In the UK, around 1.1 billion land animals are killed each year for food, with 70% kept on factory farms in cruel, cramped conditions.
Factory farms are destroying the planet. Animal agriculture generates at least 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the total emissions of every plane, ship and car around the world! Animal waste from factory farms also pollutes our precious water ways and can create toxic dead zones in rivers and lakes where nothing can survive.
However, we do have a choice in what we eat. Even small efforts can make huge changes in our lives and may even inspire change in others too. Why don’t you try out one of these ideas this month?
Meat-free Mondays, where for one day a week you only eat vegetarian or vegan food. If everyone in the world participated in meat-free Mondays, the reduction in greenhouse gases emitted would be the equivalent to taking 240 million cars off the roads every year. Meat-free Mondays are a fantastic starting point, as you can trial new foods that you normally wouldn’t choose, and hopefully realise they are easy to cook and, most importantly, delicious!
A traditional meat dish with half veggies. For example, when making a lasagna you could put half the amount of mince you would normally cook with and supplement the rest with delicious veggies such as peppers, mushrooms and carrots - and voila! You’re on your way to a more plant-based diet.
Cutting out certain meats at your own pace. The World Health Organisation has classed processed meat (such as bacon, hot dogs and sausages) as carcinogenic, putting it in the same category as tobacco in terms of health risk. By cutting these unhealthy meats out of your diet, you will be benefitting not only your health, but also the planet and millions of animals. You can replace these meats with incredibly realistic vegetarian/vegan versions, such as meat-free sausages and plant-based bacon, which can be found in all supermarkets.
Try a “flexitarian” diet! Incorporate both vegetarian and vegan ingredients into your dishes as a gradual process into the plant-based life. For a carbonara, you could use pecorino (replacing parmesan which contains rennet), an egg, vegan crème fraiche and vegan bacon rashers. This mixture of vegetarian and vegan is a great way to ease yourself in gently. Eventually, you might want to replace the egg with olive oil, and the cheese with vegan parmesan.
Plant-based living isn’t all or nothing. You can make as many changes as you want, while taking as long as you need to do so. It takes time to implement these lifestyle changes, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up occasionally. If we all made small changes to our eating habits, we could eventually #MakeFoodKinder by showing the farming industry we no longer want animals to suffer for our tastebuds.