There are many reasons to make the switch to a plant-based diet, reduce your meat intake or even be more conscious about the products you are purchasing and the packaging they come in.
Plant Power Day, which falls on March 7th, is all about celebrating the benefits of plant-based eating and how you can implement changes into your lifestyle going forward. It's a great opportunity to learn how to reduce your meat consumption and switch to healthier, eco-friendly plant-based options.
On Plant Power Day, there are lots of events and activities happening all around the world to help people learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet. But this isn't limited specifically to this day, as the values being highlighted are ones we can put into practice any day of the year.
Why Should You Eat a Plant-Based Diet?
Plant-based diets are growing in popularity with each passing year. In the US alone, it's estimated that 6% of people now follow a vegan diet, which is up 500% from 2014 [i].
So, why should you make a change? Well, there are two key areas that we can investigate, the health benefits and the positive impacts this has on the environment.
Even if you are a meat-eater, you can still make changes to your weekly meals and incorporate some plant-based options a few times a week to have a big impact.
The Health Benefits of Reducing Your Meat Intake
Not only are plant-based diets better for the environment (which we will get into shortly), but they're also good for your health! Plant-based diets are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and are often low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Reducing your meat intake or cutting it out entirely is shown to potentially reduce the risks of heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, strokes, obesity, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes [v].
One study looking into vegetarian diets found that there could be a 'significantly reduced risk' of cancer when consuming a vegan diet [vi].
Outside of the risks that could be associated with meat eating, another study from 2017 found that consuming plant-based diets might be an effective way of losing weight due to the reduced amounts of saturated fats [vii]. Across the 1151 participants, the mean difference in the amount of weight lost between those on a vegan diet compared to those not was 2.02kg.
You don't have to go vegan or vegetarian to make a difference. Simply incorporating one plant-based meal per week can have a huge impact to your health. When you are being more conscious about plant-based foods (but not limiting yourself solely to them) this is known as 'Plant-forward'.
But incorporating plant-based products into your routine goes far beyond breakfast, lunch and dinner when you take into consideration things like snacking and also vitamin supplements.
For instance, did you know that a lot of gummy vitamins on the market can contain gelatine which is created from nasties that stem from the ligaments, skin, teeth and bones from pigs and cows?
At Nourished, all of our gummy vitamins are completely gelatine free and created from our patented Vegan Hydrocolloid gel. We use only the highest-quality natural ingredients in all of our products meaning they are all vegan-friendly. Our 3d-printed vitamins are even Vegan Society Approved too!
Vitamins can be a really effective solution to supplementing a plant-based diet in order to get all the daily nutrition your body needs. NHS England cites that: "Vegetarians need to make sure they get enough iron and vitamin B12, and vegans enough calcium, iron and vitamin B12" [viii].
The Environmental Impacts of Eating a Plant-Based Diet
Meat consumption is one of the leading contributors to climate change and according to the Guardian, 60% of greenhouse gases added into our atmosphere comes from the meat industry [ii].
The BBC reports that ruminants (made up of mostly cattle and sheep) produce 3.1 gigatons of methane gas every year [iii]. It means that the production of meat and animal products is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.
If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, then reducing your meat intake is a great place to start.
But when we think of ways the food industry can help the environment, there is also an issue that stretches far beyond just meat, and that is the packaging our food products come in. Whether you are a meat eater and purchasing a packet of chicken or simply buying a bag of apples or carrots, plastic packaging is a major issue hindering the planet. The UK generates over two million metric tonnes of plastic packaging waste that goes to landfill each year [iv].
When it comes to packaging, there are a few things to look for:
-Is the packaging recyclable?
-Is the product itself recyclable?
-What type of plastic is it made from? (Some plastics are better for the environment than others)
-Is the packaging made from sustainable materials?
-Does the packaging contain any harmful chemicals?
Brands that care about the environment will often put these factors into consideration when designing their products and packaging from the offset.
This is one of the reasons why Nourished’s products are completely plastic-free. Each of our 3D-printed gummy vitamins come wrapped individually to preserve the freshness of the product and although this may look like plastic, Nourished wrappers are actually made from wood pulp and are home-compostable. Each of these wrappers will completely decompose in 32 weeks.
Because after all, we would all love to nourish and look after our own bodies without harming the planet we live on. You can read more about Nourished’s environmental packaging on our FAQ page here or this blog post.
Whether you are looking to go plant-based or not, making more conscious decisions when it comes to purchases can impact the health of our planet. There are more and more brands implementing eco-friendly packaging but there is still a lot more that can be done. So next time your grocery shopping or shopping online, try to choose brands that are more eco-friendly.
Want to Learn More?
If you would like to read more of the studies, claims and references cited in this article then please visit the links below: