Environmental and Health Impacts of Eating Plant-Based For One MonthCreated on
Veganuary is fast approaching, and if you’re thinking of trying it out, congratulations! Eating plant-based is one fantastic way to make your carbon footprint lighter in 2022, besides feeding your body with more plant goodness. If you think eating plant-based for a month doesn’t have much positive impact, think again!
In this blog, we’ll talk about the positive environmental and health impact of eating plant-based—even if it’s just for one month.
Environmental impact of a plant-based diet
Do you know how many resources are required to support the animal agriculture industry? It’s scary: We use up to 76 trillion gallons of water and 45% of the earth’s total land every year to feed livestock and poultry to feed humans. Effects on our rainforests, oceans, air, and other wildlife are equally staggering, as is the waste generated by these animals. The industry is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions—more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.
Eating meat has a more negative environmental impact than driving!
Eating plant-based for an entire month shifts your dollars away from animal agriculture and toward the plant-based food industry, which requires fewer resources.
- The death of 33 animals
- Use of 33,000 gallons of water for animal food production
- Destruction of 900 square feet of forest
- Creation of an extra 600 pounds of CO2 gas
- Feeding of 1,200 pounds of grain to animals that could have fed communities in need
By eating plant-based, your carbon footprint is 50% smaller than someone who eats meat.
Health impact of a plant-based diet
As if that wasn’t enough, your health can benefit from eating a plant-based diet for just one month, so long as you’re focusing on consuming whole foods. Also remember that results for others won’t be the same as yours, as everyone’s body type and lifestyle is different.
Meal planning will go a long way. Finding plant-based recipes online or following a cookbook will help you avoid the temptation to eat out or order takeout, which you should do sparingly. One benefit you may notice is the improvement in your gut health. Eating more fruits and vegetables can give you more fibre, which can lead to a diverse microbiome with good bacteria. You’ll also spend less time in the bathroom!
Because many plant sources of protein have fewer calories than meat, weight loss is common, even if it’s not a goal. But this won’t happen if you’re eating a lot of vegan junk food or just replace meat and dairy with carbohydrates.
You’ll also notice a change in energy level, so long as you’re getting enough plant-based protein. Because you’ll be eating a healthier diet, say goodbye to the afternoon slump! A whole food, plant-based diet can help avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes from sugary or processed foods.
Worried about cravings? Your taste buds and cravings will evolve. After a few weeks without eating animal products high in salt, fat, and sugar, the sensitivity of your taste buds for fat will change.
A 2019 study of almost 7000 participants in North America, South America, and Europe found consumption of dairy products was linked to acne for nearly 50% of the participants. If you live in the US, most milk comes from pregnant cows (and some cows are given growth hormones). The hormone levels in milk may play a role in excess sebum production, which promotes acne. So you may find an improvement in your complexion after avoiding dairy, even if you’ve had skin issues for a long time.
While you will benefit from more vitamins, minerals, and fibre on a plant-based diet, you may be more deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, which is more rich in animal foods. You can take plant-based supplements to offset this and also check in with a plant-based nutritionist if you’re concerned about other nutrients. One dietician reported a 33% decrease in her bad cholesterol after 30 days without eating meat or dairy.
If you eat plant-based beyond one month…
Your heart health will also benefit. Cholesterol only comes from animal products and can build up in the cardiovascular system, leading to blockages that trigger heart-related conditions. A whole food, plant-based diet removes the bad cholesterol and is lower in sodium, which can increase blood pressure levels.
For those who are overweight or have diabetes, a plant-based diet can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.
Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants, which can help relieve joint pain and swelling from inflammation and reduce your risk of getting cancer.
The impact of a plant-based diet on both our environment and health can’t be denied. Use Vejii to help you reach your plant-based goals for the month and let us know how it goes. Good luck!