SUSTAINABILITY ARTICLE FOR THE WEEKENDER HERALD BY LIDDY DOLMAN DECEMBER 2013
‘A VEGETARIAN DIET – How and Why?’
Einstein once said, “nothing will benefit human health and increase human chances for survival for life on earth as much as evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
There is a plethora of information about the health pros and cons of a vegetarian diet to confuse even the most intelligent people amongst us. However, there is enough written about the growing rate of cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes 1 and 2, osteoporosis etc. in nations that consume high levels of animal products that it certainly requires some discussion.
The following facts are very sobering if you look at the sustainability issues around farming animals for consumption.
“It takes less water to produce a year’s food for a pure vegetarian than to produce a month’s food for a meat eater” – John Robbins, Diet for a new America
A third of the world’s land suitable for growing crops is used to produce feed for farmed animals. Fact Sheet Vegetarian Society
Farming of animals caused more emissions (18%) than the world’s entire transport system (13.5%). Fact Sheet Vegetarian Society
Concern for the poor treatment of animals in ‘factory’ farms, live export of animals and in slaughterhouses around the world has also been the catalyst for many to eliminate meat, and for some all animal products, from their diets and clothing choices.
The first question people ask when told in conversation you are vegetarian is, “how do you get enough protein in your diet?” That one is easy: nuts, legumes (lentils, red beans, chick peas, soy beans), oats, seeds, pasta and tofu all provide a good level of the protein we need in our diet for good health.
Green vegetables provide various levels of Vitamin C, B Group, Iron, Folate, Vitamin K, Omega 3 and Minerals, and so the list goes on.
Websites, books and societies are ideal for gathering information on how to achieve your nutritional requirements on a vegetarian diet.
The number of fantastic vegetarian cook books on the market and growing number of vegetarian restaurants is indicative of the increase in the awareness of the negative aspects of consuming animal products.
A great way to start is to eliminate meat from your diet on just 2 days a week and start experimenting with the numerous and fabulously tasty vegetarian meals available.