Not Ready To Be Vegan? Here Are 5 Ways You Can Still Make Your Diet More Earth-Friendly

Therefore, the growing population and food requirements have fastened the depletion of our planet’s natural resources. 

Forests have been destroyed worldwide to make room for cattle and crops to feed animals, while our oceans have become barren due to trawling and overfishing. Moreover, agricultural systems span 43 per cent of the world’s desert and ice-free territory, accounting for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

  1. What does this mean? Do we have to restrict our food habits to veganism to save the plant?

Fortunately, there are many methods to eat sustainably without giving up everything you love to eat. This article covers five ways you can eat more sustainably without going vegan.

  • Eat more plants and switch to lower-impact meats. 

According to research, changing away from animal-based food could not only increase world food production by up to 49 per cent without expanding croplands but would also result in a reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide and waste by-products that end up in the ocean. In one year, animal husbandry produces the same amount of carbon emissions as the transportation industry.

We could also reduce the consumption of freshwater we need by half by reducing animal-based food, as animal husbandry uses more than half the freshwater we use. In essence, these reductions would help protect Earth’s health and nature’s wildlife, plants, and animals from direct and indirect threats.

If you don’t want to give up meat, gradually reducing your intake completely is an excellent place to start. Since beef production has the highest carbon footprint, consider limiting your beef consumption to once a week or a couple of times a month, or make it a food you only consume on special occasions. 

  1. People new to plant-based diets can start with one vegetarian supper per week. Try experimenting with new dishes, including nuts, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and tofu, until you’ve compiled a list of favourites to keep on hand. Fish, poultry, eggs, and cheese are all excellent sources of sustainable animal protein.
  2. Sustainability in diet will not only benefit the environment but is also helpful to human health and can help prevent chronic disease. Plant-based diets may decrease overall mortality risk by 12 per cent compared with omnivorous diets.

  • Go local

When you purchase foods from supermarkets, you should consider the sad truth that these commodities travel long miles before you consume them. It has an impact on the food’s freshness and flavour. It also releases alarming levels of carbon emissions and waste related to air freight and other modes of transportation into the atmosphere.

Additionally, food that has been transported from faraway requires packaging. Packaged foods produce a lot of waste and consume a lot of chemicals, both of which are terrible for the environment. Choosing raw and unprocessed foods makes a significant impact when it comes to eating sustainably.

  1. Food purchased from local farmers does not need to be transported large distances to reach your table. Not only will your food be more environmentally friendly, but it will also be fresh! There are recognised health benefits of eating locally cultivated goods, such as how utilising local honey can assist with allergies by absorbing local pollen, increasing your tolerance when allergy season arrives. Buying from local farms also benefits small businesses and the local economy.

Another way to minimise your food transportation impact is growing your food. As a result of importing foods from commercial farmers, you are assisting in reducing the excessive volumes of burning fossil fuels that pollute our environment and cutting down on food packaging materials.

  • Reduce food waste

Food waste is one of the most significant sources of global greenhouse gas emissions. Food dumped into landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and wastes a lot of the resources and labour that goes into growing, processing, transporting, and cooking food.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, global food production will need to increase by 70 per cent by 2050 to feed the world. In addition, this will also pose a massive challenge due to the effects that climate change, such as droughts and extreme weather, will have on our ability to grow food. Still, greater food production will have a greater impact on our ecosystem. It will also increase the demand for resources such as fresh water and fertiliser and put even greater pressure on wild populations of animals such as fish.

Taking the time to plan your meals for the week can help you reduce food wastage. Shop only for what you need when you go to the grocery store. You can repurpose leftovers by turning them into something new or freezing them. Keep a couple of go-to recipes on hand for using up scraps from the fridge.

  • Consume Less Dairy Products

There are various factors in a dairy farm that harm the environment.

Animal agriculture accounts for one-fourth of the overall global water footprint, with dairy cattle accounting for 19% of that amount.

Cows also produce a large amount of waste. In addition, the faeces from factory-farmed animals are loaded with chemicals and pesticides. Because these cows are crowded together in small places, they must be heavily treated to avoid disease spread.

There are a variety of creative methods to cut down on your overall dairy consumption. Making Greek yoghurt, for example, requires four times the amount of milk as ordinary yoghurt. So simply switching over to ordinary yoghurt can make a tremendous difference.

  • Use substitutions

  1. Meat substitutes are vegetarian and vegan diet products that can be used as alternatives to meat. These meat replacements can have similar textures and aromas to the real meat and similar nutritional qualities such as protein and calcium. Pork, chicken, ground beef, sausage, bacon, fish, and other meat-based items may be available as meat substitutes.

In the absence of meat, you can also use savoury flavour enhancers such as mushrooms and nutritional yeast to make your dish more appealing. Instead of making meat the main entrée, you can season your dishes with meaty side dishes.

Dairy substitutes are similar to dairy goods but do not contain dairy. Some types of plant-based milk are pretty nutritious, and several producers offer calcium- and vitamin D-fortified varieties. Products like almond oil, coconut milk, and soy milk can be used as alternatives to milk.

  • Bonus point: Start small

Changing your food habits can be intimidating. However, you don’t have to do everything at once. 

  1. If you start with small steps, you’ll be more likely to stick to new routines. Start by adding one meat-free item to your day or designating a meatless day of the week if you generally consume meat at all of your meals. If you’re concerned about not receiving enough nutrients, you can add protein-rich alternatives such as nuts, lentils, and beans to your meals.

We hope these tips help you let go of your eating habits that negatively impact the environment and adapt to a more sustainable diet.