In 2019, the United Nations (UN) warned humanity that they needed to reduce the meat consumption. The special report, on climate change and land published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), describes plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to the changes in the environment. But why does that have to happen?
The brazilian Amazon Forest, for example, has been deforested very fast because of problems surged by the high level of meat consumption. Why? The cattle breeding, responsible for this type of food production, is the major aggravating of the destruction of the area. According to ecologist Ima Vieira, 80% of the deforestation is caused by this industry.
Another problem is the greenhouse gases emission, that comes from these same cattle breeding industries. The animals release methane gas on the atmosphere that is extremely pollutable and can aggravate global warming. Scientists warn people all over the world to reduce meat consumption and avoid these environmental problems.
“We don’t want to tell people what to eat,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, an ecologist who co-chairs the IPCC’s working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. “But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat, and if politics would create appropriate incentives to that effect.”
It’s not news too that we have been struggling a lot with water waste. This problem is extremely dangerous and always requires attention. The meat industry is responsible for a lot of this waste being that one kilo of meat means more than seventeen thousand liters of water.
And, besides all environmental problems you can prevent by reducing your meat consumption, you also have the chance to be healthier since it causes decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome for the individual. And it also helps animals that suffer with this industry and are raised especially to be killed for your not needs, because guess what? Meat consumption it’s not really essential for your life.
Besides that, is this type of food needed for my survival?
You don’t have to do the reduction, but actually, according to the senior student of nutrition Thaynara de Brito, meat consumption it’s not even totally necessary for human existence as many people can think of. “What we really need is an adequate protein intake, since meat is predominantly a source of this specific nutrient”, she says. And proteins are not exclusively from this type of food. Plant-based diets also have its beneficials that can replace meat ones.
According to the specialist, to do this in a healthy way, you have to check what kind of plant-based foods have the needy nutrients to replace meat ones. But it’s also important to stand out that with this substitution, some people can manifest lack of “B12” and VIT and that’s why you need to do it accompanied by a nutritionist. “Adaptation and transition to reduce meat eating only makes sense if it’s made in a healthy transition”, declares Thainara.
Asking about alternatives, the nutritionist said that grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes are great ones to replace the meat diet and still stay pretty healthy. “It’s also important to have at least three grains in your meal, for example: rice, beans, and some vegetables. But, of course, this will be better defined by a specialist on that.
How do I start?
If you don’t know how to do it, this movement can be an answer. Called “Meat Free Monday”, it becomes popular all over the world and consists in don’t consuming meat on a particular day of the week, às the name states, mondays. Interesting fact: The non-profit project was initiated by the rockstar and eternal Beatle Paul McCartney and his family in 2009. Who are you to disagree with that?
Some documentaries are also a good idea to inspire you to see the problems with your own eyes and obtain more and more knowledge about this subject. Some good examples are: Cowspiracy, What The Health, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated. Watch some of them with a friend. Besides passing time, you can start the project together and stimulate each other.
The article above was edited by Amanda Ardigó.
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