The end of November has come and gone, which marks the end of world vegan month. At the beginning of November I was all on board to incorporate more plant based meals into my diet. I checked out numerous vegan cookbooks at the library and pinned a ton of recipes. But to be completely honest in the past month I haven’t had one single vegan meal. Even as I write this I’m chowing down on a tuna melt with melted cheese on top, super delicious. I think this was a really great reminder of how to incorporate more zero waste changes into my life. I’m always telling people and myself to start slowly and incorporate what you can handle. I love meat and dairy. I think trying to cut all of that out was hard to incorporate. Going forward I think I’m going to try to add more produce to my meals so my need for meat isn’t as prominent. Then I can build from there. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely dairy or meat free but I do think it’s important to cut out some of these products occasionally to help with climate change.
It’s widely known that cutting out animal products can cut down on carbon emissions. In fact according to an article from the UCLA, animal farming creates as much carbon emissions as the transportation industry. In an article from Our World they state that twenty servings of vegetables have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than one serving of beef. Not only do these products cause more carbon emissions but they also increase our water usage. If everyone cut these products out of their diets we could save at least 50% of water use worldwide. Ok so you get it right, more meat and cheese equals bad for the environment. But is plant based really all that great?
Researching this topic I stumbled across an article talking about the harmful effects of going plant based. I highly encourage whoever is reading this to check it out. Link is below along with the other articles I read for this blog. The article really focuses on where our food is coming from. Going more plant based sometimes forces us to purchase fruit or vegetables that are from all over the world. To speak on this they focus on the recent popularity of avocados. I’m a huge fan of them so I am definitely guilty of picking these up every grocery trip. Due to the sudden huge demand, prices of this product have pushed the price up making it unaffordable for those who live in the country of origin. In Mexico the price per kilo of avocados is equal to the daily wage. Since this food is such a staple in Mexican culture cuisine, it’s had harmful effects on the population. On top of that avocados now bring in more money than petroleum, causing illegal deforestation to make more room to grow more of the crop. Very bad for the environment.
The solution? I still think it’s best to eat more plant based, but keep in mind where your food comes from. Also keep in mind seasonal foods. Buy what’s in season and buy more local. Head to your local farmer’s market every month or two. Try growing some of your own food. I’m thinking of starting with an herb garden. I’m also not saying you can never buy avocados again. The countries who grow these crops depend on us to create revenue, but focusing on buying it when it is in season or limiting the amount we purchase can help out. Additionally, buying meat that’s butchered and raised locally may be better for the environment than buying the out of season vegetable that traveled thousands of miles to get to your table.
To tie it all together do what you can. Clearly I didn’t have much success in my first go at eating more plant based. Start small, set goals you know you can accomplish, and then build from there. I love eggs, bacon, and milk too much to give them up forever, but I can be more conscious about my buying habits and diversify my meals so these things are not present in every single meal. And if all of this is way too much for you, that’s ok too. Find changes you can sustain in your lifestyle and do what you can.
Thanks for reading, stay green.
Links shown in order of appearance in blog.
The article going over how veganism may not be so great for the planet.