Summary

Learn how plant-based food protects the planet and get a list of the five most planet-friendly plant-based foods.

What we eat matters. It impacts our health and well-being. And it deeply impacts the planet. Eating plant-based food is a way to protect and say “thank you” to this planet we’re so lucky to live on. Let’s cover some of the top reasons why plant-based food protects the planet, then read about some simple and healthy plant-based foods any earth lover should make the centerpiece of their plate.

How Plant-Based Food Protects the Planet

Pound for pound, growing and producing plant-based food has a smaller carbon footprint, isn’t as resource intensive, and creates less waste than dairy and meat-based foods, especially beef and lamb. Here’s a breakdown of all the ways plant-based food gives to the planet without taking too much in return.

Plant-Based Food Uses Less Land

If everyone adopted a plant-based diet, the amount of land needed to grow the world’s food would shrink by 75%. Plant-based food eliminates the need to allocate land to livestock and to growing their feed. Imagine just one aspect of the impact: the restoration of 75% of the rainforest land that’s been set ablaze or clear cut to create room for livestock. All that incredible biodiversity and once-robust carbon capture abilities can once again be part of the planet. All thanks to the power of plant-based food!

Plant-Based Food Uses Less Water

From the water it takes to grow their food to the water they drink to the water it takes to clean their waste, livestock uses an astronomical amount of water. Since fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce in many regions, we must conserve and protect it. Plant-based food is the way to go. Check out these stats:

  • One pound of beef requires 2,000-8,000 gallons of water to produce
  • One gallon of cow’s milk requires 1,950 gallons of water to produce
  • One pound of tofu requires 302 gallons of water to produce
  • One pound of oats requires 290 gallons of water to produce

With plant-based food using only around 10% of the water it takes to produce animal-based food, the choice is obvious!

Plant-Based Food Fights Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions take a toll on the earth and all who call it home. The pressure is on to reduce carbon production and to remove as much carbon as possible from the atmosphere. Plant-based food to the rescue! 

Plant-based food’s role in the climate change fight is two-fold. First, because it requires less land to produce plant-based food, that leaves more land for trees and other plant life to suck up excess carbon in the atmosphere. Second, because plant-based food doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses the way livestock digestion does, it puts much less carbon into the atmosphere.

Plant-Based Food Protects Waterways & Oceans

Livestock waste – laden with drugs used to treat diseases that afflict factory farmed animals – has to go someplace. The fertilizer, herbicide, and other chemicals used to grow animal feed has to go someplace. Many of these pollutants end up in the world’s waterways. The risk of water pollution is especially high at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) – where most meat is produced, and in areas that are razed or overgrazed for and by livestock.

Just as water scarcity is a concern, so is water safety and quality. Fertilizer runoff from livestock crops create algal bloom “dead zones” that kill off vast quantities of marine and pose risk to land creatures, humans included. Livestock waste injects  antibiotics and other drugs into our water supply. If you want the world’s waterways to be clean and safe, eat plant-based food. 

Plant-Based Food Fosters Biodiversity

Stunning. Precious. Beautiful. Wondrous. Awesome. Bountiful. Diverse. Priceless. Breathtaking. Earth is all of the above! And we should do our part to keep it that way. 

The global food system’s way of producing food as cheaply and quickly as possible, with a heavy emphasis on meat and dairy, threatens everything from endangered species to soil quality. Monoculture – quite the opposite of biodiversity – and the meat industry go hand-in-hand. Neverending fields of corn and soy – doused in fertilizer and other chemicals – exist primarily for animal feed.

To stop this vicious and compounding cycle, we need more people to eat more plant-based food. Because plant-based food requires less land and fewer resources, that leaves more room for the planet’s beautiful, beneficial, and diverse ecosystems.

