As modern day consumers, we’re becoming more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies and the results of our dietary decisions. Many people are reconsidering how to eat in a more healthy and environmentally conscious way, meaning the movement to becoming plant-based is growing.
Adopting a more plant-based diet or wellness regimen isn’t a hard decision to make once you understand the positive effects it has for you and your world. In treating your body to nutrient-rich plant foods, your mind will reap the benefits as well. This positive effect is even more widespread once you consider the ripple effect that extends to the greater good of the planet.
What’s On Your Plate Affects the Planet
There are an estimated 7.8 billion people in the world today, and one thing that ties us all together is the need for sustenance. What you eat is directly linked to the earth and can have a big impact on environmental health.
A report commissioned by the United Nations found the global production of meat is over 330 million tons per year. The upkeep of this industry involves production of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, which we know to be harmful air pollutants. Every year, this industry releases 6 billion tons of these greenhouse gases, accounting for almost 23% of the world’s total emissions.
In addition to air pollution, the livestock industry heavily taps the world water supply. By the time just one pound of meat reaches the consumer, it could have used up to 8,000 pounds of water to produce. As a whole, livestock farming accounts for a staggering 50% of fresh water usage globally.
Raising livestock is one of the leading causes of deforestation globally, as farmers clear land to raise animals. This has a direct and devastating impact on the planet, reducing biodiversity through the destruction of habitat and quickening the pace of climate change.
While plant-based alternatives will also use resources, they can significantly cut down on food-based environmental impacts. For instance, algae, some of which have twice the amount of protein as meat, is a promising sustainable food of the future that’s rich in nutrients and is produced with a fraction of the resources.
Even now, there are plenty of plant-based foods that can help reduce the heavy pollution and environmental damage caused by animal farming. To take part, you won’t be foregoing any protein or have to sacrifice your enjoyment.
Plants as a Complete Source of Nutrients
One study at Bard University found that a lack of vital nutrients is among the biggest concerns regarding a shift to plant-based diets. To help disprove this belief, the study looked for ways that you could fulfill all of your necessary nutrients through plants alone.
Soy was one of the strongest components of the research team’s findings. Soybeans are one of the most important plants for promoting a global shift to plant-based protein. Tofu and tempeh, made from soybeans, have proven not only to be a good source of protein, but also a food that can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
The research team uncovered that a diet rich in soy, green pepper, squash, buckwheat, and asparagus offers all of the necessary dietary supplements you need, including appropriate quantities of protein, without any meat.
Plant-based vs. Vegan
By getting all we need from plants, we can move toward a food supply that has less impacts on the environment. It means there is less of a need to deforest land, less greenhouse gases are produced, and fewer resources are exhausted.
Eating more plants means lowering your carbon footprint–and you don’t have to go completely plant-based or vegan to do so. Even choosing to eat less animal products in favor of more plants will make an impact.
“Flexitarian” is an increasingly popular term to describe people who are not completely vegan, but put more focus on plant-based food in their diets. Cutting animal products out of even one meal a day can have significant impacts on your personal carbon footprint.
Another way you can cut back is by moving back to the concept of “meat and three veg.” The University of Texas MD Anderson Center suggests making ⅔ your diet plant-based, leaving room for ⅓ to be a protein of your choosing. You can opt for a lean protein, like chicken or fish, or go plant-based with nutritionally dense foods like soy and other legumes, quinoa, or hemp seeds. It’s just a new way to look at an old tradition.
Using Plants as Medicine
Introducing more plants into your diet also helps to improve your body’s natural defenses. Plants have been evolving longer than human civilization. As a result, they have developed their own defense mechanisms. We can reap these benefits both by eating more plants and seeking the power of botanicals.
Ayurvedic medicine, dating back to 1500 BC, centered on using plants for their healing power. Modern research has re-illuminated these ancient beliefs, and confirmed the intrinsic wellness power of botanicals.
