Reblog: How to make the biggest impact on the environment

I just had to share this brilliant blog and well put together infographic by Powered by Mangos! Click on the image below to see the full blog.

 

As Earth Day 2017 passes, I’m thinking about all the ways people across the world have pledged to help the environment. Some will plant trees or pick up trash. Others may ride their bike to work. It’s inspiring to see people willing to change their lives in a small way to help this planet we […]

via How to Make the Biggest Impact on the Environment — Powered by Mangos

Series: The best 3 animal products to cut out of your diet. 3 – dairy

This series is about which animal products are best to cut out of your diet for health and environmental reasons.

  • Part 1 was on processed meats and can be found here.
  • Part 2 was on red meat can be found here.

Part Three: DAIRY

i.e. milk, yoghurt, cheese, cream etc

Bitty

Why?

Health:

Dairy products are high in saturated fat and contain cholesterol –  both of which I talked about in the health sections of the previous posts. They are linked with a number of diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Many also find their skin and digestion clears up after cutting dairy.

Dairy is linked to quite a large range of health issues – too large and complicated to cover here.. I suggest you visit this website and check out those that interest you.

Milk linked to cancer, diabetes, autism and schizophreniaMammals (including humans) produce milk for their young which nourishes them till they are weaned. Mammals no longer need breastmilk after weaning, be it from their own mother, or a mother from a different species (yes cow’s milk is breastmilk too!). Each mammal produces milk specific to it’s babies needs. So cow’s milk is to turn a calf into a huge cow and therefore has much larger amounts of protein than human milk. Human milk has more carbohydrate and slightly more fat (for our large brain). The ratios of other nutrients like calcium and iron are also different. This website here explains the differences. Just because something has ‘large amounts’ of something doesn’t mean it’s a good source. Yes cow’s milk has large amounts of calcium but it’s actually not well absorbed by our bodies. Food should be thought of as a nutrient package instead. Cow’s milk comes with sat fat, cholesterol, hormones, pus etc. Kale (a healthy source of calcium) comes with Vitamin K, C, fibre, magnesium ETC. The same is true for red meat – yes it contains protein – but is it a good source? Considering it’s a probable carcinogen with saturated fat, cholesterol, minimal fibre – probably not. Compared with plant based protein which is high in fibre and other nutrients, meat is a less healthy choice.

Environment:

As discussed with processed and red meats, animal agriculture is increasingly being linked with environmental problems such as climate change, pollution and deforestation. There are around 270 million dairy cows worldwide.  That’s over 4 x the population of the UK. Cows are large animals which require a lot of food. That food has to be grown, using land, water, pesticides/fertilisers etc. There are also the transportation costs, the materials used – all those plastic bottles, plastic packaging, tubs etc. Dairy is a huge resource drain – and when it’s for something completely unnecessary and damaging to human health – this resource drain is ludicrous.

What to eat instead?

There is a huge variety of plant based milks out there to try. Find your favourites! Mine are oat, coconut, rice, cashew and almond. Look out for added sugars – if the milk has rice in it, it will be naturally sweet e.g. Alpro Coconut or Rice Dream. Oatly barista froths up nicely for a cappuccino.

There’s a growing amount of vegan cheese on the market or have a go at making your own. A quick google of homemade vegan cheese shows the variety you can make!

You can get non-dairy yoghurts, creme fraiche, cream, custard etc. in major supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsburys. Also check the frozen section for non dairy ice cream!

I like to see non-dairy alternatives as a treat. They aren’t whole foods and some have added sugar. They are great for the transition period or if you have a cheese craving. Once you stop eating dairy, those cravings will eventually disappear (casein, the protein in dairy makes it addictive!) and eventually you will no longer see it as food!

Worried about calcium? Don’t be! Below is a list of healthy, calcium rich foods>

calcium infographic

Thanks for reading my 3 part series on the best animal foods to cut from your diet for health and environment 🙂

Series: The best 3 animal products to cut out of your diet. 2 – red meat

This series is about which animal products are best to cut out of your diet for health and environmental reasons.

Part 1 was on processed meats and can be found here.

Part Two: RED MEAT

i.e. beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat

Why?

Health:

Similarly to processed meat, red meat was assessed by the World Health Organisation and is now considered as a class 2a carcinogen, meaning it is probably carcinogenic. The strongest evidence is for bowel (or colorectal) cancer, but also pancreatic and prostate.

