Also consuming a plant-based diet can seriously reduce your carbon footprint because you're eating fewer animal foods.
According to studies, an organic vegan diet has the smallest environmental impact, while a conventionally farmed diet that includes meat has the greatest impact on the environment—and the more meat consumed, the greater the eco-impact. This is because, in essence, animals make inefficient "food production machines."To produce 1 calorie from beef requires 40 calories of fossil fuels, whereas producing 1 calorie from grains requires 2.2 calories of fuel.
When it comes to making friends with plants, it's not as hard as you think. Even if you're a meat lover, you can still make positive changes in your diet to emphasize more plant foods by starting out slowly, and by having one plant-based meal a week.
The Meatless Monday website is filled with tips and recipes, and is a great resource for launching you into a world of plant-based health.
For other meatless ideas, try one of these five simple meal ideas:
- Love pizza? Trim the meat and load up on the veggies. Top it with broccoli, cashews, red onions and basil. Read my blog for ways to make your next pizza night a health night.
- Try ethnic flair. Some cultures know how to do plant-based eating right! Think: Asian inspired stir-fries with veggies, brown rice and peanuts, or Mexican tostada salads with fajita-style veggies, or Indian curries with tofu. These dishes are all heavy on flavor but light on the meat.
- Have breakfast for dinner. Breakfast is one of the easiest ways to skip on the meat. With so many delicious breakfast foods, such as oatmeal and other whole-grain porridges, whole-grain breads, fruits, juices and even vegetables—how about baked tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and saut?ed asparagus— there's little reason to rely on meat at breakfast (for dinner). If you want to get really creative, try my recipe for Sunshine Tofu Scramble.
- Use the crock-pot. Using your crock-put or slow-cooker can be fast. Combine all ingredients in the morning, turn it on and leave it until dinnertime. One-dish meals such as chili, stews, pasta dishes, and casseroles are one of the simplest ways to prepare veggie-filled meals.
- Keep it simple. Plant-based meals don't have to be complicated; it can be as easy as black-bean burritos or meatless chili and cornbread.
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