Navani Knows Earth Day: Change Your Diet, Change the World

(Earth Day is actually April 22nd, but I’m a member of an amazing group called Latina Fashion, Lifestyle and Beauty Bloggers and we have decided to collectively make today about Earth Day in some way, shape or form as a group as an effort to help draw attention to our first tweet chat scheduled for Wednesday April 20th 7:00 p.m. EST. Here we will celebrate the group launch and focus on “Earth Day,” with hash-tag #LLBlog. Tune in for more tips!)

Happy Earth Day! Coincidentally, it is also my three year anniversary of giving up meat. At the time, I gave it up as a challenge –  a dare if you will. I was looking to make a serious sacrifice for Lent and a co-worker said soda was too easy. Instead he suggested, “why don’t you give up meat?” Wanting to see how disciplined I could be, I took him up on the challenge. What I didn’t know was that this decision affected way more than just my own diet.

During Lent I ingested tons of pro-veggie reading material to keep me focused on my path, including the ever-so-popular book Skinny Bitch. I thought this was going to be a “cute” book about dieting. Instead, what I found was all the scary, hidden details of our food industry. It made a case for being vegan by highlighting how the FDA really allows chemicals in our food that they know can harm us and how gruesome and unhygenic the factory farming process is. I was mortified and I swore off meat for good after Lent was long over.

 My choice, which was initially a totally selfish one, (I wanted to see how long I could do it and feel less guilty about what/who I digested) turned out to be a rather green one too. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to support the healthfulness of a diet made up mostly of plant foods.  Studies show that vegetarians live 3.6 years longer and, on average, weigh 15% less than non-vegetarians. It also reduces your carbon footprint by easing the strain on our Earth’s limited resources, protecting the planet from pollution, preventing global warming, and save countless species from extinction. Phew!

According to Dr. David Brubaker, PhD, at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future, “The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. The results are disastrous.”

I’ll admit, it has not been an easy transition and it is not one I am going to preach to everyone. I’m definately not the ultra snide, judgmental veg-head that won’t be in the same room as someone eating meat. Instead, I live on the very laxed side of things. So laxed, I sometimes eat chicken (sorry! my aunt scared me with her stories of a man almost dying because he wasn’t getting enough vitamin B-12.).  Plus, I can’t say no to hot wings at Superbowl anymore. I just can’t. SIGH

 It’s not an easy lifestyle. So, if you want to make a change and reap all the wonderful benefits but like me, can’t always live up to the rigidness of the diet, what do you do? Don’t fret! You can still make a difference just by lessening the amount of meat you eat. Enter, the Flexitarian diet. In The Flexitarian Diet, author Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, says being a “flexitarian” gives you the benefits of a vegetarian diet without having to forgo meat entirely.The Flexitarian Diet aims to make it easier for people to transition to eating less meat.  The diet promotes fresh, natural, and seasonal foods but also includes staple items from the pantry and freezer. I think this is the place I am in now.

Stats say 10 people could be fed with the grain used to feed 1 cow and for every pound of beef you do not eat, you save 2,500-5,000 gallons of water. Therefore, even if you give up meat just one day a week it would help make a change. Why not make that day today?

Image via Google