Category Archives: Sustainable Diets

CORONA CHAOS, AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM IT


Credit: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It’s impossible to go anywhere these days without hearing the word “coronavirus” (or more specifically, Covid-19). Every media outlet (including this one) is passionately covering the topic. Arguments among friends and family are breaking out over whether it’s all media hype or a legitimate threat and, not surprisingly, every conspiracy theory under the sun is clogging the internet’s arteries, causing mass confusion and mistrust in our institutions.

Living on Earth in 2020 is like riding shotgun in a speeding vehicle where the driver just had a cocktail of every imaginable drug. Pupils dilated, pedal to the metal, he just swerved off the road and is barreling towards a canyon. That canyon can be the stock market, which has taken a major hit (but continues to fluctuate like a rollercoaster). It can also be the overall situation, as new countries join the list of documented coronavirus cases.

The efficiency with which the coronavirus spread globally is unnerving. It went from a Chinese problem to a global crisis in a matter of weeks. But this should not surprise us. Cheap flights to every corner of the globe are now the norm. Nearly every island, region and nation with something worth talking about is flooded with visitors from far-away places, thrilled to show their Instagram followers their every move, potentially picking up local viruses on the way, and bringing them home.

Since this is an environmental website, I’d also like to mention that although tourism is great for local economies, it also inundates the skies with airplanes, injecting billions of metric tons of C02 into the atmosphere every day.  


Credit: NBA Top Highlights/Youtube

To top it off, the industry is responsible for 35 million tons of solid waste dumped into our environment (including our oceans) every year.

The idea here is to create awareness, not to blame all the planet’s ailments, including the coronavirus, on the tourism industry alone. There are numerous factors at play here, but tourism is a big one.
Both for the good of the earth’s ecosystems and to mitigate the threat of global pandemics, it’s best to travel locally whenever possible. A great option for lodging is Ecobnb, which provides eco-friendly accommodations and encourages local travel.

Now onto the source of coronavirus Covid-19, which is believed to be a market in China that sells animals, both dead and alive. The original hosts of the virus are believed to be bats, which may have infected live chickens or other animals in the Wuhan market (called a Wet Market).

As human beings, our relationship with animals is complex. In some cultures, certain animals are treated as our own children, like dogs and cats. In others, these same animals are merely sources of food and subject to brutal exploitation before they are killed. While such treatment often brings about international condemnation, other countries systematically treat other animals with similar cruelty, mainly to satiate public demand for meat.


Credit: The Dodo

Nearly all pathogens throughout contemporary human history (tuberculosis, measles, mumps, smallpox, etc.) came into our world as the result of agriculture, (more specifically animal agriculture), which arose approximately 11,000 years ago. Most coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, circulate around animals, including domestic farm animals.

It’s quite possible that if most people around the world adopted plant-based diets and avoided animal-based products, the resurgence of epidemics such as Covid-19, SARS and MERS could potentially be avoided, as there would be little to no domestic farm animals in confined areas, in constant contact with humans. The extreme cruelty and environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture could also become a thing of the past. Plus, we could significantly improve our health and prevent other health related diseases.

Social media is helping spread conspiracy theories about the coronavirus from all angles, some claiming it was created by the US government to destroy China, others saying it was the Chinese government bent on controlling the population and destroying the US economy, others that it was Joe Biden, Fidel Castro and Santa Claus conspiring to ruin Trump’s second presidential bid. While these ideas are great click-magnets, the real reason this thing exists, and has spread so rapidly, is a convolution of complex factors, including our interconnected world and our mostly not so pleasant relationship with animals.

Let’s just hope the driver of this car can sober up, get things under control, and change his ways before it’s too late.


Credit: Everythingcarsclub

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GOOD FOOD: A REVOLUTION THAT HAS FINALLY BEGUN

Indeed, the most common theme of these blogs is change, ideally for the better of society, the planet and all its inhabitants. Change is, as we all know, nothing new. The only thing that never changes is the fact that things are always changing, as crazy as that sounds.

