World Vegan Month suggests alternative way to live
We’re all looking for ways to stay healthy and help the planet. This World Vegan Month, let’s consider what a vegan diet could do to help achieve both.
With its origins based around World Vegan Day, World Vegan Month is an extended period that aims to raise awareness of a new way of living. There are over 7.8 billion humans alive at present, but only 78 million of us are estimated to be vegan, according to an article by WTVOX.
Veganism, as defined by the Vegan Society, refers to the practice of avoiding cruelty to animals – this means avoiding meat, dairy, eggs, honey, as well as animal derived products or places which use animals for entertainment.
It’s more than just a dietary fad; veganism is about trying to win over hearts and minds towards a more ethical way of living. Here, we explore how this makes for a healthier body and a happier planet.
Feel the difference by going vegan
Adopting a vegan diet doesn’t mean you have to forgo protein and the nutrients you can get from a diet that includes meat and other animal-derived products. Quite the opposite – soy is a common vegan-friendly source of protein.
Animal rights organisation PETA stresses the nutritional value of a vegan lifestyle. By adding nuts, fruits, pulses, grains and seeds to your diet, they claim you can access the fibre, antioxidants, folates and essential vitamins you need for a healthy body.
In their view, a vegan diet is also linked to a lower incidence of diabetes, due to low blood sugar levels. Less fatty foods also help vegans maintain a lower body weight. This is crucial, as a higher body mass index is correlated with a higher likelihood of becoming diabetic.
For more information about healthier, greener ways to manage your eating habits, check out our Eight Ways to Eat Greener guide.
Vegan diets help the planet
Did you know that 14.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock? Half of this 14.5 per cent of emissions come from beef production alone, according to statistics from the United Nations. This just goes to show that the farming methods required to sustain a diet that includes meat have a material impact on the planet.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) released a report which prompted them to state they weren’t telling people to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet necessarily. However, the report did reveal that a vegan or vegetarian diet had significantly higher greenhouse gas mitigation potential by 2050 than others.
That’s because plant-based diets require less land to be used for food production. More efficient use of land could ensure greater capture of CO2 from the atmosphere, limiting the damage of greenhouse gases in the long-run.
A vegan lifestyle is more than just switching a bit of meat for salad at lunchtime to maintain a healthier body. It’s potentially a way of living we may have to adopt if we want to help protect the planet and avert an irreversible climate crisis in the future.