In a 2012 Harvard study, researchers observed over 120,000 participants who were free of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) at the start of the study. Their diets were assessed every four years and by the end of the study over 15,000 deaths had occurred from CVD and cancer. They found that regular consumption of red and processed meat was associated with increased mortality. Replacing servings of red meat with healthy protein sources such as whole grains, legumes and nuts were associated with a decreased mortality risk. (They controlled for all other potential factors such as smoking, age, alcohol, family history, calorie intake etc).

Meat has also been linked to type 2 diabetes: 

Also there are potential issues with ‘heme iron’ (mainly found in meat, plants have mostly non-heme iron):

 

Environment:

As I discussed in my post on processed meat, more and more information is being shared about the environmental impact of meat consumption. Red meat, particularly beef, is associated with the biggest land and energy use and the largest potential for global warming. When looking at carbon footprints of different diets, it is clear that meat plays a big role in this:

co2 footprintsThe above infographic was created from the findings of a UK study of dietary greenhouse gas emissions which can be found here.

If cutting all meat from your diet seems like too much of a hurdle, cutting out just red meat (and replacing it with healthy plant proteins) will still have a positive impact on your health and the environment.

Even supermarkets are getting involved with trying to reduce meat consumption for health and environment. This article from The Guardian cites a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US, which concluded that eating less meat could reduce global mortality by 6-10% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30-70%. Supermarket chiefs (with Sainsbury’s leading) are going to work with Oxford University scientists to make changes to supermarkets layout to increase fruit and vegetable purchases whilst reducing meat purchases.

What to eat instead?

Mince is a popular and versatile red meat product used in many recipes from bolognese, to lasagne, cottage pie and moussaka. Supermarkets now offer mince alternatives such as soya mince or Quorn. If you want focus on whole plant foods instead you can use green lentils, finely chopped mushrooms, cauliflower or crumbled baked tofu.

Beef burgers can be swapped for veggie burgers. Some types will give you the texture of a meat burger such as Linda McCartney vegetarian burgers. Others will be more soft and don’t try to imitate meat burgers.

Focus on healthy proteins such as beans, chickpeas, nuts, whole grains, lentils, peas etc. The reality is there is protein in everything so as long as you eat enough good quality calories, your protein needs will be met (recommended protein intake is 0.8g per kg of weight).

Protein infographic

 

Stay tuned for the final part of the series next week!

Series: The best 3 animal products to cut out of your diet. 1 – processed meats

Do you have a New Years goal to eat less meat?  Or to eat healthier? To reduce your environmental impact?

Alice: This is impossible. The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.

For some, going vegan or vegetarian seems like too big a change. The good thing is, you don’t have to go all the way to start improving your health and reducing your impact on the planet.

I’m going to write a 3 part series on the top 3 animal products to cut out of your diet this year, based on their health and environmental impacts.

Part One: PROCESSED MEATS

i.e. Bacon, sausages, ham, hot dogs etc.

Why?

Health:

Processed meat has now been identified as a class 1 carcinogen. This classification means there is “convincing evidence that it causes cancer”. This puts processed meat in the same category as smoking tobacco. It is especially linked with bowel (or colorectal) cancer. According to Cancer Research, in 2012, the lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer in the UK is 1 in 14 for men and 1 in 19 for women. They state that around 54% of bowel cancer cases are preventable through lifestyle changes such as eating less red and processed meat, eating more fibre and not being obese. Obesity is complex, but processed meat is high in saturated fat which can lead to obesity amongst other health problems.

Environment:

Animal agriculture is increasingly being shown to have a devastating impact on the environment. Creating animal products requires huge amounts of resources such as water, energy and land. Land is used for the factories/farms but the vast majority of land use in animal agriculture is to grow crops to feed animals (or for grazing land). The leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon is for animal agriculture. Growing plants to feed animals is highly inefficient in terms of conversion. Feeding these plants to humans instead of animals would provide much more food. Animals also create huge amounts of waste which is a leading cause of water pollution.

Cowspiracy
‘Cowspiracy’ infographic

What to eat instead?

There are plenty of plant based versions of these types of products to satisfy any craving you have. They  might not be exactly the same, but once you stop eating these products, your tastebuds soon adjust and you no longer crave them. I wouldn’t recommend eating a lot of processed food in general but for when you really crave something these plant based options are useful:

You could even get creative and make your own veggie bacon – there’s loads of recipes online (using ingredients such as aubergine, coconut, tofu, mushrooms, rice paper etc!).

So, for your health, the environment (and of course the animals!), cutting out processed meat is a win-win-win!

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 🙂