Yes, change has always been a constant. But in the past century it went into warp speed mode. We went from candles to light bulbs, from horses to cars, from slaves to machines, from letters to text messages. And the pace of change only continues to accelerate. It seems like every month there’s a new technology with the potential to change the way we do… everything.

But until recently, one aspect of our lives has remained relatively stagnant, the food we eat. Throughout our existence we humans have mostly eaten whatever is geographically convenient.

Contrary to popular belief, early humans ate predominantly plants, but as we migrated away from the equator, far enough where edible plants were scarce, we relied more on hunting other mammals for sustenance.

Fast forward a few hundred thousand years or so (recent evidence suggest anatomically modern humans evolved about 300,000 years ago), and our taste for meat has turned into one of the cruelest and most environmentally destructive industries on the planet.

Animal agriculture is responsible for the majority of Amazon rainforest destruction. It’s also the leading driver of species extinction on the entire planet because it consumes so much land, and it uses 520 times more water than hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a controversial method of extracting oil and gas from underground rocks because of its excessive consumption of water.  

Countless animal rights, environmental and health organizations have been pleading with people to abandon, or at least reduce, their consumption of meat for decades. But there’s one big problem. Too many people regard meat as an integral part of their diets and cultures, and old habits die hard. In a nutshell, when it comes to food, we’re too stubborn to change.

Credit: Pintrest

But there’s an organization that’s changing that, called The Good Food Institute (and yes, the food is good, in more ways than one). Just like automobiles saved most horses from the backbreaking task of hauling people and goods around for long distances, alternative meats are creating a monumental shift for the first time in human history, and The Good Food Institute (GFI) is making it happen.

Founded in 2016 by Bruce Friedrich, GFI works with scientists, entrepreneurs and investors to revolutionize the way we look at meat, by focusing on plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

And they’re getting things done.

In 2018, GFI gave over 160 presentations around the globe, educating the public about plant based and clean meat innovation, at venues such as the World Bank and Harvard Business Schools.

They’re also pushing the envelope in public policy, advocating fairness in the regulation of plant-based and cell-based meat, while pressuring governments to invest more in sustainable protein R&D.

Indeed, change happens naturally, but considering how recklessly we’re devouring our natural resources, change may not be happening fast enough. That’s why The Good Food Institute is giving that much-needed change a push, something even the most stubborn among us will likely accept sooner or later.

Because who could possibly be against good food?

Credit: Vegan Yack Attack

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Living in the bubble

Credit: Medium.com
Credit: Medium.com


As humans, our collective nature is undeniable. It’s why we’re the most dominant species in existence. If we were all loners, like cats, we would have never built pyramids, and eventually skyscrapers. There would be no science, as we depend on the collective sharing of ideas and discoveries to build upon, which has enabled us to smash the laws of physics and put satellites into outer space.

But history shows that our collective decisions haven’t always been aimed at the greater good. Countless wars, genocides and a long list of atrocities were the result of individuals convinced that what they were doing was right… because “everyone else” thought the same way.

One of our most common human traits is the fear of being ostracized for not succumbing to the decisions of the collective. But this fear is often subconscious, and we don’t always realize we’re doing something detrimental, either to ourselves or those around us, or to the entire world.

We just do what’s perceived as “normal”, again, because “everyone else” is doing it.

Credit: Medium.com
Credit: Medium.com

Of course, collective mind frames can shift, as they have throughout history. But such changes are rarely the product of rational decisions. All too often, they’re the result of charismatic leaders who appeal to our emotions, not our intellects, and their influence can shape collective perceptions, and the path of history, for generations.

The city of Bagdad, in Iraq, was regarded as the intellectual capital of the world from the year 800 to 1100. Words like Algebra and Algorithm originated in that area, where scientific and mathematical discoveries once flourished.

According to Niel Degrasse Tyson, a pop-science icon and expert in scientific history, the “Islamic Golden Age” came to an end when the influential Imam Hamid al-Ghazali led his followers to believe mathematics was the work of the devil.

