As some of you might know I am a vegan. This might draw derision from some people (an increasingly small minority) with questions of ‘Where do you get your protein from?’ ‘Humans were meant to eat meat’ etc. etc. There is a lot of scientific evidence out there showing that a wholly plant based diet is not going to leave you nutritionally deficient and is actually much better for your health overall. You only need to look at athletes such as heavyweight boxer David Haye, ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek and rock climber Steph Davis to name a few to see that a plant based diet has no negative impact upon your health or physical performance.
By also choosing a plant based diet you by virtue stop eating animal products which instantly removes your impact on the animal farming industry and their often shady practices of overuse of antibiotics and what by an ever increasing number of people is seen as cruel living and rearing conditions. This topic in itself has enough for me to write about in several posts so we will shelve this for the time being.
What I really want to talk about in this post is the environmental cost and the resulting impact upon wildlife around the world by choosing to eat animal products and why I believe that if you are serious about saving the environment then a plant based diet is really the only option for you to take.
We know from data that our climate is changing with increasing global temperatures resulting in the melting of the polar ice caps and then having the knock on effect of rising sea levels which can be most obviously seen in Miami at the minute. The narrative coming from the science community and media is that this is due to an increase in CO2 (carbon dioxide) production. But is CO2 really the guilty party in this? To a certain extent yes it is a contributing factor but it’s not the be all and end all. Methane actually has a much greater impact on global warming with it being roughly 30X more potent in terms of heat trapping potential than CO2 and Nitrous oxide which has a heat trapping potential of ~300X that of CO2. Which is why in my mind makes these more of a threat than CO2.
So if we take a look at the sources of methane and nitrous oxide who are the major producers? It turns out that Fossil fuels and farming account for ~60% of methane production, and 75% of nitrous oxide production in the US is from agriculture alone! What strikes me is that the main contributors for the production both of these are due to human activities.
If you are serious about protecting the environment and preserving it for future generations then changing your lifestyle to a wholly plant based diet seems to me to be the best and arguably the only choice for becoming a true eco warrior. I know some people will have reservations and will come out with the following statements ‘but plants are boring!’ and ‘where do I get the flavour from?’ Don’t be filled with dread though as a vegan diet is awesome and the food is amazing! I love latin american food and cuisine from south east asia which are packed full of flavour and spices and there are several really great cookbooks that I own and can thoroughly recommend Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck and Vegan Street Food: Foodie travels from India to Indonesia and Deliciously Ella just a few that I really love! Lets also not forget baking which often uses loads of eggs and milk, then you have to check out Ms. Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town! My wife has made me some of the best peanut butter icing cupcakes I’ve ever had from this book and I love it.
Even by changing your diet to having meat once or twice a week will make a massive difference to our environment and the habitat for some of our endangered species. I hope this will make you think about your personal impact on our planet and I would love to hear from you about if you have decided to make a change or any recommendations for recipes etc.