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Going plant-based in 2020?

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Plant -based -diet -foodThe majority of people now agree that big environmental changes are on the way necessitating some equally big changes in all our lifestyles to get on the good side of mother nature.

Paying 5p for plastic bags when we shop was introduced without too much argument, but now we’re all being encouraged to adopt a “Plant based” diet - so what is that and will it hurt?

Isn’t “Plant-based Diet” just a rebranding of “Vegetarian”?

Sort of - it has many of the same health benefits such as lowering risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (although, some  argue it may increase the likelihood of being bored to death!).  It is also officially supported by the UN as promoting world peace!

The ray of hope for people who are fond of the odd bit of meat is that having a plant based diet doesn’t mean you can never eat meat!

Going plant-based just means that meat is eaten less often and in smaller quantities (this approach is sometimes called a flexitarian diet) - more processed foods are also avoided, the more the product has spent in a factory!

What are the environmental benefits of a plant based diet?

The great concern experts like Marco Springmann at University of Oxford have is that if developing nations continue to adopt western diets high in red meats and processed foods that;

"exceeding key planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity beyond which Earth's vital ecosystems could become unstable,"

Studies have also shown that a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (up to 70%), land and water use could be achieved if the western diet could be moved more towards this plant based approach - the largest environmental benefits were derived from diets containing the least amount of animal-based products.

So, whoopee, we’re going to save the planet for future (presumably ungrateful) generations - but how do those of us used to sprucing up every meat with a sausage or lamb chop make the transition?

How to make the change to Plant based diet

So what if you’re used to eating meat with every meal and it provides the cornerstone of all your cookery?

That can be a tricky thing to overcome - traditionally (in the UK, at least) cooking with vegetables is a much overlooked aspect of cuisine.

All the evidence points towards make small, steady changes to what you cook and what you buy - try to buy less processed food (ready made sauces, ready meals etc) and introduce maybe one or two meat-less meals each week.

One of my favourite books which has helped me make the transition is The Green Roasting Tin - all it’s recipes basically involve throwing different vegetable into a roasting tin and cooking for half an hour or so (Also, ironically some of them would go fantastically well with sausages - but that’s not obligatory!)

Is there anything we should’ve mentioned?

Do you have any thoughts, comments or views on adopting a plant based diet?

Is there anything you think we should have mentioned?

If there is get in touch and let us know – you can also do it on Facebook or Twitter.

By Alastair Baker at 5 Feb 2020, 00:00 AM