Perhaps if history had taken a different turn, Iraq would today lead the world in science, technology and innovation. Though one can only speculate. Regardless, why did so many people buy in to such nonsense about math being evil?

There are many reasons, but when a small group of influential individuals accepts something as true, that belief system can trickle down and be adopted by “everyone else”, especially if it’s psychologically comforting, or a convenient way for those in power to maintain the status quo. Religious are perhaps the most notorious examples.

Carrie: 1976
Carrie: 1976

Few, if any, members of ancient roman society questioned the ethics of feeding slaves to lions in the Roman Coliseum for entertainment, just as the slave trade in the Americas went unchallenged until the advent of machinery that could replace them in the 19th century.

Credit: New York Times
Credit: New York Times

How could most  people be so indifferent to human suffering for so many generations? Because they lived in a bubble of collective perceptions, one so powerful that only a select few were strong enough to escape, and eventually guide the others out.

There is little evidence to suggest the human brain has changed much in the last 500 years or so, and even though the world has apparently become a kinder place, most of us continue to live in collective bubbles, blind to the repercussions of our actions, hesitant to question cultural norms for fear of being ostracized, and finding ourselves alone.

As of 2019, human slavery is nowhere near as pervasive as in years past, even though it still exists. But there are other forms of brutalization that continue to be part of everyday life, and are broadly accepted and perpetuated by the human collective, beginning with the normalized and industrialized breeding, torture and massacre of billions of animals on a regular basis, and ending with the obliteration of the natural world.

Amazon rainforest cleared for cattle ranching
Amazon rainforest cleared for cattle ranching

Unlike most global crises which are complex in nature and offer no simple solutions, the primary reason for the destruction of the world’s rainforests is a growing demand for animal protein, an element that is unnecessary and actually detrimental to human health.

Animal agriculture contributes between 14.5 and 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions regularly spewed into the atmosphere, more than the entire global transportation industry combined, and consumes over 30% of our planet’s freshwater, a resource that may soon become extremely valuable in a warming world.

In most parts of the world, animal protein is not a necessity at all. In fact, if the majority of people on Earth adopted a planet-based diet, an additional 4 billion people could be fed. That’s because it takes a lot more land to feed the 70 billion livestock animals bred, raised and slaughtered every year than it would to feed the 7.7 billion humans on Earth today.

Unfortunately, the collective bubble in which we’re in makes us indifferent to these facts, because everyone else eats animals on a regular basis. It’s the dominant system, kept firmly in place by our collective mind frame, aided by the power of industry lobby groups.

But if we can free ourselves from the collective grip, and evolve a little more than we have in the last 500 years, perhaps we can make that bubble pop, and disappear for good.

bubble pop

Vegin’ Out, the easiest and most enjoyable way to save the planet, and your health

vegan meal delivery service

There’s an easier and more effective way to reduce your carbon footprint than driving and flying less. Animal agriculture releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than all cars, trucks, boats and planes combined. There are 7.7 billion humans on the planet today, while over 70 billion land animals are bred into existence every year, for the sole purpose of being sacrificed for meat aisles and junk food restaurants, foods that are clogging our arteries and giving us heart disease.

Meat clogs your arteries
Pixabay at Pexels

So many animals require so much land. Between 30% and 40% of all the Earth’s ice-free land has been cleared to make room for livestock, the main reason the Amazon rainforest has been set ablaze.

Replacing animal protein with plant-based foods can save the planet and significantly improve our health in the most amazing ways.

Thriving on a plant-based diet has never been easier. Options have increased in nearly every restaurant and supermarket in the US. Recent documentaries like The Game Changers  have spread awareness on the health benefits of plant-based diets, both for athletes and those who simply want to prolong their lives.

Morgan Mitchell Two Time Australian 400M Champion.
Morgan Mitchell
Two Time Australian 400M Champion.

