Apr 16, 2014

Change the World Wednesday - Eat Better for Health & Earth

This week's #ctww challenge is to go vegetarian/vegan for one single day this week to reduce strain on your kidneys and protect natural resources that are consumed by livestock.

I have been a vegetarian for more than half of my life, though I admit recently I have been a bit of a flexitarian, having chicken 1-2 times a month. The only reason I ever became a vegetarian was because someone bet me when I was 13 that I couldn't do it. And I did it for ten years, and since I was 23 I have eaten meat on and off again, but typically I eat a vegetarian diet. But this challenge is giving me the spur to cut meat completely back out of my diet. We never buy it to cook/eat at home. The only time anyone in our household eats meat of any kind is when we dine out, so not eating meat this week will be easy - but removing dairy products would be extremely difficult this week because I literally just went to the store yesterday and bought cheese & milk, the only dairy products we ever really use (eggs we only use to make cakes) and I would rather not waste it. So I think for me, this week we won't eat out so there is no consumption of meat by my carnivorous husband. ;)

This site has some great stats on how reducing the meat you consume helps you and the environment. I used it to pull some of the stats below, combined with the reasons for my dietary choices.

Meat is extremely difficult for the human body to process and puts a lot of strain on your kidneys, and the meat industry is terrible for the environment - not only does it deplete natural resources like water (each day, a meat-centered diet requires about 4,000 gallons of water.  In contrast, a vegetarian diet requires only 1,200 gallons and a vegan diet a mere 300 gallons), but livestock production generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide. If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just 1 day a week for a year, it’s like not driving 91 billion miles - or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

And think beyond just the farm and slaughter houses energy and gas usage - consider the pollution and energy use from factories that make the packaging for the meat & then the packaging waste after the meat is consumed.The fuel used and air pollution from delivering the meat from packaging facilities to stores. It all effects the environment.

If you want to try this challenge, Tessa from Krmbal has a Meatless Monday series on her blog with some delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes!

Will you be joining in on this week's challenge? What will you do to promote kidney health and protect the environment from the damaging effects of the meat industry?

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