An increasing number of people are choosing to become vegans or vegetarians. However, ditching meat from your diet is not something that suits everyone. For those of you who feel you just can’t live without eating meat, there is another option. It’s called flexitarianism, or semi-vegetarian. The requirements are that you eat meat and fish occasionally, maybe only once or twice a week. If you think that you’d like to give it a try but need some more convincing, there are several benefits of eating less meat. Not only is it better for the environment, but it is also better for your health.
The Benefits for Your Health
Not too many years ago, the World Health Organisation linked the high consumption of processed meat and red meat to certain types of cancer. Red meats include beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, and goat. Processed meats include bacon, ham, and sausages. Red meat is also high in saturated fats which increases the risk of coronary heart disease and high cholesterol. It has also been suggested that there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Eating more low fat and high fibre foods such as vegetables, beans, and pulses will give you the feeling of being fuller for longer, so you’ll be less likely to snack. There are so many different vegetables to choose from and you can try some crops of distinct flavour if you want to add more variety to your diet. Bitter gourd is one example of African and Asian origin.
Recent research has uncovered the fact that there is an increasing amount of antibiotics in the meat that we eat. This is because it has become a common additive in the food that is fed to animals.
The Benefits for the Planet
One of the best ways to reduce your impact on the planet is to reduce your intake of meat and dairy products. Research has shown that if we all stopped eating meat and consuming dairy products, the amount of global farmland could be reduced by 75%. That’s an area the size of the US, China, Australia, and the European Union combined. This would create more than enough space to still feed the world.
The livestock industry generates just as much greenhouse gas emissions as cars, trucks and automobiles together. People who raise cattle around the world are responsible for clearing millions of kilometres of forests, so they can create grazing land for their livestock.
Changing to a more plant-based diet is important for combating climate change, soil, air, and water pollution, ocean dead zones, and many other problems caused by our obsession with eating meat. It is possible for you to make a difference by reducing your meat and dairy consumption by a few meals every week. Make fresh fruits and vegetables a larger part of your diet and purchase organic or sustainable produce whenever you can. If we all work together, we can combat the destruction of our planet and do more for the environment.