But modern times are busy times, and not everyone has time to prepare nutritious planet-based meals all the time. That’s where Vegin’ Out comes in. Founded nearly 20 years ago, Vegin’ Out delivers the healthiest, most delicious and affordable oil-free vegan entrees  to your home, available in nearly every US state.

Get $20 off your first order with this exclusive coupon!

vegan meal nationwide

Vegin’ Out is so much more than just a food delivery service. They’re deeply committed to improving their customers’ health by way of plant-based eating, helping with natural weight loss techniques while boosting your energy, the way nature intended.

Try the 5-Day Vegan Soup and Juice Cleanse here:

5-Day Vegan Soup & Juice Cleanse (400-800 calories per day) – great way to jump start your weight loss program!

It’s never been easier to help the environment while protecting your health, and now you can save time while doing both!

The choice is yours, and so is the future.

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Changing the Game: An Uphill Battle

Arnold

On October 1, 2019 a documentary called The Game Changers, presented by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, was made available for viewing worldwide. The film is about vegan athletes and their stories of success. It also shows the health benefits of plant-based diets and delves into the environmental impacts of animal agriculture.

Coincidentally or not, the day before its release a group of researchers published a series of papers concluding that red meat is not as bad as previously believed. They even went as far as recommending its consumption.

The publication received sharp criticism by the American Heart Association, among others, but the pro-meat claims were vehemently defended by Dr. David Allison from the Indiana University of Public Health, who has also received funding by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Meanwhile, Dr. Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, called the research “the most egregious abuse of data I’ve ever seen.” 

Studies that dilute scientific consensus on the harmful effects of certain industries are nothing new. For decades, tobacco and fossil fuel companies have paid scientists to conduct studies, release articles and write books promoting their industries, while downplaying their negative effects on human health and the environment.

Mr Burns

The Game Changers poses a threat to the entire animal agriculture industry, and the tsunami of anger and pushback was to be expected. Skeptics claim Arnold Schwarzenegger is simply trying to cash in on his fame. Quite an odd move for a man whose net worth is over $400 million.  Others claim the film is funded by plant-based conglomerates bent on spreading misinformation for personal benefit. Indeed, there’s an organization called the Plant Based Food Association, the only one of its kind. It has invested $120,000 in lobbying efforts since its inception in 2017.

But compare that to the  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which has dished out about $7 million in the promotion of beef consumption since 1998. Add to that the millions of dollars spent by groups like the National Pork Producers Council, the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, the North American Meat Institute, among so many others that have been fighting to keep meat on the menu for nearly a century, and have ramped up their efforts in recent years. Most of these efforts are brought to life in the form of marketing campaigns.

Courtesy: Pintrest

Either way, lots of people around the world are ditching animal products for ethicalenvironmental and health reasons.

The World Health Organization has put red and processed meats in the category of Group 2A and Group 1 carcinogens, respectively. The world’s leading nutrition organizations have publicly stated the benefits of well-balanced vegan and vegetarian diets for all stages of life, and the number of plant-based athletes continues to grow.

Morgan Mitchell Two Time Australian 400M Champion.
Morgan Mitchell
Two Time Australian 400M Champion.

There’s no doubt The Game Changers will inspire people of all walks of life to change their habits. But considering the power the meat industry wields, how marketing shapes perceptions more than science, and the simple fact that old habits die hard, this game changer may need superhuman strength to change the world.

Terminator arm

Please feel free to comment at the bottom.

 

Become a vegan athlete. Click on the picture to order your copy:

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The biggest steps you can take to save the planet, some of which may surprise you.

September 2019 will go down in history as the month when individuals in every city around the world stood up and courageously denounced global governments’ inaction on climate change.  This can also be attributed to the emergence of a new global icon. Greta Thumberg, a teenage environmental activist from Sweden, has stirred passions on every corner of the globe for invigorating the eco-conscious masses.

Most of those who took to the streets (everywhere from Sydney, Australia to Bogota, Colombia) were regular individuals, not rich and powerful oligarchs. They were mostly students but also teachers, waitresses and accountants, and although there’s no shame in blaming those who wield the most power, there are plenty of things we can do as individuals to save this planet for generations to come. Here are the easiest and most effective ones.

