In a time in which health-conscious living is at an all-time high, it comes as no surprise that people are looking to make self-improvements starting with their diet.
Although alternative eating habits (vegetarian and vegan diet) have been ever-present, a cultural shift which has seen people take a large-scale social stance on food has taken place over the last decade or so.
While one could argue that the zeitgeist of this generation – particularly millennials – is to be more socially responsible citizens of humanity, alternative diets seem only appropriate.
With the consumption of meat (as well as dairy) being linked to diseases such as cancer, proving to have negative effects on our environment, as well as being undeniably unethical, there are more vegans than ever today.
A recent report conducted by Well Woman Vegan revealed that nearly half of Irish people would consider making the switch to go meat and dairy-free.
The report surveyed a total of 200 Irish people and revealed an interesting shift in the Irish psyche which was once devout to “meat and two veg” (a typical Irish dinner consisting of one type of meat and two types of vegetables).
Nearly half of those surveyed (49%) admitted they would consider introducing more plant-based alternatives into their diet due to environmental and ethical reasons. Only 37%, however, said they’d consider a full-time vegan diet.
A whopping 70% said they were considering integrating meat and dairy-free alternatives into their diet.
This report comes at a time when people are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of consuming meat (be it health, environment or ethical reasons).
As a response to this cultural shift many supermarkets and fast-food chains are, too, changing their approach to vegan diet options.
Quorn and Linda McCartney meat-free products continue to grow and Tesco has released its own brand vegan sausage rolls.
To top that, McDonald’s has even revealed its intent to roll out a vegan chicken nugget to accommodate any customers following a vegan diet.
While meat and dairy farming are undeniably unethical, aspects like environmental and health impacts have only truly come to light in recent years.
Local Irish Doctor John Kelly GP released a book, Stop Feeding Your Cancer: One Doctor’s Journey, which proves the link between cancer and meat and dairy-based diets in 2014.
Although the book was hugely controversial in a market which depends so heavily on farming, the facts were staggering.
The study showed the undeniable fact that switching to a plant-based vegan diet could not only deter cancer but even cure it once established. This is not the first revelation of its kind.
Only a few weeks ago, The Guardian released an article which documented the UK’s National Health Service’s warning that the consumption of meat prosed risks of the dangerous disease.
And, when it comes to the environmental impact, facts are equally as inarguable. While many of us are trying to cut down on plastic or car-pool to decrease fuel emissions, did you know the single biggest thing you can do to help our planet is to cut out the consumption of meat?
According to Evelyn Perez from the Florida International University, “Producing livestock, including cattle, goats and sheep, for human consumption is the single largest driver of habitat loss and deforestation worldwide.”
While the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies found that “Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80% of current deforestation rates.”
To top it off, nearly half of all water in the United States is used for meat farming, which comes as no surprise when it takes 2,400 gallons to produce one pound of meat. On the contrary, it only takes 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat, according to One Green Planet.