Five Planet-Friendly Plant-Based Foods to Pile on Your Plate

Just because a food is plant-based, that doesn’t mean it’s great for the earth. As such, it’s good to limit your intake of resource-intensive highly processed chips and cookies and foods shipped from half a world away. Instead pile on planet-friendly plant-based foods that are simple, whole, and sourced nearby. Some call this way of eating a climatarian diet. This list of plant-based food serves as a climatarian starter pack and foundation for a plant-based diet grocery list. Eat mostly these foods and the earth will thank you

Legumes

Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…protect the planet. Legumes like lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans easily meet all of the above criteria of planet-friendly plant-based food: they use less land, use less water, fight climate change, don’t pollute the water, and foster biodiversity. But this plant-based protein also has a secret superpower – legumes enrich the soil with nutrients and improve its structure. This lessens the need for synthetic fertilizers.

We don’t hide our love for legumes on the blog:

Beans: The Food That Does it All | Get Iron From Plant-Based Foods | Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies | Plant-Based Nicoise Salad

Nuts

Nuts are a protein-rich plant-based food that emits less climate change-driving CO2 than animal-based proteins. Gram for gram, nuts emit:

  • 6% of the CO2 eggs emit
  • 4.6% of the CO2 poultry emits
  • .52% of CO2 beef emits

The only drawback to nuts as far as the planet is concerned is that some varieties require a lot of water to grow. In California, it takes 3.2 gallons of water to grow just one almond! So don’t go overboard on this plant-based food group; eat nuts in moderation, focusing on varieties that require less water. Hazelnuts are a great choice.

We’re nuts for nuts on the blog:

7 of Our Favorite Nut Butters & Creamy Spreads | Top Plant-Based Protein Sources | The Role of Healthy Fats in Your Diet | Peach Crumble with Vanilla Cashew Buttercream | Cashew Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls | Next Level Peanut Butter & Jelly

Produce

Fruits and veggies are the epitome of plant-based food and they should make up a large portion of any planet-friendly diet. To optimize the benefit to the planet, be a little picky with your produce. Is it local? Is it in season? Is it organic? If the produce checks all the boxes, it’s an especially planet-friendly plant-based food.

We sing the praises of all sorts of produce on the blog. Here’s just a tiny taste:

12 Powerful Reasons to Love Pomegranates | 8 Squashes & Pumpkins to Fall For | 20 Appealing Apple Facts | Health Benefits of 20 Common Vegetables | Spice Up Your Summer with Chile Peppers | 6 Phenomenal, Nutritious, & Flavorful Foods | Spring Forward with Radishes + Turnips

Whole Grains

When paired with above-mentioned legumes, whole grains transform into a complete protein, an important consideration of plant-based food. If you’re regularly consuming both legumes and whole grains, your body will get all the essential amino acids it needs without eating meat and without contributing to climate change and other environmental problems.

Whole grains like brown rice and oats require minimal water to grow. Calorie for calorie, whole grains need just 5% of the water beef requires. Whole grains even beat out other plant-based foods in this regard. For example, they need just 38% of the water vegetables require. Bottom line: be good to the earth by eating lots of whole grains.

We’re ga-ga for whole grains on the blog:

A Glimpse Into Some of Our Favorite Pantry Staples | Meal Hack: Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies | Wild Rice, Broccoli, & Cheese Casserole

Mushrooms

While not part of the plant kingdom, mushrooms are super planet-friendly, so they get a well-deserved spot on this plant-based food list. Mushrooms, like all fungi, don’t require soil to grow. Instead, they can grow in the waste of other food crops, like almond husks and corn cobs. What a tasty way to reduce food waste!

Always a delicious and savory addition to any dish, mushrooms are also known for their nutritional and medicinal properties. And it seems they have another planet-friendly power: mycelium – the root system of mushrooms – may be an alternative to synthetic plastic. Imagine a fungus solving the microplastic problem! What can’t mushrooms do?

Mushrooms are the main course of these blog posts:

King of Mushrooms: Foraging for Fungi and More | Reishi: A Fabulous Fungus | 6+ Adaptogens to Boost Your Health | 10 Foods that Boost Immunity

Do your part to protect this beautiful planet of ours: load up on plant-based food.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Apr 18, 2022
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.
Summary

Learn how plant-based food protects the planet and get a list of the five most planet-friendly plant-based foods.

