming.
That is something you can accomplish with a vegan diet.
2. Save Water
There are areas of the world where people don’t have access to clean water. It’s not because they live in a desert, it’s just that they live in a place where water is mismanaged.
Instead, the water is directed to go to livestock farms. Livestock has to consume water and they also pollute it.
3. Consume Less Energy
How much energy can a plant-powered diet save? It turns out quite a bit. It takes much less energy to raise plants than it does to raise and process livestock.
That is an energy saver that can make a huge difference in carbon emissions and climate change.
4. Plant Diversity
By eating less meat, you’re reducing the demand for ranches and livestock. Ranches need acres of land to operate. What happens is that since there’s only so much real estate, forests get cut down to accommodate livestock.
Leave the forests intact, and you have a thriving ecosystem full of plants. It’s not that you have one or two plants, but a broad range of plants.
These plants support other species, such as birds and insects that are in danger of extinction.
How to Adopt a Plant-Based Diet
Now that you understand the environmental reasons to be vegan, you might be wondering what it takes to get started.
Here are some of the steps that you can take to move toward a plant-based diet.
Make Small Changes
You don’t have to go all-in right away and restrict everything under the sun. That can be too much to bear and leave you feeling like you want to break down and have a hamburger.
Instead, pick one thing to change. Maybe you decide to start by eliminating red meat from your diet. Then you move to add chicken or fish to that list.
Support Vegan-Friendly Restaurants
The hardest thing about being vegan is when you eat out. More restaurants are aware of vegan diets, but there’s still a long way to go.
You may be lucky enough to have a vegan-friendly restaurant in your area. Do your best to support those restaurants.
Being Vegan Doesn’t Mean Eating Cardboard
Vegan food has come a very long way from Tofurkey being the only vegan item on the market. There are so many more tasty options out there.
You can even choose a vegan meal plan along with buying great products. The outlook is very bright for vegan cuisine.
Get Used to Reading Labels
You’d be surprised to find what an animal-based product is. Gelatin is a good example of that. Some types of bread, beer, candy, and some alcohol products are made with animal products.
You’re going to have to educate yourself and read labels before you purchase anything at the grocery store.
Get Ready for Funny Questions
The people around you are going to give you a hard time because you decided to be vegan. You’ll need to get ready to answer the same questions over and over again.
Once you tell people that you’re vegan, get ready to educate them. A lot of people don’t get it, and they’re going to want to poke holes in what you’re doing.
They’ll ask you why you’re vegan. They’ll ask you if you want a steak. They’ll also ask you where you get your protein from.
It’s easy to get annoyed and defensive. Instead, take the time to educate people and let them know about the benefits without being preachy. That’s how you create change and get other people on board.
There are Many Reasons to be Vegan
A plant-based diet has been shown to help you live a healthier life. It’s also a great way to do your part to combat climate change.
There are so many reasons to be vegan, you can forget that your decisions have a global reach. You can help the planet because you’re not feeding a system that uses more energy and resources.