There are many reasons to choose a plant-based diet. Not only is it good for your health, can save you money, but it is also good for the environment.
A plant-based diet is a diet that consists mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It excludes or minimizes animal products, including meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
There are many reasons why people choose to follow a plant-based diet. Some people do it for ethical reasons, such as concern for animal welfare or the environment.
A study by the University of Oxford found that a vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on Earth.
The study projects that by 2050, food-related greenhouse gas emissions could account for half of the emissions the world can afford if global warming is to be limited to less than 2°C. Adopting global dietary guidelines would cut food-related emissions by 29%, vegetarian diets by 63%, and vegan diets by 70%, says the study.
Here are just a few of the ways that a plant-based diet can help the planet:
• Reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing climate change. By eating less meat, you can help to reduce your impact on the environment.
• Conserves water. It takes a lot of water to raise animals for food. In fact, it takes about 1,800 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef. If you switch to a plant-based diet, you can help to conserve water resources.
• Protects wildlife. Animal agriculture is a major driver of deforestation. When forests are cleared to make way for animal farms, it destroys the habitat of countless animals. By eating less meat, you can help to protect wildlife.
• Reduces pollution. Animal agriculture is a major source of pollution. The waste from animal farms pollutes waterways and contributes to air pollution. By eating less meat, you can help to reduce pollution.
Methane Gas is a problem even in Shropshire!
Our diets contribute significantly to the problems with climate change. In Shropshire, it is 20% of the total that we create. We cause 0.5 million tonnes of harmful gases each year to go up into our atmosphere from the food we eat!
Strictly, it is not us that create it. It is animals like cows, sheep and pigs, who emit Methane as a gas through their digestion!
The environmental impact of importing foods – We need to buy local produce
It may be nice to have certain fruit and vegetables available all year round in our supermarkets, but this comes at a cost.
The UK imports 90% of our fresh fruit and around 30-40% of our vegetables. The air freight involved is very “expensive” in terms of the harmful gases that planes pump into the atmosphere. A punnet of strawberries flown in from South Africa causes 3.6 kg of harmful gases. But a locally produced punnet causes 0.5 kg.
Save money on your food bills by choosing plant based foods
In addition to being good for the environment, a plant-based diet can also save you money. Meat and dairy products are often more expensive than plant-based foods. If you switch to a plant-based diet, you can save money on your food bills.During this cost-of-living crisis, we should all look at the cost of the food we eat.
The Lancet Planetary Health magazine carried out research into the costs of different diets, comparing meat-based diets with vegetarian and vegan diets. Summarising this evidence, the average household spends around £5,500 per year on a meat-based diet.
A vegetarian/vegan plant-based diet would cost a household around £3,700 per year.
Eating more of a plant-based diet would be good for our pockets as well, providing a saving of around £34 per week.
Clearly, these are averages and all household expenditures will be different. But this shows that a plant based diet is better for our home budgets as well.
Here are some actions you can take:
1. Add more vegetables into your diet, and dramatically reduce in particular the amount of red meat you eat each week. It can also be good for your health
2. When you go into the supermarket, check the labels for the source of food and put back those raspberries from Morocco, and asparagus from Peru and choose UK grown produce.
3. Eat strawberries, salads and vegetables in season, and help our farmers by buying locally.
4. Save money and improve your health by changing your diet. A recipe of spicy stuffed red peppers with green lentils (e.g. from Dr Clare Bailey and Dr Schenker) can help tackle diabetes. You can help the planet, help your pocket, and look after your health all at the same time!
Want further information on how you can help the planet and save money?
Save Our Shropshire CIO is giving a series of talks under the heading “What is good for the planet is good for our pocket” across Telford and Wrekin with venues scheduled up to September this year, to explain more about how you can save money and save the planet.
Click on here to find a location near you and book. They are sponsored by the Telford and Wrekin Climate Change fund.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact and save money, a plant based diet is a great option. It’s good for your health, the planet, and your wallet.