April 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm
by Irina Gonzalez
It was basically a big celebration of eco-friendly living but what surprised and excited me the most was all the talking about healthy eating throughout the weekend. The whole event started out with a panel about eating a plant-based diet. It was interesting to hear about the benefits of that kind of diet (vegetarian or vegan). The main reason people switch are, of course, because it’s just healthier to eat more fruits and vegetables.
We all know that, don’t we? I don’t think I have to tell you that eating more produce is going to dramatically increase your health. In fact, it’s the #1 way that I am able to keep the weight off and continue being a diet success myself.
But the really interesting part about the panel and the whole festival was how eating a healthier diet can actually be good for the planet.
I’m not saying you have to be a vegetarian or vegan to be healthy or help the environment. I know I’m not. But increasing your intake of fruits and veggies while decreasing the amount of meat you eat helps everyone, since it makes you a little healthier and decreases your carbon footprint on the planet. This is all based on a 2006 University of Chicago study that says the average U.S. diet creates a carbon footprint of 2.52 tons per year while a full vegetarian diet decreases that by 1 ton a year and a weekday vegetarian diet decreases it by 0.7 tons.
Plus, eating local, seasonal produce helps to decrease the carbon footprint even more since the food isn’t flown from somewhere far away.
You don’t have to go vegetarian to reap the benefits, though. I think the simplest thing to do is to just decrease your meat intake a little. Start by having a vegetarian lunch once or twice a week. You can even get your whole family in on it by having one of our healthy, vegetarian slow cooker meals or (if you’re really daring) try one of the delicious slow cooker vegan recipes for dinner one night.
There’s no end to the little ways you can cut back on meat and start eating more veggies. But the most important thing to keep in mind is that by simply doing this trick a few times a week you’ll be cutting back on your wait line–and your environmental waist. That way, everybody wins.
Do you eat more fruit and vegetables or local, seasonal produce? Do you do more to live eco-friendly? Share in the comments below!