April 22, 2016

This Earth Day, give peas a chance. They’re good for you – and the planet

By Roxanne Moster

Earth Day Eating


If you’ve ever contemplated becoming a vegetarian, check out how eating a plant-based diet isn’t just good for your health; it’s good for Earth’s health.

Dana Hunnes, a UCLA dietitian, provides some compelling reasons to get on the vegetarian bandwagon on Earth Day, April 22. She notes that by giving up meat and dairy products, we would dramatically reduce carbon emissions and cut overall water usage. She writes:

“If each and every person in the United States gave up meat and dairy products on one or more days of the week; ideally, all days of the week, we would save the environment from thousands of tons of carbon emissions.  In fact, in one year, animal husbandry creates as much carbon emissions as the entire transportation sector.”

She shares this interesting fact: One gallon of cow’s milk requires 1,950 gallons of water.

And this one: In one year, animal husbandry creates as much carbon emissions as the entire transportation sector.

Pound-for-pound, gallon-for-gallon, it’s a fact that animal-sourced foods use way more water and carbon to produce than plant-based foods.

Worried about getting enough protein? Hunnes says that, surprisingly, 1 pound of oats equals 75 grams of protein. That's close to the 90 grams of protein you would get from 1 pound of beef.

Hunnes goes on to cite ways in which UCLA students, staff and faculty can eat more plant-based meals on campus. Whether you’re at UCLA or not, her suggestions may offer some creative ideas for you to change your work or home environment to help the planet out.

This Earth Day, give a plant-based diet a chance. At least for a day. Find more healthy recipes.

Tags: diet, Earth Day, meatless, media, News & Insights, plant-based meals, protein, sustainability, vegetarian

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