I have been vegetarian since I was really young. I started off omitting red meat, then slowly worked each type of meat out of my diet. It was hard when I was younger. My mom didn’t really like to cook in general, and I was really too young to cook for myself so I ate a lot of side dishes. I wouldn’t totally call myself a carb-loading vegetarian, but it wasn’t a perfect diet either. No one else in my family is vegetarian, in fact they all think I am a little crazy but they have embraced it now.
I honestly am not totally sure how I decided that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore. I was never much of a fan of fish, and I would never eat veal. In fact I still remember (sorry for throwing you under the bus mom) one night my mom made veal parmesan for dinner and actually took the time to mold my piece of veal into the shape of a chicken breast and tried to trick me into eating it, but I figured out as soon as I cut it open. I suppose that is something I wouldn’t have done, but I get where she was coming from. She was tired of chicken all the time and needed something new. I mean really I am sure all of you parents out there have fibbed to your kid at one point, or realized that you as a child were tricked by your parents.
How about the time that my dad told me that an artichoke was a fish and I believed it and never tried it until I was in my 20’s. I didn’t know he was joking, and he forgot he made the joke. When I was a kid it made sense since he was eating the heart, I honestly thought it was like some weird living sea plant looking animal. Sounds crazy now, but I didn’t even find out I could eat it until I was 22 at T.G.I Fridays when my friend wanted to order spinach artichoke dip and I told her I couldn’t eat it because I didn’t eat fish. I can still see the look on her face when she heard me say that. All those years I was missing out on just how amazing artichokes are.
Now that I am 31, I have a lot more control over my diet, and I am completely settled in my vegetarian lifestyle, I also know what things are vegetables and what things are meat (lol). I can tell you now exactly why I eat plant-based and it is for a ton of reasons. Firstly it is the most obvious reason, animal rights. By now I am sure everyone is familiar with the horrors of factory farming and I really shouldn’t have to preach about it. At this point you either care or you don’t, but I hope eventually everyone starts to care. The animals that are suffering just so people can have a cheap fast food hamburger are astounding and heartbreaking.
In this month’s Healthy Tuesday articles I am going to break down the other two less obvious reasons that I am vegetarian into two parts. This week I am going to cover the environmental reasons, next week I will be back with a his plate/her plate recipe, then on the 16th part two: the health reasons of being a vegetarian and lastly I will finish off every month with a new smoothie or juice recipe.
The biggest reason for having a plant based diet is for the environment. The meat industry has a huge impact on the environment that I choose to not be a part of, here is why:
Six Environmental Reasons to Chose a Plant-Based Diet
Our waterways are being polluted: The waste, antibiotics, and pesticides from factory farms are running into our water supply. A typical pig farm produces the same amount of waste that 50,000 humans do, but they don’t have the same sewer system to take care of it.
Our Forests are being cut down at an alarming rate: Since 1967 our forests have been destroyed at an estimated 1 acre every 5 seconds for cattle in order to keep a cheap supply of beef for our fast food restaurants. At this rate some of our rainforests could be gone in as little as 30 years.
We are using our land inefficiently: The amount of land needed to feed one person on a meat-based diet could feed 20 vegetarians.
We are wasting our resources: It requires 16 pounds of grains and 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat. Growing that amount of grain for human consumption could feed 16 people and only uses 250 gallons of water.
We are wasting our energy: It takes more than 10 times the fossil fuels to produce one calorie of animal protein versus the same amount of plant protein.
We are destroying our oceans: Commercial fishing nets catching everything in its path which destroys coral reefs, home to billions of different aquatic animals.
There are so many other environmental reasons for adopting a plant based diet, if these facts have sparked your interest start googling and you will see so many more. Even changing one of your meat-based meals to a vegetarian meal can help make a difference!
Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Tuesday article or recipe!