Plant-Based Diets: Save Money, Save the Planet
Here’s a staggering fact. According to this study which researched 40,000 farms, you can reduce your carbon emissions by up to 73% just by eliminating animal products from your diet.
Another study reported that a whopping 75% of all diet-related emissions in Europe come from the production of meat and dairy products. The production of these products causes significant use of freshwater resources, causes major land, air, and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
How Can We Make a Meaningful Impact?
If you’re looking for a way to make a meaningful impact on the planet, the most significant action in your life could be just eating plants believe it or not. This can improve your overall health plus save you money. This is a win-win scenario for your energy, your bank account, and future generations. Many people think that it’s more expensive to eat a plant-based diet because of foods that mock meat or dairy products can be pricey but instead of looking to purchase imitation foods, you can buy whole foods and find the delicious flavors you love while still saving money. A whole food basically means it’s a plant you can look at and see what it is, not a product with a bunch of ingredients.
How Plant-Based Diets Help Save the Planet
What we don’t see when we eat is how much goes into getting the food on our plate. The amount of land used for producing meat and dairy is as much land as the US, the European Union, China, and Australia combined which could be reforested or used to grow food to feed all of those in poverty. If there are more forests, more carbon dioxide is sequestered by the trees. Planting trees would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly.
Two that are 28 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas when it comes to causing climate change are methane and nitrous oxide. These are the two main emissions byproducts of the industry. The animal product industry contributes to 18% of global human-caused climate change according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. What you don’t see is the soil degradation, the air pollution, the copious land used to grow grains to feed the animals, as well as the use of water to grow the feed crops for the animals.
Conflicts over drinkable water resources are already escalating around the world and with a projected 9.8 billion people by the year 2050, we must mitigate the effects of climate change by changing consumption practices of the cattle industry which is causing over a quarter of global emissions. The climate crisis effects we are already experiencing include displaced climate refugees, sea-level rise, increased storm strength and frequency, and scarce finite resources.
Can Plant-Based Diets Save You Money?
Eating plant-based doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying your food or spend more money. You still get to enjoy the same amazing spices, herbs, and a variety of world foods. And we bet you’ll also enjoy saving a lot of money as well. Here are some of the ways of eating a plant-based diet that will put more money in your pocket.
Less Healthcare Costs
When we eat foods with more vitamins and nutrients, we boost our immune system and are less prone to get sick. Higher fiber contents improve our digestion and plant-based diets help us lower cholesterol. When you find the flu passes you by year after year, you’ll also find you haven’t had to spend money on doctors visits. The benefits of eating healthy help prevent further illnesses such as depression, inflammatory diseases, heart disease, and diabetes that can cost lots of money and keep you from being able to work to earn money.
Produce is Cheaper than Meat
When you buy fresh produce instead of meat, you find your money goes a lot further. Seasonal produce is in surplus so the prices are lower than items that have to be shipped in. You’ll find if you make your food at home and cook for the week with plants, you will save each week, and that can also lower stress because you have more wiggle room in your budget.
Less Calorie Consumption
When you give your body what it needs as far as nutrients go and eat plants with high water content, your body stops craving food all the time, and you don’t have to consume so many calories. The nutrient density of plant-based foods allows you to eat higher-quality foods at a lower quantity which ultimately can also save you money.
Read this next: Healthy Replacements for Your Favorite Junk Foods
Being smart with your money and time will help you save money when you eat a plant-based diet. Remember, plants are easy to grow and you can start your own little potted farm on your porch.
The pricey prepackaged foods are not going to save you money so be thrifty and make delicious dishes with less expensive vegetables, grains, and legumes. You can save money by buying bulk foods that have a longer shelf life. A large bag of lentils will cost less than a small pre-made package of them.
Try New Recipes
You can utilize free recipes on the internet and start cooking at home instead of eating out which will save you more money. Try to make meals in large batches for the week to cut down on food prep time and so you can bring your lunch with you to work.
If you are ready to take the plunge and explore plant-based diets, here are some resources to get you started. First, check out the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. If you’re a visual and auditory learner, this will help you understand the environmental impacts of the animal industry. We also have our Feed Your Body Friday recipes which have many plant-based ideas as well.
If you are going to transition to a plant-based diet, be sure to include sources of healthy fats that give you energy such as olive and other healthy oils, avocado, nuts, and nut butters, coconut, hemp seeds, and other seeds. It’s also important to take a B12 folic acid supplement to help your energy levels as well.
Be sure to eat a variety of foods and not just chips and carbs which would leave you feeling very tired as you wouldn’t get appropriate nutrients.
Related Article: Conscious Closets: The Basics of a Sustainable Wardrobe