Happy Spring! March 20 is the first day of Spring and since 1985 International Meatout day! People from around the world celebrate the season by going vegan for the day. Why? A whole food, plant-based vegan diet is healthy for humans, the planet and animals.

Here are three reasons to take the meatout pledge:

  1. Healthy for you!
    A whole food, plant-based (WFPB) vegan diet promotes health. Numerous lab studies and human epidemiological studies, such as The China Study, have shown that animal protein promotes cancer growth whereas plant protein does not. You can get all of the protein you need (10% of calories) on a WFPB diet. In addition, a WFPB diet prevents and can even reverse heart disease, Type 2 diabetes as well as other chronic diseases.
  2. Healthy for our planet
    There are over 7 billion people on our planet and the population is growing at 14% per year. We are running out of irrigated cropland due to population growth, soil erosion, salinization and drought. According to David Pimentel, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Cornell University,  we could have 30% less irrigated cropland worldwide by 2025. Much of that land (and water) goes to the production of animal-based foods. We raise corn and soybeans and other grains to feed cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens so that we can consume them. Here in California, we are in extreme drought. We can save significant water by eating a 100% plant-based diet. Dr. Pimentel reports that it takes 250 gallons of water to produce a one pound loaf of bread but 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef! In addition, the FAO reported in 2013 that livestock production accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing more to global warming than the entire transportation system.
  3. Healthy for animals!
    In the US, we produce 100 million cattle, 7 million sheep and 9 billion (yes billion) chickens per year for consumption! Many of these animals are raised in appalling conditions, in cages where they cannot move. Over fishing in our oceans is driving many species to near extinction. According to Dr. Bruce Monger of Cornell University, populations of fish such as tuna and swordfish have decreased by 90%. Fish farming practices contribute to creating dead zones in our oceans from nitrogen fish food and the cramped quarters foster disease. Fish also contain heavy metals such as mercury. Dr. Monger states that this is caused primarily by coal power plants that spew C02 and heavy metals into the atmosphere and those pollutants rain down into our oceans.

The meatout.org website has a cool calculator to let you know the impact of going vegan for 1 day, 102 days per week,  3-4 days per week, 5-6 days/week or every day. Check this out:

Animals saved /year
Sq. feet of rainforest saved / year Gallons of water saved / year
 Vegan for 1 day:  .5  148  3,700
 Vegan for 1-2 days/week: 44 11,550 288,600
 Vegan for 3-4 days/week: 102 26,950 673,400
 Vegan for 5-6 days/week:  160  42,350  1,058,200
 Vegan every day:  204  53,900  1,350,500

Clearly, adopting a plant-based vegan diet is beneficial for you, our environment and especially the animals who are not killed for human consumption.

Ready to give it a try? At plant-based4health.com we have tips on stocking your pantry and loads of recipes such as black bean burgers with caramelized onions and mushroomspizza with oven roasted veggies, quinoa salad, and peach sorbet.

For tips on eating out, view our blog post “Eating out on a plant-based, vegan diet“.  Have fun going vegan for a day or more. The planet and animals will thank you.