New year, new intentions, new possibilities.
Whether or not this rings true to you, it is hard to underestimate the psychological effect of a new year and how powerful it can be to choose to turn over a new leaf at this time.
I believe that deep down inside we all want to live on a whole, peaceful planet and that we can all make an impact to turn things around for the better.
This is why I would like to devote this small post to inspire more conscious eating in the new year, both for the sake of the planet and for our own health, and to advocate for a more plant based – if not completely plant based – diet for yourself and your family this year.
I myself am not strictly vegan, but I end up eating foods free of animal products at almost every single meal without giving it much thought. Admittedly it takes a little bit of getting used to, but believe me when I say it is not impossible! I will be following a completely vegan diet myself this January as a support for the Veganuary initiative – they will ship you a free cookbook if you care to join!
There is a well of information out there on the benefits of becoming a vegan for the sake of mother earth and you can make a serious impact on climate change just by your diet:
6.75 square kilometres are needed to feed one vegan per year while a meat eater needs 12140 square kilometres – 18 times as much as a vegan: 6000 sqm. can produce 16782 kg of plant food or 170 kg meat.
Also, most of the world’s deforestation is due to livestock, including 91% of the rainforest’s.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases which is more than all transportation exhaust combined.
It also uses an astonishing amount of freshwater: 11365 litres of water is required to produce half a kilo of beef.
But the meat industry is not just wreaking havoc on our planet – it is doing the same to our health.
Frequent meat consumption contributes to tumour growth, acidity and inflammation in the body (cancer), diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Commercially farmed meat contains antibiotics and by eating it we develop antibiotic resistance and digestive diseases.
We are currently growing enough food for 10 billion people, but humans around the world are starving. Worldwide, 50% of all grain is fed to livestock.
To sum it up, animal agriculture is responsible for all of humanity’s major problems: deforestation, water scarcity, world hunger, climate change, extinction of animal species and western diseases.
Animal suffering is a given consequence of animal agriculture and the PETA website will provide adequate informative videos such as Meet Your Meat.
Last month the new website ianimal.uk went live to tell the story of factory farming and provide an immersive experience into the lives of factory farmed animals. If you do eat meat I urge you to watch this video.
To quote one of my favourite films (10 points if you can guess it):
“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men."
Other great sources for knowledge and facts are Veganuary, VeganSociety, Counting Animals, Cowspiracy, The China Study by Campbell, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Cousens and Eating Animals by Foer.
Vegan food is delicious and versatile and there are a lot of inspiration online for a well balanced plant based diet.
Oh She Glows has vegan recipes for every occasion, My New Roots has a wide range of vegan recipes complete with nutritional information, Green Kitchen Stories has great vegan breakfast ideas and Sprouted Kitchen is fantastic for when you want to impress. Instagram also has a ton of very talented users uploading inspiration every day!
My list favourite plant based cookbooks includes:
Oh She Glows
Thug Kitchen and Thug Kitchen 101
and the Gaia House Cookbook
A tip to get you started:
Look for vegan alternatives to dishes that you love. Scrambled eggs? Tofu scramble! Milky porridge? Delicious nut milks! Meatballs? Aubergine balls! (Love and Lemons has an amazing recipe)
Short on time? Minimalist Baker has 10-ingredients-or-less recipes made within the half hour.
Eat a wide variety of organic fruit and veg and you need not fear nutritional deficiencies: eat the rainbow!
Surround yourself with fresh produce, beautiful inspiring cookbooks and arm yourself with knowledge so you are ready to face the new year as a happy, healthy being that lives in harmony with the world around you.
With this I wish you a happy, peaceful entry into the new year.