When I was 26, I had a humbling moment that would change my life’s trajectory.

I was writing my master’s thesis on the environmental impacts of the standard American diet when I suddenly realized that my food choices didn’t reflect my personal ethics or values.

This was particularly ironic because I’m a dietitian — someone who had dedicated herself to teaching others about the importance of nutrition.

Through my research, I became uncomfortably aware of social, ethical, and environmental issues that I had never considered. What stood out to me was how interconnected our everyday food choices are with all other life on the planet.

For example, I learned how runoff from industrial animal farms contaminates waterways, which can affect ecosystem health and the safety of the water we drink. I also learned that we could address world hunger more effectively by feeding crops to people rather than livestock.

Through my food choices, I was supporting industrial animal agriculture while calling myself an environmentalist or an animal lover. This cognitive dissonance was a perfect illustration of the disconnect between people and the food they eat.

The food on my plate affected the entire world — and not in a good way. So, over several months, I transitioned from a meat-heavy Western diet to a predominantly whole-foods, plant-based eating pattern.

When I had kids, I decided to raise them on a plant-based diet from the start.

Here’s why my children are plant-based, and why I teach them things about food that I didn’t know until I was 26.

What is a plant-based diet?

“Plant-based” is a fairly broad term often used to describe variations of a vegetarian diet. It may mean a vegan diet that excludes all animal products, a diet made mostly of plants with small amounts of animal products like cheese or fish, or anywhere in between.

Regardless, a plant-based diet generally emphasizes whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Of course, semantics aren’t the point. What matters most is understanding the reasons why more people are adopting plant-based diets — and having conversations about those reasons.

 

Plant-based diets are better for the environment 

What if I told you that I’m raising my kids plant-based so that they can help create a better future for themselves and the rest of the human race? You might think I’m being dramatic, and I totally get it.

Still, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date of how modern farming destroys the environment, the biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop eating meat and dairy (1Trusted Source).

The environmental impacts of meat were also highlighted in a 2018 editorial by The Lancet, one of the most respected medical journals in the world (2Trusted Source).

If we don’t take drastic action to treat the environment differently, we’re looking at a future of more intense climate change (3Trusted Source).

This would likely mean less available freshwater, more extreme temperatures, more droughts and wildfires, and rising sea levels that flood coastal communities, among other global effects (4).

The good news is that you and your kids can make a change today for a better future. Here’s why a plant-based diet is better for the planet.

SOURCE: Health Line

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