You might be surprised by how much water it takes for the food to get to your plate. The food we eat makes up about 80% of America’s total water footprint. This can be accounted for in virtual water. Virtual water is the amount of water that is embedded in products needed for its production so this includes to water, clean, and transport for example. Pound for pound, meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables, grains or beans. For instance, a single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,847 gallons of water. It adds up with a range around the world of 7-305 pounds per person per year. Assuming everyone eats equal amounts of meat each day, adding meatless Monday will bring that number down to 6-262 pounds per person per year (divide by 7 and then multiply by 6) and that’s a big difference! Beyond water footprint, let’s talk about carbon footprint! Beef produces 13 times the emissions of vegetable protein (beans, lentils, tofu, etc.) Once again that’s a big difference! This is very simplified and does not take into consideration all the pollution that comes from animal agriculture!
Pant-based meals, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate the most red meat daily were 30 percent more likely to die of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who ate the least amount of red meat. Other processed meats also increased the risk plenty, but the people who ate the least meat were least likely to die in the 10-year period.
You! Don’t! Need! Meat! For! Protein!
But in all seriousness, make sure you eat enough calories! If you put the same amount of vegetables of vegetables as you would meat, that’s not going to work! Most meat-free food is less calorie dense than meat so keep that in mind. Don’t forget variety and you shouldn’t have problem with protein, iron, vitamins, or anything else you might be worried about!
This is the reason most people suspect when you say you’re eating less meat or going vegetarian. After all, modern agriculture commonly keeps animals in overcrowded stalls, cages, crates, or sheds where they are often unable to turn around or take even a single step for their entire lives. Deprived of care, exercise, sunlight, and grass, the animals suffer tremendously before even coming to the slaughterhouse. It is important to remember that the animals are living, breathing, thinking, and feeling beings. More than 25 billion animals are killed by the meat industry each year.
In modern factory farms, animals are routinely injected with hormones and stimulants to make them grow bigger and faster. Some of these injections have been proven to cause cancer and other diseases. Feedlots are crowded, filthy, stinking places with open sewers and choking air. The animals would not survive in the filthy and crowded conditions without the unnatural amount of antibiotics used. At some farms, cattle are fed dead ground up cows.
Add some meatless meals to your diet! And you don’t have to do it on a Monday, but Meatless Wednesdays just doesn’t sound as good. Do what works best for you! Let me know in the comments how your meatless day went or if you have any questions!