Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming more popular, as people become aware of the health benefits of going meatless.
However, this may not be possible for many people – instead, scaling back on the amount of meat you consume would still be beneficial. For the final week of the #8Shades8Weeks challenge, we’re asking you to do just that and show us your delicious meatless meals. With the prize being a hamper from Green Common, you don’t want to miss out, so sign up here!
Whether you’re looking to commit to a fully meatless lifestyle, or you’re just a little curious, here are eight benefits to going meatless.
Protect the Planet
Not only does animal livestock production represent nearly 20% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, it also contributes to soil and water contamination. Besides this, the farming of animals uses a lot of water and land – it takes more than 1,700 litres to produce just 113 grams of beef! Even the UN believes that the farming and eating of meat contributes to climate change.
Improve Your Health
Reducing the amount of meat you eat has so many health benefits! Did you know that eating red meat increases your risks for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers? On the other end, replacing meat with more plant-based foods will give you even more health benefits. Skipping just half a serving of meat and replacing it with a protein-packed meatless dish can cut your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.
Also, doubling your intake of veggies and cutting your intake of red meat would help mitigate global health issues, like obesity and everyday hunger.
Finally, compared to fresh produce and grains, meat is dense in calories so if you are looking to lose weight, cutting back on meat could help with this.
You’ll Get to Try New (Delicious) Plant-Based Foods
Forget what you’ve been told – plant-based foods don’t have to be boring! There’s plenty of restaurants that are now creating delicious plant-based menus; from vegan-friendly fast food options to fine dining experiences.
You can also create your own plant-based feasts at home, perhaps by incorporating one new ingredient per meal. For inspiration, follow plant-based foodies on social media, or buy a new cookbook!
It’s Easier Than Ever
Cutting back on meat doesn’t need to be complicated or mean that you need a meat substitute. Other ways to go meatless include increasing your intake of:
- Nut butter
- Tofu or tempeh
- Rice and beans
Also, if you’re not quite ready to completely let go of meat, you don’t have to; with the help of plant-based alternatives like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (that taste almost identical to “real” meat), you can make your favourite meals plant-based!
It’s More Ethical (For Animals and Humans!)
Most commercially farmed animals have short and terrible lives before they are processed into meat. Even products labelled “free-range” aren’t always a guarantee that the animals are treated humanely. We don’t want to guilt you into going fully meatless, but every little bit makes a difference and will have huge benefits.
Animal livestock doesn’t only affect animals, though. Did you know that seafood is one of the most exploitative industries? Reports have shown that the global fishing industry uses forced labour and other human rights abuses.
It Could Help You Look Younger
Meat, especially red meats and processed lunchmeats, can cause inflammation in your body, which can lead to less collagen and elastin in your skin. These two proteins help make your skin supple, moist and resilient. With time, too much inflammation in your body can cause your skin to look dry and wrinkled.
You’ll Sleep Better
Cutting back on meat could improve your sleep! Eating a lot of animal products can cause high blood pressure, which can cause stress and anxiety, affecting your sleep. Conversely, eating more plant-based foods can help promote healthy sleep; kale, almonds, broccoli, sweet potatoes and spinach and others all contain vitamin B6, magnesium and tryptophan, all of which contribute to deep sleep.
You’ll Be Helping Fight World Hunger
Producing meat is super resource-intensive and wasteful- the amount of grain used to feed US livestock every year could feed 800 million people!
Producing animal products also uses a lot of water- 3,140 litres to produce one hamburger, to be precise! If people simply ate more plants and less meat, the global food system would be much more efficient and we could feed so many more people, helping to end world hunger!
You don’t need to make massive changes to your diet that interfere with your normal routine or stress you out; instead, you can just do a “Meatless Monday” or replace a few meals a week! Small changes can make a huge difference – to our health, the planet and other living things on this planet.
See also: Join The 8Shades 8-Week Challenge!