January 21, 2013

Going Vegetarian Once a Week for Your Health and The Environment

The simple act of giving up meat once a week can make a significant difference in your health and your carbon footprint. Going vegetarian just one day a week can cut someone's saturated fat consumption by 15%, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. In the United States, over a third of all fossil fuel and raw material consumption is used to raise livestock. It is estimated that if every American lowered meat consumption by 20%, it would lower greenhouse gas emissions by as much as it would if everyone in the country switched to driving a hybrid.

Need more convincing? Here are additional details on how going meatless can benefit your health and the environment.
  • Multiple studies demonstrate that a low fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers cancer risk, while the consumption of red meat and processed meat has been associated with increased cancer risk. High consumption of red meat is also associated with heart disease and diabetes. 
  • Reduced meat consumption can help prevent long-term weight gain. 
  • Some studies even suggest that low red and processed meat consumption can increase longevity. 
  • Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of global-warming methane annually. 
  • Livestock requires significantly more water (up to 15 times more) than produce or grains. It takes 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. A pound of soy tofu, on the other hand, requires just 220 gallons of water. 
  • It takes up to 10 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat. Over 70% of the grains grown in the U.S. is used to feed livestock. The amount of food eaten by the world's cattle could feed 8.7 billion people. 
  • Going meatless benefits not only your health and the environment, but your wallet as well. Foods like vegetables (fresh or frozen), whole grains, beans and legumes cost much less than meat. Plus, they are more nutritious and have greater disease-fighting properties. Talk about more bang for your buck. 

Whether you go full out vegetarian or simply join the Meatless Monday campaign you can make significant impact – on your health and the environment's.



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