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Food

Reducing Meat Consumption Is Better For Your Health And The Environment

Posted: 4/30/2013

Eating less meat can be good for your health and the planet—and a delicious decision when you can enjoy wraps and sandwiches made with a vegetarian product that tastes like chicken
Eating less meat can be good for your health and the planet—and a delicious decision when you can enjoy wraps and sandwiches made with a vegetarian product that tastes like chicken.

(NAPSI)—Did you know your personal health is directly linked to the health of the environment? A diet low in fat and high in vegetables isn’t just good for your waistline, it’s better for the environment as well.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adopting a diet higher in vegetables could help individuals keep their weight under control. And Harvard University found that decreasing your meat intake and eating more foods containing polyunsaturated fats (like vegetables and nuts) could reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. At the same time, meat production of all kinds requires massive resources. Experts have estimated that globally the livestock sector accounts for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the entire transportation industry. And as worldwide meat production is expected to double by 2050, the environmental impact of livestock is likely to increase.

Clearly, reducing meat consumption is good for the environment. But there’s no need to go cold turkey on cutting out meat to be greener. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American skipped just one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.

But skipping the meat doesn’t have to mean missing the taste. One company rising in popularity is Beyond Meat, which offers a combination of plant-based proteins that create delicious-tasting meat alternatives while reducing the impact on the environment. Food journalist and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman wrote that most people “won’t know the difference between that [Beyond Meat] and real chicken.” Rave reviews have also come from Time magazine and NPR.

Beyond Meat contains the same amount of protein as real chicken—without any gluten, dairy, cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, or saturated and trans fats. While Beyond Meat is currently geared toward American consumers, it’s an example of what the future of food may look like around the globe as the planet strives to feed a growing population without increasing the environmental impact of agriculture. In fact, because it’s plant-based, Beyond Meat has a vastly lower impact on the environment—lower carbon emissions, less water usage and a smaller area required for growing the crops.

During its initial release in select markets, Beyond Meat sold out within two days. And the quality of the product, combined with its economic and environmental benefits, has attracted supporters including Bill Gates, who considers the innovation behind Beyond Meat to be one step toward feeding the world in a more sustainable way.

As world population continues to grow, innovations like Beyond Meat and other food substitutes for eggs, salt and more have the potential to feed the planet while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. That’s something we should all be able to get behind.

If you’re interested in improving your diet and doing your part to help the environment, look for Beyond Meat products at Whole Foods Market nationwide, where you can find it in prepared recipes in the deli departments, as well as some local restaurants. You can also find recipes and information about meat substitutes and the “Future of Food” on Bill Gates’ website, The Gates Notes.

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