 

Ditch meat and embrace plant-based foods.

Vegan
Courtesy: Epicurious.com

This may sound counter-intuitive to some. How could a cheeseburger have a negative impact on the environment? For one, there are currently over 7.5 billion people  on the planet. Meanwhile, each year there are approximately 70 billion land animals  that have been bred into existence by human beings, destined to be killed for human consumption. These animals require lots of land for food, the reason livestock systems occupy up to 45% of the Earth’s ice-free land.

All that land needed to make food for cows, chickens, and pigs means lots of forests have to be chopped down or burned, releasing enormous amounts of C02 into the atmosphere. In fact, animal agriculture is the leading cause of Amazon rainforest destruction (that’s right, remember the fires?) and contributes approximately 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, which are warming the planet at an unprecedented rate. This is more than the entire global transportation system.

If you’re concerned about health, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,  the world’s largest organization of health professionals, explicitly states that “appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”

To learn about the health benefits of plant-based diets and how to make the transition, we at Sustainable Brilliance recommend the New York Times bestselling books How Not to Die,  and Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook, which are currently available on Amazon, one of our affiliate companies.

Learn to love the sun.

Solar energy

No, I don’t mean lay out and get a tan. Well, you can do that too. But it’s also an excellent idea to invest in solar energy. Not everyone can afford solar panels for their roof, and not all of us are homeowners. But every little step counts, and you don’t have to be wealthy to lower your carbon footprint. Simple steps like using solar powered chargers for your iPhone (especially handy when hiking or camping) can definitely help.

Click here to have a solar charger delivered to your home. 

For those able to take that extra step, solar energy lighting systems are among the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and they’ll save you lots of money in the long run. In the U.S, different states offer different tax incentives  for using solar energy. Sustainable Brilliance has recently partnered with Sunway Lighting LLC  to bring you the best outdoor solar energy lighting systems on the market. From solar powered flood lights to solar butterfly lights  and everything in between.

Click here if you’re ready to explore this new, energy efficient way of life.      

 

Go as paperless as possible:

Trees, save the planet
Courtesy: Mother Nature Network

As you may already know, paper comes from trees. Trees produce oxygen, store carbon, conserve soil and help prevent flooding. They also help to cool the atmosphere and, eerily enough, studies have shown a correlation between abundance of trees and lower crime rates in a given area.  

But even with the seemingly ubiquitous availability of the internet, which enables a whole new world of file sharing, a large percentage of the globe, including the United States, continues to rely on traditional snail mail, and too many people are still paying their bills with paper instead of online, the latter of which helps save those oxygen producing, crime fighting trees.  So please, embrace new technologies and save yourself a trip to the post office.

 

Start reusing more and recycling less.                                              

Recycle, climate change

Since 1992, about 45 percent of the world’s recyclable plastic has been sent to China, to get recycled.  That’s a good 106 million metric tons of plastic. For one, this requires gas guzzling tankers filled with plastic that must cross the ocean, which pollutes the air and all too often, the ocean itself. But the biggest and most recent problem is that China stopped accepting all this trash after passing the National Sword policy, which aims to protect the environment and people’s health.

Now most of our recyclables are either staying home or getting shipped to other developing countries, many of which are plagued with lax environmental laws and are ill equipped to handle the demand, hence much of that trash in your recycle bin is going into landfills or into the ocean.

Instead of buying plastic bottles, which are used once and then trashed or “recycled”, get yourself a thermos. The most sustainable way to obtain one is at a secondhand thrift shop. Otherwise you can purchase a new one from Amazon, and hold onto it for as long as possible.

 

So there you have it, some of the best ways to reduce your impact on our planet.