What we eat matters. It impacts our health and well-being. And it deeply impacts the planet. Eating plant-based food is a way to protect and say “thank you” to this planet we’re so lucky to live on. Let’s cover some of the top reasons why plant-based food protects the planet, then read about some simple and healthy plant-based foods any earth lover should make the centerpiece of their plate.

How Plant-Based Food Protects the Planet

Pound for pound, growing and producing plant-based food has a smaller carbon footprint, isn’t as resource intensive, and creates less waste than dairy and meat-based foods, especially beef and lamb. Here’s a breakdown of all the ways plant-based food gives to the planet without taking too much in return.

Plant-Based Food Uses Less Land

If everyone adopted a plant-based diet, the amount of land needed to grow the world’s food would shrink by 75%. Plant-based food eliminates the need to allocate land to livestock and to growing their feed. Imagine just one aspect of the impact: the restoration of 75% of the rainforest land that’s been set ablaze or clear cut to create room for livestock. All that incredible biodiversity and once-robust carbon capture abilities can once again be part of the planet. All thanks to the power of plant-based food!

Plant-Based Food Uses Less Water

From the water it takes to grow their food to the water they drink to the water it takes to clean their waste, livestock uses an astronomical amount of water. Since fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce in many regions, we must conserve and protect it. Plant-based food is the way to go. Check out these stats:

  • One pound of beef requires 2,000-8,000 gallons of water to produce
  • One gallon of cow’s milk requires 1,950 gallons of water to produce
  • One pound of tofu requires 302 gallons of water to produce
  • One pound of oats requires 290 gallons of water to produce

With plant-based food using only around 10% of the water it takes to produce animal-based food, the choice is obvious!

Plant-Based Food Fights Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions take a toll on the earth and all who call it home. The pressure is on to reduce carbon production and to remove as much carbon as possible from the atmosphere. Plant-based food to the rescue! 

Plant-based food’s role in the climate change fight is two-fold. First, because it requires less land to produce plant-based food, that leaves more land for trees and other plant life to suck up excess carbon in the atmosphere. Second, because plant-based food doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses the way livestock digestion does, it puts much less carbon into the atmosphere.

Plant-Based Food Protects Waterways & Oceans

Livestock waste – laden with drugs used to treat diseases that afflict factory farmed animals – has to go someplace. The fertilizer, herbicide, and other chemicals used to grow animal feed has to go someplace. Many of these pollutants end up in the world’s waterways. The risk of water pollution is especially high at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) – where most meat is produced, and in areas that are razed or overgrazed for and by livestock.

Just as water scarcity is a concern, so is water safety and quality. Fertilizer runoff from livestock crops create algal bloom “dead zones” that kill off vast quantities of marine and pose risk to land creatures, humans included. Livestock waste injects  antibiotics and other drugs into our water supply. If you want the world’s waterways to be clean and safe, eat plant-based food. 

Plant-Based Food Fosters Biodiversity

Stunning. Precious. Beautiful. Wondrous. Awesome. Bountiful. Diverse. Priceless. Breathtaking. Earth is all of the above! And we should do our part to keep it that way. 

The global food system’s way of producing food as cheaply and quickly as possible, with a heavy emphasis on meat and dairy, threatens everything from endangered species to soil quality. Monoculture – quite the opposite of biodiversity – and the meat industry go hand-in-hand. Neverending fields of corn and soy – doused in fertilizer and other chemicals – exist primarily for animal feed.

To stop this vicious and compounding cycle, we need more people to eat more plant-based food. Because plant-based food requires less land and fewer resources, that leaves more room for the planet’s beautiful, beneficial, and diverse ecosystems.

