Nivi Singh lets loose on vegetables and the environment.
We, as a society, have never been more aware, conscious and educated about our bodies and our diet. However, we may be the first generation of young adults to have a shorter life span than our parents, to develop hypertension/diabetes while still at Grammar School and to battle chronic diseases that are vastly a result of the diets we follow.
As a race, we’ve become faster, speedier and better. Yet, we have managed to cut corners in the most shameful ways. By processing food instead of creating it naturally, by replacing quality count with calorie count, by somehow justifying artificial sweeteners instead of natural sugar. Where are we going? Are we just living in denial about the impact this is having on us and around us?
The striking association between affluence and meat consumption is a worrying trend. The idea behind this article is to emphasize that a shift towards a plant based diet is the need of the hour, not just because of the macro impact of meat consumption on the environment but the impact processed meat is having on our bodies. A few things to consider:
Vegetables do have protein
To convince ourselves that processed meat is providing us with protein is the biggest myth of the 21st century. Numerous studies have found that if anything, over-consumption of processed meat leads to prostate/liver cancer, hypertension, type two diabetes and higher chances of cardiovascular disease. The protein we need is obtainable from plants such as edamame, legumes, beans, chickpeas, chia seeds and spinach to name a few.
Vegetables are lighter on the environment
It takes a lot more water, land and energy resources to produce meat as opposed to vegetables. The greenhouse gas emissions are higher when we produce meat, the resources used to fatten an animal for consumption are much more than those used to grow grains or vegetables, and our soil is put to greater test each time we decide to consume more meat than vegetables.
It is no secret that climate change is real. Our food habits are accelerating the undeniable jeopardy of the environment, the rise of carbon emissions and the deforestation in the spectacular Amazon forests, amongst others. It is challenging enough today to sustainably feed the earth’s population on a plant based diet, but adding a high demand for meat to the mix is surely not going to help.
Look after your farms and farmers
Promote your farmers — wherever you live and whatever you do, there are lots of ways to do this. But most importantly, remember that you’re promoting the people that feed your land. It is the basis of everything that happens and functions around you. As George Washington very correctly puts it, ‘Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man’.
Know your vegetables — organisations such as Farm Drop and Farm2Fork are excellent for connecting city dwellers with farmers that are producing non-genetically modified produce. It is essential that we not only start a slow and steady switch towards more plants on our plates, but equally important that we understand the way in which our vegetables are being produced.
Any change in habits, diet included, takes perseverance. We are what we repeatedly do, so let’s hope we can collectively contribute towards a greener future involving more forks and less knives.
About the author
Nivi Singh is a finance professional, blogger and avid traveller with a strong interest in food and environment.
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