Turmeric, used today as both a spice and a supplement, was used 4,000 years ago in the treatment of sprains. Today, we can see the direct correlation, as research confirms that turmeric is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich food source.
Another powerful natural source of antioxidants is cacao. The antioxidants from these seeds can play a role in your body’s ability to fight type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. When you eat cacao, like in non-GMO dark chocolate, you’re also getting a heaping dose of magnesium, calcium, and zinc.
Science today shows not only that our body can benefit from plants, but that they are integral to our health. The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) specializes in transporting the phytochemicals found in hemp and cannabis plants. These phytochemicals and antioxidants are essential for our wellbeing: a well-maintained ECS can help to regulate mood, sleep, digestion, and immunity.
Eating more of these plants can be a joy when you reach for the right options. Functional botanicals also pair well together. We put CBD in our chocolate bars, helping you receive an even stronger dose of powerhouse botanicals thanks to the synergy between cacao and hemp.
The Plant-Based Movement for All Lifestyles
This widespread accessibility to plant-based foods allows people across generations to find a strong connection to this dietary mindset. While millennials and Gen Z are improving their environmental efforts through plant-based lifestyles, baby boomers are considering the health benefits.
Turning to a diet that’s rich with plants means replacing a lot of the processed food that can lead to high cholesterol. Not only is a plant-based diet a preventative measure, but studies find that a plant-based diet can actually reverse heart disease.
Plant-based diets also hold their weight when it comes to obesity, as they naturally reduce unnecessary saturated fats from your diet. Through a plant-based diet, you’re getting phytochemicals and antioxidants from the earth that your body needs without any harmful additives.
While a highly-processed chocolate bar might not reduce your waistline, one rich in organic-fair trade cacao, hemp-derived CBD, and sweetened with low glycemic coconut sugar offers a guilt-free, plant-based indulgence that both your body and the environment will love.
Creating Positive Change with Regenerative Agriculture
On a global scale, the commitment to conscious consumption is expanding. With this growth, farmers are getting the support they need to be able to make positive changes in the food production industry. By starting at the food source, we can send positive ripples through the ecosystems, soil microbiome, and food chain that improve on the overall health of our planet.
This commitment can be made simply with how you spend your dollar. Seek out brands that support the regenerative agriculture movement by sourcing ingredients or materials from regenerative producers. Vital Leaf is one of those brands. It’s our mission to support regenerative farms around the world, and we do so by adopting direct sourcing practices and educating and engaging with our communities on these critical practices. You can learn more about the impacts of Regenerative Agriculture here.
Making a positive impact on the systems that produce our food and ingredients can also be done by practicing regenerative agricultural techniques in your own backyard. There are effective and simple ways to reduce soil erosion and improve soil structure, such as adding composted organic matter to your soil or using cover crops in your garden.
The Regenerative Agriculture movement is becoming so popular that it was spotlighted in Netflix’s recently released documentary, Kiss the Ground. Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this compelling, optimistic, and beautifully produced documentary is as entertaining as it is informative, and offers insight into Regenerative Agriculture practices that you can use. It delves into the economically viable cycles of healthy soil, plants, water, and air versus the current cycle of industrial agriculture, which is dependent upon harmful and unsustainable methods that contribute to lasting degradation of our earth and climate.
Eating to Connect to the Earth
Making an informed decision to eat more plants is an easy way to support the plant-based movement. It not only allows you to get in touch with your body, but also with the earth. As you make more conscious decisions about what you consume, you can shop our range with peace of mind that your decisions have a ripple effect on your wellness and the environment.
Vital Leaf was founded on the principle that we should be loving and caring to the earth that nurtures us. We strive to bring you something that’s as good for the body and mind as it is for the planet. As such, our products are formulated with 100% sustainably sourced ingredients. No trees, animals, or ecosystems are harmed in its production. It’s as much our commitment to our customers as it is to the planet.