Saving the world…one veggie at a time.

Going vegan or vegetarian isn’t just for animal rights supporters (or fanatics, depending on your point of view) anymore. More and more people are turning to veggies to be more environmentally friendly.

Now, don’t worry, I’m not saying everyone has to be completely vegan or vegetarian to help the environment. But after learning the facts, you will see that just making and eating  something vegetarian once in a while can make a big difference. I have even included a yummy vegan recipe.

So why is eating vegan better for the environment?

First, it takes fewer resources to support a plant-based diet.

About 90% of the grain produced in the U.S. is ued to feed livestock, not humans. However, 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle only produces about one pound of beef for humans. In other words, the amount of grain it takes to produce enough meat for a person is more than the amount of grain the person would need if he consumed the grain directly. This is grain that could be used to feed malnourished people in developing countries. Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer claims reducing U.S. meat production 10% would free grain to feed 60 million people.

Producing meat also uses up vast amounts of water resources.  According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Water Management Institute, it takes up to 4,000 L of water to produce 1 kg of wheat but up to 20,000 L of water to produce 1 kg of beef. A totally vegetarian diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.

In addition, while transportation is often seen as a major cause of global warming, the meat industry is actually a bigger culprit. The world’s livestock population creates 18% of the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions while the global transport system is responsible for 13%. Much of the greenhouse gases produced by lifestock is methane, which has 23 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide. Farm animals unfortunately burp and fart quite a bit, and consequently release a lot of methane. They also tend to poop a lot, and their manure generates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that has 296 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide.

Finally, more and more forests are being cut down to make pastures for livestock. Since 1950, over half of the world’s rainforests have been destroyed, killing millions of native animal species in the process. Deforestation not only  contributes to global warming, but it also decreases biodiversity.

So knowing this, where do we go from here? What is a simple green living change for all? As mentioned before, just trying a vegan or vegetarian dish occasionally can help. And eating vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up delicious food!

Below I have included a vegan recipe I recently tried out. The “carrots” in the second photograph is made from marzipan and food coloring.

Vegan Banana Muffins

Ingredients

½ cup vegetable oil or vegan butter

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

¾ cup mashed banana

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup soymilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Cream oil/butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the mashed banana, ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

 Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

For more yummy vegan recipes, visit this awesome blog: http://www.veganyumyum.com

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    […] Dogs and cats need food, and most of the dry kibble Fido eats is made from leftover materials meat industries don’t want, meat from cows that are dead, dying, diseased, or disabled. The large meat industries that bring us our cheap beef also create a lot of waste and carbon dioxide simply by the way they raise their livestock. For more information about the environmental impacts of the meat industry, you can read my earlier post https://greenliving4all.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/saving-the-world-one-veggie-at-a-time/ […]


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