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Tomorrow’s Meat on Today’s Plate

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q5V46T1/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07Q5V46T1&linkCode=as2&tag=rggg-20&linkId=e826bbf4f261b4bf008b07119d7f208a

Like a fleet of alien spacecraft that just crashed landed on Earth, plant-based meats haven’t just destabilized the status quo, they’ve practically invaded our beloved fast food chains and family restaurants.  Not surprisingly, the burgeoning meatless meat industry has met fierce resistance from traditional industries, as have all disruptive changes throughout human history. Will the trend crash and burn like a 90’s one hit wonder? Or will the seeds of change permanently alter the landscape?

I would personally bet on the latter.

But what exactly makes recent innovations in plant-based meats, like Beyond Meat, so special?

The answer is comfortably hidden beneath superficial factors like taste, trendiness, and individual health. Sure, the World Health Organization has red meat on the list of Group 2A carcinogens. Processed meats, meanwhile, get the luxury of joining Group 1 carcinogens, right there with cigarettes. These are the active ingredients inside “real” hamburgers, which are also linked to colorectal cancer.

Beyond Burger

But there’s so much more to the story.  For one, we’re currently in what scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction, quite possibly the worst extinction event since the dinosaurs had their farewell party 66 million years ago. You may be thinking, that’s terrible, but what does that have to do with my meaty cheeseburger?

Well, for one, livestock systems are the leading cause of species extinction on the entire planet,  taking up between 30% and 45% of the Earth’s total land surface. People like to argue that plant-eaters kill plants, and that the demand for soy is destroying the rainforest. But cattle ranching is actually the number one cause of Amazon deforestation (and of most deforestation worldwide). That’s because it requires so much land to grow food for the 70 billion land animals that are bred and killed for food each year, processes which are also extremely cruel.

If you’re ready to have some of the world’s most famous plant-based meats delivered directly to your home or business, click here.

Meanwhile, most of the soy grown on Earth is not for picky tofu eaters, it’s mostly used to feed livestock. 

Then there’s water.  Animal agriculture consumes 55 trillion gallons of freshwater annually, 520 times more than hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  The average hamburger requires 460 gallons of water. The average American uses 17.2 gallons of water per shower (lasting about 8.2 minutes each time). Eating just one real meat hamburger is like standing in the shower with the water running for over three and a half hours.

Plant based meat
Courtesy: The Nation

Sure, plant-based hamburgers also require water and, well, plants. But the impact is minimal compared to your traditional burger. At a time when parts of the world are experiencing their worst droughts in history, and as the Amazon rainforest is set ablaze to make room for cattle ranchingI’ll take my chances with a plant-based burger over meat any day.

 

 

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The 5 most common myths about plant-based lifestyles

Courtesy: Contentednesscooking.com
Courtesy: Contentednesscooking.com

Change is happening right under our feet. More and more people are embracing plant-based/vegan lifestyles, or at least making significant reductions in their consumption of animal protein. From TV stars like Simon Cowell to movie legends like Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Of course, with change comes resistance, and when behavioral shifts negate previously held beliefs while forcing entire industries to adapt, that resistance can be fierce.

So here are some of the most common myths the resisters have about plant-based diets, and why they’re wrong.

  1. Plants alone aren’t enough to keep us healthy. Humans need meat. 

rawpixel.com at Pexels

This myth is the complete opposite of what the science shows. According to the World Health Organization, red meat is probably carcinogenic to humans, while processed meat is definitely so. To top it off, there is overwhelming evidence for a causal link between animal protein and chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and different forms of cancer.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the United States’ largest body of credentialed practitioners and nutrition professionals, clearly states that appropriately planned vegan diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate. They also state that “these diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, infancy, childhood adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes.”

For a plethora of information on how to increase your health, checkout the New York Times bestseller How Not To Die by Doctor Michael Greger, renowned physician, founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

 

2.Plant-based diets are unsustainable for the environment.  

BBC NEW

This is almost like saying smokers are healthier than non-smokers.

