A plant-powered diet is sustainable, healthy and kind. The question should be: Why not?
‘Plant-based’ is a flexible diet where the bulk of calories and nutrition come from plant sources. Plants such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, are the base of the diet. This way of eating is not as strict as going vegan, and is more focused on whole foods and healthy options, not just foods free from animal products. This diet results in significant benefits to our health, the environment and the lives of animals.
So many great reasons to move towards a more plant-based diet. What will yours be?
FOR YOUR HEALTH: PREVENTION IS THE BEST PRESCRIPTION!
The World Health Organization has found that a diet low in animal products, while also higher in fruit and vegetables, was associated with a lower risk of: heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and various types of cancer. A more plant-based diet, rich in fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, is also associated with: lower blood cholesterol, lower incidence of stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body fat.
FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: SAVE THE EARTH AND FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE
It requires an average of 6kg of plant protein to produce 1kg of animal protein, and 100 times more water. A single dairy cow produces approximately 120 pounds of wet manure per day, which is equivalent to that of 20 to 40 humans. On average 990 litres of water are required to produce one litre of milk. The UN reports that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 - 25% of global warming emissions worldwide, with cattle ranches and feed production accounting for over 70% of deforestation in the Amazon. The livestock sector continues to grow each year and is quite probably the largest source of water pollution worldwide. As an individual, our diet can make a more significant impact on the environment than almost all other efforts.
FOR THE ANIMALS: COMPASSION FOR ALL
Small family farms are the exception to the rule. In reality, about 97% of animals grown for food in Canada are raised on huge factory farms, where they are subject to intensive confinement. Like humans, dairy cows carry their young for 9 months. Kept continually pregnant, they have their young taken from them soon after birth, and are then slaughtered after they stop producing well. The egg industry destroys millions of male chicks each year as they are not considered profitable. Pigs, one of the smartest animals on the planet, have their teeth clipped, tails docked, and males are castrated – all without anesthesia - and may legally be transported to sale or slaughter for 36 hours without water, food or rest. All creatures deserve compassion. Why stop at puppies and kittens?
FOR COMMUNITY: SUPPORT SOCIAL JUSTICE
Plant-based diets rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, are affordable to all, and are certainly the most highly recommended way to a healthy life. Currently, over 70% of grains grown in the North America feed livestock, not people. Livestock eat 80% of the world’s soybean crop and more than 50% of the world’s corn crop, meanwhile more than 3 billion people on the planet are malnourished. It is also worth noting that well over 70% of the world’s population is intolerant to dairy products, and many do not consume certain animal products for religious, ethical, environmental or health reasons. By always providing well-labeled plant-based options, we ensure that everyone is welcome at the table, without feeling singled out or holding up the line. It’s the most equitable diet there is!