What you eat is more than just food on a plate these days. More global citizens are shifting to a less meat and more eco-conscious approach.
Meat consumption is at its all-time highest. People are no longer consuming the right amounts of meat, with many societies viewing meat consumption at every meal as a pinnacle of success and a sign of wealth. If they can afford to eat meat, then they should do so at every meal.
This shift in food culture has lead to the overconsumption of meat. This shift has, in turn, has led to drastic deforestation to make space for feeding crops.
With space being made for crops to feed and house livestock, the earth is becoming unbalanced — cattle create greenhouse gas emissions, and the lack of forests and trees to combat rising CO2 levels.
While it is not always in everyone's interests to jump onto a no-meat entirely plant-based diet, scientists recommend that the earth's people consider adopting a "flexitarian"  approach to food, focusing on less meat and more greens.
Eating less meat as an individual has an enormous impact on the earth and your carbon footprint. If everyone reduced the meat on their plates a little, it would decrease the demand for farmed livestock and reduce greenhouse gases. Livestock farming produces as much, if not a little more, greenhouse gas emissions than the public and private transport industries combined.
What about all that healthy protein that we get from meat?
Well, not only does a plant-based diet help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, it's suitable for your health too. In a world where heart conditions and high cholesterol levels are on the rise, plant-based eating helps combat years of bad dietary choices.
Dietitians recommend reducing beef, poultry, dairy, eggs, and pork products consumed to combat rising obesity and heart disease levels.
As science has advanced, we now know that we do not need as much protein as many people would like to believe they do, contrary to popular belief plant-based sources of complete proteins can be found in tofu, tempeh, beans, and greens.
Data has shown that a shift to switching skipping out on one serving of beef a week for a year reduces the equivalent emissions of 348 miles driven in a car. As you can see, just one plate a week can help save the planet. At the start of 2020, the rise in vegetarian and vegan diets has increased, with many chain stores adapting and offering earth-friendly food options.
The impact of factory farming has a knock-on effect on the plastic industry. With the rise in meat production, the increase in plastic pollution and waste has also become evident.
Many households are now exploring zero waste options and navigating the world of homemade food items instead of mass-produced processed foods, further reducing greenhouse gases and carbon footprints.
Reducing your meat consumption doesn't have to give you a headache or leave you with nothing to eat but a peanut butter sandwich and some fries.
Try the following meat substitutions for your next meat-free meal that any meat-eater would love.
Data and climate reports have shown that while it would be ideal for everyone to go plant-based, that is not always possible. But the environmental impact of reducing your meat consumption by just a plate a week is significant enough to help heal the planet.
There are enough studies to support the impact that increasing land space for animals is negatively impacting the environment. This means that reducing the demand for meat reduces water, land, energy consumption, and the risk of other health conditions.
Fitness fundies and enthusiasts don't have to compromise on their ability to perform by cutting out meat. Studies have shown that adding beetroot juice to your diet before your training improves your recovery and works just as well as a pre-workout. Vital nutrients such as iron and calcium are also more bio-available in plants.
If you are interested in saving the environment, combating climate change and eating less meat and dairy from your diet is one small step to a healthier planet.
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