Some of you would’ve noticed on my Instagram account (@mariasurcel) that I have a clear preference for plant-based meals. I love fruit and vegetables, I am fascinated by spices and herbs and clean eating is a way of life for me.
I’m not perfect though, chocolate is my Achilles’ heel (isn’t everyone’s?) and will succumb to naughty chocolate treats every now and again. I also have this philosophy – if the healthiest option available is meat-based, I will go for that instead. E.g. Mac and cheese vs. chicken with salad.
But it’s all about balance, right?
My decision to include an abundance of wholefoods in my diet was not purely health-conscious, I genuinely love the taste of veggies. But I soon began to notice the difference in my energy levels, skin complexion, digestion and ability to maintain a healthy weight. It was very hard to go back afterwards…
However, I recently became more aware of the environmental impact my lifestyle has. And this has made me even more passionate about it! Let me hit you with some facts now, courtesy of my new favorite website www.wearedonation.com/DoActions
70% of agricultural land is used up by livestock, providing grazing land and feedcrop
Roughly 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by livestock and their products,1 that’s more than is produced by transport.
1 beef steak emits more CO2 than driving for an hour and leaving all the lights on at home.
Now, I’m not saying to stop eating meat, BUT even changing from carbon-intensive lamb and beef to less carbon-intensive pork and chicken means a 18% reduction.
Not to mention the health benefits…
Limit Cancer Risk: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
Reduce Heart Disease: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%.
Fight Diabetes: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Curb Obesity: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
Live Longer: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
Improve Your Diet: Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
To celebrate earth day, I pledged to eat at least 10 plant-based meals per week from now on.
Make your pledge too, here: www.wearedonation.com/DoActions/veg-out/
And don’t forget to be more, chase less.