Some people get scared off by the idea of a vegan diet, thinking that it’s too extreme or difficult to implement. You may even ask why we post so many vegan recipes on this site. Well, it all goes back to our core philosophy to take small steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
Years ago, a vegan diet was a struggle to maintain. Little was known about the options and resources were scarce. This is no longer the case and research supports that reducing meat and dairy products has both health and environmental benefits.
That said, we are not trying to convince you to become completely vegan. We only want to show you some easy and healthy sustainable recipes and share some facts. For example, did you know that meat and dairy products are responsible for roughly 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year? It’s true.
Below are a few more facts that might surprise you.
Q. Isn’t being vegetarian just as sustainable as being vegan?
No, there is a big difference in sustainability because of vegetarians’ consumption of dairy and meat-derived products. For example, a cow must have a baby each year to produce milk and what do we do with all the male cows? Additionally, the production of cheese “eats” more resources than chicken, for example. And did you know that you need about 21-25 liters (22-26 quarts) of milk to produce 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of butter? At the same time, olive oil is much better for your health than butter.
To give you some examples, here are some CO2 comparisons, using 100g (3.5 oz) of the product as a base. To produce that much…you also produce this much CO2:
|CO2||equals driving this |
much with a car
|Tofu||0.17 g (0,006 oz)||1 km|
|Chicken||0.37 g (0,013 oz)||2 km|
|Cheese||0.58 g (0,02 oz)||4 km|
|Beef||1.23 g (0,04 oz)||8 km|
Q. Is a world without meat and dairy consumption the future?
We don’t think so, but we should try to go back to a more sustainable and humane way to treat animals. I do eat meat and cheese every now and then. But when I do, I try to buy meat from a local farmer who uses area butchers and is raising animals in fair conditions — meaning they had a life other than being in a dirty and crowded pen with far too many other animals, which also often results in better quality meat.
I also think it is important to really enjoy the meat you eat. Let’s try to appreciate that it is something special and not taken for granted.
Q. How much difference does reducing meat consumption really make?
It can be quite a lot. If I eat 200 g (7 oz) of beef every day and switch to 200 g of chicken per week, I could save about 860 g (30 oz) of CO2 a year. That is the equivalent of driving 6000 km (3,700 miles) or cutting down about 86 trees. Your diet is an important factor in your carbon footprint! If 1,200 people did this, they would save more than a ton of CO2.
Ten people cutting their meat and dairy consumption in half has a bigger impact than one or two people turning into vegans.
In the beginning, cooking vegan might seem complicated, but if you do it for awhile, you will realize it’s not complicated at all. There are many recipes that were always vegan. We are here to help you with discovering new recipes we use ourselves. As a community, we will support each other on the journey to better eating habits.
Q. Do I need to worry about nutrition and vitamins when eating vegan?
If you go for a pure vegan lifestyle and don’t eat any meat, eggs or dairy products, you should think about your intake of vitamins D and B-12, as well as iron. I don’t think you should really worry about it in the first 6 to 12 months, if you make sure to choose a healthy vegan diet. This means a good balance between vegetables, legumes, nuts and cereals. Only eating vegan chocolate and junk food could also be considered a vegan diet, but not a very healthy choice. If you eat vegan for more than six months, please monitor your vitamin and iron levels.
If you don’t go all the way and just skip meals with meat a couple of times a week, you don’t need to worry about your vitamins. You will get more of the good stuff this way and skip a lot of animal fat. Your arteries will be much cleaner and your heart will thank you!
If you want to know more about the vegan lifestyle, check out the vegan society.