For centuries, the human body has gotten much – if not all – of its protein and energy from meat consumption. While this diet and lifestyle has increasingly come under fire over the years, it is one that millions of people continue to live by it, citing it as the most healthy whole dietary approach. It is human nature to stick to what we know, and what we [seemingly] know is that, if we eat meat, we can get a significant amount of our daily necessary dietary input. To be fair, meat consumption does give us plenty of energy, protein, and iron (among other benefits), but the reality of how that meat is made available is both disturbing and unsustainable for the planet. Over recent years especially, we have become more aware than ever before about the impact that our dietary choices have not only on our own bodies, but on the environment and the planet. The up and coming generations are growing up in this world of increasingly self-aware ideologies, and if recent projections are anything to go by, the core of the lifestyle of the future is going to be the plant-based diet.
The shocking thing about so many people’s viewpoint on their diet’s impact on their whole health is that they are almost never (if at all) willing to admit that they do not necessarily have to eat meat at all. Simply put, the food system has been shattered by the millions of human beings that maintain unhealthy, unsustainable, and inhumane lifestyles – including their diets. We are so stubborn in the dietary choices that we are comfortable with that we are unwilling or unable to conceive of the mere idea that there could be a diet that gives us everything we need, without unnecessarily taking from other living beings on Earth. Think of it this way: there are roughly 300,000 edible plant species in the United States alone, and only three of them make up almost 60% of American calories (rice, wheat, and corn). It is entirely within our power to fix the way that we obtain our food, and doing so will not only benefit our individual bodies, but the global healthcare system.
From diabetes to obesity, eliminating meat and other common dietary means such as processed sugars and unhealthy fats will have an incredible effect on the healthcare system. The problem is that we do not exactly realise how unhealthy the staples in most modern kitchens are. In modern-day grocery stores, for example, most of the food that surrounds people is not necessarily good for the human body. Even as we browse through the aisles or walk into the shopping centre with a detailed shopping list, some of the foods that are “good for us” are not necessarily healthy. Avoiding meat and dairy can feel like an extreme step to a lot of people who are so used to having these things in their weekly – even daily – diet, but realistically it not only has a significant positive impact on the planet, but it is incredibly beneficial for our bodies as well.
The statistics of the current meat trade are distressing, to say the least. The meat trade is not only unsettling, but it is also unbelievably unsustainable. It takes eight times more land to produce one kilo of protein for meat, as it does for plants. Further, it takes four times as much water to do the same thing. The majority of the land in the US – and around the globe, for that matter – is begging to come to the realisation that, in order to have a more sustainable food system, there must be a stronger emphasis on plant-based diets. The enormous undertaking required to produce livestock is disgusting – providing just 18% of calories, the livestock needed to make up the meat trade takes up 83% of farmland. It is just not sustainable. So, that then begs the question: has it ever really been sustainable in the first place? How far back does the damage go? A whole article could explore that question.
But, in short, for centuries, human beings have obtained a lot of their protein and energy (among other dietary intake necessities) through the consumption of meat.
This is something that people have been – mostly – at peace with, but in the last twenty or so years the relatively small percentage of the human population that is more and more people are turning towards an herbal life and choosing greens on Grasscity over chemicals and today there seems to be more individuals practicing a holistic lifestyle, more than ever – and more of a drive to go plant-based than ever before. When it comes down to it, the shift is really due to the shift in mindset of the current generations. We are realising the impact of our dietary choices and our chosen lifestyles affect more than just us – they affect the environment and the planet. This increasingly common shift in mindset is causing a gravitational shift that, if current projections are anything to go by, is going to result in the lifestyle of the future being centred around plant-based diets. And really, is that really such a bad thing? Is it not more than our turn to instil positive impact for the planet?