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Can a Plant-Based Diet Help Climate Change?

Does it really make a difference?

A plant-based diet involves an individual only consuming food that comes from plants, meaning no animal meat and no dairy. There are many benefits to eating a plant-based diet, from health to environmental benefits.

There has been a global rise in plant-based and vegan diets. What is the difference between a plant-based and a vegan diet you may think? Well, plant-based diets are more inclusive and do not eliminate all animal products, such as Ugg boots. Whereas, a vegan diet eliminates all animal products.

This trend has stemmed from the worrying effects of climate change which has been obvious in the past decade. Many animals have gone extinct as well as many places experiencing rising temperatures and sea levels.

Unfortunately, the global south - which consists of the poorest and least industrialised countries, seems to be experiencing the consequences of climate change. Even though the global north - which consists of the richest and most powerful countries has been witnessed to contribute to 92% of global emissions.

Eating a plant-based diet can make a big difference in carbon emissions if more people do it.

How effective is eating a plant-based diet?

A report revealed that an average plant-based diet has fewer emissions. For example, a vegan herby pasta emits 356g CO2e, compared to a beef meal which emits a large emission of 9.9kg CO2e. You can make a big difference even by changing something small in your diet, such as swapping dairy-based butter for a plant-based spread as it has 3.5 times more emissions than a plant-based one.

This reveals how beneficial being vegan is to the environment however, it might not be an easy transition for many as eating meat is a norm. This is also affected by where you live in the world as some places do not accommodate vegan diets, such as China where animal products are found in most of their meals.

However, you do not have to be fully vegan to do your bit to help the planet. You can start slow. Firstly, you can change one of your three meals to a vegetarian or vegan meal, and you can gradually increase it when you feel like it is becoming easier to incorporate it into your diet.

Animal protein is the main ingredient to look out for and many find it difficult to keep a balanced diet without having animal protein, so here are some examples of plant-based protein.

  1. Tofu - it makes a great alternative to chicken as you can season it to your taste.

  2. Lentils and chickpeas - you can easily make this into an easy and delicious meal such as a veggie or vegan curry.

  3. Nuts such as peanuts and almonds

  4. Spirulina - you can add this ingredient to water, smoothies, or fruit juices.

  5. Potatoes - not many people might know this but a baked potato contains 8g of protein per serving.

Eating a plant-based diet can clearly help reduce the effects of climate change. You do not have to go through large extremes such as being on a vegan diet straight away as it is not the easiest diet to follow if you are a heavy meat eater. Therefore, gradually cutting out meat and dairy can be an option that is beneficial to the environment in the long term.


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