Eco Tip #29 Plant Based Meals
Globally, over 2 billion people live without fresh water and around 4 billion people experience water scarcity during at least one month of the year. While there’s a lot of focus on climate change and general water consumption, what makes a large part of our water footprint is actually the food we eat.
With over 80 billion animals reared for the food industry every year, the industrial scale of animal agriculture has an enormous impact on our environment. It’s not only one of the leading causes of climate change and deforestation, but also uses vast quantities of water. In fact, farming (both plants and animals) accounts for about 70% of all the water used in the world, with 98% of that going to the feed for the animals.
To put that into perspective, it takes about 15,000 to 20,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of beef, which comes out to around 3,000 liters to produce just one 200g beef burger. That’s a lot of water for one patty. Research has shown that switching to a more ‘’plant-forward’’ diet could cut our water footprint in half, so by just reducing or replacing meat, dairy, and eggs with more water-efficient plant-based foods, we can help save the Earth’s water.
Here are our top two tips to help you get started:
#1: Cut down on dairy:
Cheese, butter, and milk are the staple of many households, and there are many ways you can replace them. There are plenty of plant-based margarines around, but if you want a natural replacement try looking at coconut oil, avocados, or bananas – they can add a nice touch when replacing butter in certain recipes!
Cheese, on the other hand, is slightly complicated. You should be able to find soft or hand plant-based cheeses at your store or you can even try your hand at making them from home.
As for milk, there are plenty of alternatives out there like soy, almond, oat, and cashew milk to choose from. Everyone has different tastes, so you can try them and pick your favourite!
#2. Cut down on meat:
Before you ask about protein, there are many ways to get your fill of protein without relying on meat – so you can eat your fruits and veg and still hit the gym to get those gains. In fact, there are plenty of ways to get adequate all-round nutrition from plant-based diets by including things like beans, nuts, whole grains, and more.
As an alternative to meat, you can try things like Jackfruit, tofu, and seitan – which is gaining popularity lately as “wheat meat”. But, if you’re still looking for a killer burger, there’s plenty of plant-based ‘meat’ out there, like the Impossible Burger, or Beyond Meat’s range of plant-based meats.
Those are the 2 biggest ways that you can have a more plant-based diet and lower your water footprint. While you don’t need to cut out meat and dairy completely, you can still have a major impact by just reducing your overall intake.