With every passing year more and more research points out that eating a diet with less meat (than the average amount consumed per person) is good for your health and really good for the planet. This is good news in itself, and what’s better is that the post-boomer population are forcing restaurants to change their menu.
People are ordering less meat at restaurants, eating more veggie meals, and less likely to go to meat-focused resturants. This will decrease the carbon footprint of most people since veggie food requires less energy to make.
Earlier this year, the Chicago-based food research firm Technomic surveyed 1,500 people online and concluded that in order to attract millennial customers, restaurants must offer vegetarian and vegan meals. The report showed 45 percent of younger consumers either regularly eat vegetarian and vegan food or follow a vegetarian diet. The number falls to 30 percent in older people.
With the number of vegetarian dishes on restaurant menus growing and the number of vegetarian products in stores on the rise, it seems logical to assume the number of vegetarians is also growing. But the numbers, which have remained relatively flat in recent years, don’t support that.
There are plenty of reasons to change your diet to a vegetarian one and blogger Brain Gordon has concluded that there are four primary reasons why people go veggie.
Many millions of people have considered going vegetarian at some point in their life, and millions have. (Hundreds of millions including those who do so as part of their religion.) As climate change, fisheries collapse, desertification, and other crises become less ignorable, many of us will have to consider eating less meat, if not forgoing many animal products entirely.
In my experience, there are four reasons that people go veg:
Compassion for Animals
There is a fifth reason that may remove the choice for many: Economic. Meat and animal products may simply become too costly.
Keep reading Brain’s reasons for going vegetarian.
Almost everyone knows about the online classified site cragislist, but did you know that there’s now a craigslist for vegetables called VeggieTrader?
This is a great idea for people who enjoy local produce – even better for those who have their own vegetable garden. You can use the site to trade surplus produce from your garden with someone who has a surplus of another type of produce. This means that your local garden can be stretched a little further by finding and trading with other gardeners.
It’s local, affordable and sustainable, but we’ve noticed a lot of it goes to waste. You plant too many tomatoes, or your plum tree has a bumper crop, most of which is enjoyed by the sidewalk and the grass…
Wish you could turn your excess plums into lemons, or maybe
even a little cash? Use this site to find neighbors to swap with
or sell your excess produce to. Or if you specialize in growing tomatoes, find neighbors who specialize in other produce and
form networks to share in the variety. Even if you don’t have a garden, Veggie Trader is your place for finding local food near you
Yes, I’m a vegetarian, and yes I think most people should be; however, will I force you to be vegetarian? – not yet. In fact, I only discuss why I’m veggie when asked (with the obvious exception of posting here). One reason I love not eating animals is that it’s really awesome for the environment to not feed animals in the first place. Oh, the irony. An article from Alternet sheds some light on how not eating meat is great for the environment.
Even more hidden from public view is the role of animal feeding in global warming. The shocking fact is that production of beef, pork and poultry is a bigger part of the climate problem than the cars and trucks we drive, indeed of the whole transportation sector. In our fantasies — and ads — we see contented cows eating grass, but the fact is all but a lucky few spend much of their lives in dismal feedlots where grass does not grow, getting fat on corn and other unspeakable byproducts. Internationally, two-thirds of the earth’s available agricultural land is used to raise animals and their feed crops, primarily corn and soybeans, and the trend is accelerating as people in Latin America and Asia increasingly demand an Americanized diet rich in meat. The need to grow more animal feed and more animals has been devastating rainforests and areas like Brazil’s Cerrado region, the world’s most biologically diverse savannah, long before the demand for biofuels began escalating.
It’s What We Eat
Vegetarians have long understood this issue, but asking the American public to eat less meat is still a radical idea, politically untouchable. Yet the meat industry is a giant source of greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide is only one, and not the most dangerous one. All those steer feedlots and factory buildings crammed with pigs and chickens produce immense amounts of animal wastes that give off methane. On an equivalent basis to carbon dioxide, methane is twenty-three times more potent as a greenhouse gas. When you add in the production of fertilizer and other aspects of animal farming (including land use changes, feed transport, etc.) livestock farming is responsible for nearly one-fifth of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, more than the transportation sector, according to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.