Cattle ranching accounts for over 70% of Amazon rain forest destruction, that’s right, the part of the world experiencing record fires for this very reason. It’s also the key driver of deforestation around the entire globe. Part of the reason some people claim plant-based diets are unsustainable is because of soy, which also has a huge environmental impact. But the majority of the world’s soy is actually used to feed cows, chickens and pigs.

What’s more, the livestock industry takes up nearly half of all the land in the contiguous United States. That’s right, the next time you get a window seat in an airplane while travelling across the US, chances are most of those little squares you see far below are farmland used to feed and maintain livestock. To add insult to injury, animal agriculture releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than all cars, trucks, planes and boats combined.

One reason is because of cows farting and belching, which releases methane, a gas much more powerful than carbon. Another factor is all the deforestation required to create land for pasture and grains for the approximately 56 billion land animals bred into existence, raised and slaughtered each year around the globe. Every time a tree is felled, carbon is released into the atmosphere.

3. You need animal protein to build muscle.

Patrik Baboumian
Patrik Baboumian

Not even close. The healthiest sources of protein come from beans, lentils, chickpeas and tofu. Vegetables and fruits also contain protein. These are the only protein sources for some of today’s most prolific bodybuilders. One such figure is Patrik Baboumian, renowned vegan athlete who has shattered countless weightlifting records in his native Germany.

Kendrick Farris, vegan since 2014, was Team USA’s only male weightlifter to make it into the 2016 Rio Olympics, and there’s also fitness star Nimai Delgado,  American bodybuilder who was born and raised vegetarian and turned fully vegan in 2015.

World class tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams also fuel their bodies exclusively with plants, along with highly regarded (and feared) mixed martial artist Nate Diaz, among many others.

4. Plant-based diets are a slap in the face to the world’s undernourished.

Hands of the poor
Hands of the poor

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there were approximately 821 million undernourished people in the world in 2017.

Now consider the fact that there are about 7.7 billion human beings on the planet today. In 2008, according to the most recent data from the United Nations, approximately 56 billion land animals  were being reared and slaughtered for human consumption on a yearly basis (as previously mentioned), and that number has only swelled since, considering growth in meat consumption in places like China, India and Nigeria.

All these animals, that wouldn’t exist if not for humans craving their meat, require enormous amounts of food and water. Food production requires land. Lots of it. And while nearly half of the Earth’s land  is dedicated to livestock, animal protein provides a paltry 17% of the world’s calories.

In the US, fracking consumes 70-140 billion gallons of water on a yearly basis, and has been subject of controversy for this very reason. Meanwhile, in the US alone, animal agriculture consumes between 36 to 74 trillion gallons of water annually.

At the same time, over 1.1 billion people lack access to water  and 2.7 billion  lack access to water for at least one month out of the year. A 1997 study from Cornell University  found that the US could feed an additional 800 million people if every American adopted a plant-based diet, virtually eliminating world hunger. A more recent study from the University of Minnesota shows that if all the food on earth were grown exclusively for human consumption, without livestock in the middle, an additional four billion individuals could be well-fed. This means we could feed four times the amount of malnourished people in existence today.

5. Plant-based diets are mainly for women. 

Nate Diaz Mixed Martial Artist
Nate Diaz
Mixed Martial Artist

The concept of masculinity has shifted throughout human history. In 18th century France men who wore stockings, high-heels and wigs were considered masculine. As early as the 1960’s, regular exercise was something only women did. Overall, people who went jogging were considered weird. And it wasn’t until recently that smoking was considered the official hallmark of masculinity.

Today, meat consumption is still broadly regarded as the pedestal of virility, which makes little sense.  According to Harvard Medical School, men should avoid red and processed meats to prevent erectile dysfunction, because over time they can decrease blood flow to that special part of their bodies.  

Indeed,the truth about meat’s detrimental health effects are being uncovered, and times are changing.   The classic “macho man” no longer looks cool with a cigarette in his mouth, and meat-eating is probably headed in the same direction as tobacco, especially considering all the “macho” athletes adopting plant-based diets, because modern day society continues to evolve, whether we choose to accept it or not.

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