The meat industry produces immense amounts of gas emissions that negatively affect our atmosphere. Methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide are three major livestock emissions that affect our atmosphere (2). According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), “Meat and dairy specifically accounts for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.” Reduction in meat consumption can make a major impact on the environment, such as opting for a “Meatless Monday” approach or reducing meat consumption altogether. Reducing meat intake also has health benefits such as decreasing your risk of heart disease (4). Here are 4 easy ways to incorporate more plant based eating practices into your diet.
- Take a Plant-Based/Vegan Cooking Class
- If you aren’t used to cooking plant-based or vegan meals, taking a cooking class can be a great help. These cooking classes also provide plenty of meal ideas for you and your family. There are many online cooking classes, such as Forks Over Knives and Veecoco. Veecoco may be easier on your wallet as they offer a 7-day free trial with no credit card required upon registration. Also, check out YouTubers like Jordan Waddell, The Conscientious Eater, and Alexandra Andersson who offer free content to get you excited to enjoy a plant-based meal.
- Plant Your Own Food
- Planting your own fruits and vegetables gives you a powerful incentive to eat more plant-based meals. If you have taken the time to grow your own food, you won’t want to see the food go to waste. Foods such as tomatoes, berries, carrots, lettuce, and more are easy to plant in your lawn or backyard. For more resources on how to plant your own food, check out the Fleet Farming website.
- Gradually Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet
- It’s easier to transition to more plant-based eating if you add fruits and vegetables over time. Vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, and asparagus are easy to prepare and eat with any meal. Find out which fruits and vegetables you enjoy and start incorporating them more into your diet. Eventually, you’ll grow a taste for plant-based eating and it will be easier to replace meat-based meals. A common transition in plant-based eating is to replace real meat with fake meat, which can be processed foods that are not so great for your health. Keep it simple by exploring more natural foods cooked in new ways.
- Support your Local Farmer’s Market
- Farmer’s markets are a wonderful way to support local farms and businesses. The produce is fresh and well-priced. You can get to know the people in your community better and help each other make healthier decisions. This option is great for people who don’t want to grow their own food. It’s easy to support a local farm and get fresh produce to use in future meals by visiting a farmer’s market.
Plant-based eating takes discipline and practice. With these 4 easy steps, you’ll be on your way to healthier eating that is good for you and the environment. Hopefully, these steps have inspired you to make small, gradual changes in your diet. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family to spread awareness of the benefits of plant-based eating on your health and the environment.