Five Planet-Friendly Plant-Based Foods to Pile on Your Plate

Just because a food is plant-based, that doesn’t mean it’s great for the earth. As such, it’s good to limit your intake of resource-intensive highly processed chips and cookies and foods shipped from half a world away. Instead pile on planet-friendly plant-based foods that are simple, whole, and sourced nearby. Some call this way of eating a climatarian diet. This list of plant-based food serves as a climatarian starter pack and foundation for a plant-based diet grocery list. Eat mostly these foods and the earth will thank you

Legumes

Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…protect the planet. Legumes like lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans easily meet all of the above criteria of planet-friendly plant-based food: they use less land, use less water, fight climate change, don’t pollute the water, and foster biodiversity. But this plant-based protein also has a secret superpower – legumes enrich the soil with nutrients and improve its structure. This lessens the need for synthetic fertilizers.

We don’t hide our love for legumes on the blog:

Beans: The Food That Does it All | Get Iron From Plant-Based Foods | Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies | Plant-Based Nicoise Salad

Nuts

Nuts are a protein-rich plant-based food that emits less climate change-driving CO2 than animal-based proteins. Gram for gram, nuts emit:

  • 6% of the CO2 eggs emit
  • 4.6% of the CO2 poultry emits
  • .52% of CO2 beef emits

The only drawback to nuts as far as the planet is concerned is that some varieties require a lot of water to grow. In California, it takes 3.2 gallons of water to grow just one almond! So don’t go overboard on this plant-based food group; eat nuts in moderation, focusing on varieties that require less water. Hazelnuts are a great choice.

We’re nuts for nuts on the blog:

7 of Our Favorite Nut Butters & Creamy Spreads | Top Plant-Based Protein Sources | The Role of Healthy Fats in Your Diet | Peach Crumble with Vanilla Cashew Buttercream | Cashew Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls | Next Level Peanut Butter & Jelly

Produce

Fruits and veggies are the epitome of plant-based food and they should make up a large portion of any planet-friendly diet. To optimize the benefit to the planet, be a little picky with your produce. Is it local? Is it in season? Is it organic? If the produce checks all the boxes, it’s an especially planet-friendly plant-based food.

We sing the praises of all sorts of produce on the blog. Here’s just a tiny taste:

12 Powerful Reasons to Love Pomegranates | 8 Squashes & Pumpkins to Fall For | 20 Appealing Apple Facts | Health Benefits of 20 Common Vegetables | Spice Up Your Summer with Chile Peppers | 6 Phenomenal, Nutritious, & Flavorful Foods | Spring Forward with Radishes + Turnips

Whole Grains

When paired with above-mentioned legumes, whole grains transform into a complete protein, an important consideration of plant-based food. If you’re regularly consuming both legumes and whole grains, your body will get all the essential amino acids it needs without eating meat and without contributing to climate change and other environmental problems.

Whole grains like brown rice and oats require minimal water to grow. Calorie for calorie, whole grains need just 5% of the water beef requires. Whole grains even beat out other plant-based foods in this regard. For example, they need just 38% of the water vegetables require. Bottom line: be good to the earth by eating lots of whole grains.

We’re ga-ga for whole grains on the blog:

A Glimpse Into Some of Our Favorite Pantry Staples | Meal Hack: Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies | Wild Rice, Broccoli, & Cheese Casserole

Mushrooms

While not part of the plant kingdom, mushrooms are super planet-friendly, so they get a well-deserved spot on this plant-based food list. Mushrooms, like all fungi, don’t require soil to grow. Instead, they can grow in the waste of other food crops, like almond husks and corn cobs. What a tasty way to reduce food waste!

Always a delicious and savory addition to any dish, mushrooms are also known for their nutritional and medicinal properties. And it seems they have another planet-friendly power: mycelium – the root system of mushrooms – may be an alternative to synthetic plastic. Imagine a fungus solving the microplastic problem! What can’t mushrooms do?

Mushrooms are the main course of these blog posts:

King of Mushrooms: Foraging for Fungi and More | Reishi: A Fabulous Fungus | 6+ Adaptogens to Boost Your Health | 10 Foods that Boost Immunity

Do your part to protect this beautiful planet of ours: load up on plant-based food.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Apr 18, 2022
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.