This month we started with the celebration of the world vegetarian day on the 1st of October. That’s why we wanted to talk a bit about the benefits of eating less meat and overall reducing or avoiding animal products in our meals. In many countries, the number of people who eat less or no meat has increased in recent years. The main reasons are health, animal welfare, and the environment. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian yourself, you might have seen more meatless options appearing in restaurant menus or alternatives to cow’s milk in cafés. Society is changing and companies are taking notice, with even giants like Nestlé offering more and more vegetarian products.
With the climate crisis becoming more evident and the need for action more urgent, industrialized meat production is often discussed because of its environmental impact. More people are making personal changes to be more environmentally friendly and are demanding the same from companies and politicians.
One example of this was the global climate strike on the 27th of September with a total of 6 million people joining massive demonstrations all around the world. You have probably also noticed more people spreading awareness about the environmental crisis on social media. Because of the fires in the Amazonas rainforests, we also used the Nicequest Instagram account to give you some advice on how you can help save the forest or at least reduce the damage. Eating less meat was one of them since the fires and deforestation of the rainforest often happen when meat farmers want to gain more land for their animals.
Benefits of eating less meat for the environment
- Conserving biodiversity. More than 80% of the world’s farmland and 30% of the earth’s land surface is used for meat production, for the farms themselves and to grow food for the animals. That means a great loss of land to grow diverse and nutritious crops to feed the world.
- Reducing greenhouse gases. Animal farms already produce large amounts of methane gases and additional greenhouse gases are released when forests are turned into farmland. Livestock farming causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all types of transportation, including airplanes, together. Producing less meat is essential to fight climate change.
- Pollution of land and water. The meat industry does not only use up a lot of water, but it also contributes to the pollution of soil and groundwater through the use of pesticides and other chemicals. This isn’t only bad for our health as humans, it also affects how much land is healthy enough to actually grow crops.
Benefits of eating less meat for your health
- Preventing diseases. As long as you’re not substituting meat with chocolate and white bread, a well balanced vegetarian diet with whole grains, nuts and soy will give your body nutrients that reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- Healthy skin and eyes. Vegetables and fruits contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for your skin and sight.
- Less toxicity. Commercial meat production uses a lot of chemicals and hormones to achieve higher profits. Plant-based diets, especially organic with options, include less added chemicals that can affect your health, for example by creating resistance to antibiotics.
Our favorite recipes
If you want to try alternatives to meals with animal products or just looking for new tasty vegetarian recipes, here we present 3 options for your day.
In the morning: Milk from plants instead of cow’s milk
Cow’s milk for cereal, coffee or tea is a part of many breakfasts around the world. But there is also a trend towards plant-based “milk” , some people prefer plant-based options for health and some for the environmental impact of the dairy industry. Here we have an idea for a special kind of good morning drink:
If you want an alternative to the classic coffee with milk, we recommend you try this antioxidant, satiating and comforting drink. It is very easy to do and is perfect for those moments when you feel like something sweet but healthy.
– 12 oz of plant milk (for example from almonds, soy or oats)
– 1.5 oz of beetroot juice
– ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
– ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Preparation: Blend the beet to make the juice and heat up the vegetable milk until it boils. Add the spices and put everything in the blender until it’s well mixed and foamy. Serve in a cup or in a thermos (to take it on the way to work) and enjoy!
At work: Hummus instead of ham
Beetroot Hummus Sandwich
Have you ever tried beetroot hummus? This is the perfect recipe for a work lunch or a healthy snack. Beets are heart-healthy, fight inflammation and are great detoxifiers. Chickpeas are great for gut health and full of insoluble fiber which helps to feed the “good” bacteria in your gut. Oh, and it’s also very Instagrammable, look at that color!
– 2 medium beetroots, peeled
– 1.5 cups (400 g) cooked chickpeas
– 1/4 cup (62 ml) water
– 1 lemon, juiced
– 2 Tbsp (30 ml) tahini (sesame seed paste)
– 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1/2 tsp salt
Preparation: This couldn’t be easier, just add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until preferred consistency (add more or less tahini). Plate, sprinkle on garnish, serve, and enjoy!
For dinner: Beans instead of bolognese
Pasta with bean sauce
Meat is a good source for proteins, but it’s not the only one. If you want to eat less or no meat, you can get your protein from many other foods, like lentils, chickpeas or beans. For a quick and cheap alternative to spaghetti bolognese you can prepare your pasta with a tasty and healthy kidney bean sauce.
– 1 onion
– 1 can of kidney beans
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
– 2 teaspoons tomato paste
– ½ tsp smoked paprika
– ½ tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 teaspoons dried oregano
– salt, pepper
Preparation: For the sauce, you cook the diced onion and garlic in a pan until translucent and add the drained beans and the rest of the ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add water if needed. For a smooth texture mash the beans with a fork. Serve with a bit of rucola salad on top and enjoy!
As you can see, reducing animal products in your meals is not only good for you and our Earth, it’s also pretty easy. Do you have your own favorite veggie recipe? Share your thoughts on vegetarianism in the comments!