Created by: Clare Matthews, Rachel Onusko and Claire Mahoney
Moving towards a plant-based diet can not only be beneficial for your health, but also for the planet.
Why does raising animals for meat require so much water?
Almost half of the water used in the United States is used to raise animals as food.
For example, producing a pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water while a pound of soy tofu requires only 216 gallons of water. (Source)
There are many hidden gallons of water in meat.
One reason meat requires so much water is due to the feed conversion ratio of animals. This is the rate to which the bodies of livestock convert feed into the desired output, for instance, the desired output for cows could be milk or meat. The feed conversion rate of beef is 7:1 while the ratio for poultry is 2.5:1. Larger animals have a greater ratio since more of their body is inedible because they have more bone and skin. A cow intended for beef typically eats thousands of pounds of corn and soybeans, which require water to be cultivated. Eating plants directly and forgoing meat requires much less water. (Source)
Another reason raising and killing meat requires so much water is due to the resource-intensity of meat production globally. The size of these large scale operations causes an over-reliance on fertilizers and fossil fuels due to industrially produced crops needed to keep up with the number of animals being raised (Source).
What can you do?
DLDT wants to inspire you to move towards a more plant-based diet this year. Every month, we will be publishing a blog comparing an animal-based recipe to a plant-based recipe. Check out this blog series to learn about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet and how plant-based meals can be just as satisfying as animal-based meals.
Tips for transitioning to a wholesome, plant-based diet
Moving towards a new way of eating can be challenging, so we’ve gathered some of the top tips for incorporating a plant-based diet into your lifestyle:
Start slow – One tip is to continue eating more of the plant-based meals that you already enjoy. If you haven’t started a plant-based diet yet, follow our posts for ideas!
Commit to at least one plant-based meal a day – You can even join the trend of Meatless Monday. If everyone in the United States skipped meat and cheese for one day a week, it would be the same as not driving 91 billion miles. That’s equivalent to removing 7.6 million cars from the road in a single day (Source). The average American will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and chicken this year (Source). Even skipping meat once a day or one full day each week will significantly reduce this number.
There are 80,000+ edible plants in the world and all plants have protein- the world is your adventure!
Try out a DLDT blog recipe – As mentioned, each month we will be posting plant-based recipes to substitute for common animal-based recipes. Give one of the plant-based recipes a try and you might find that the alternative is just as, if not more delicious!
Create a SMART goal – A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. We’re not asking you to completely change your diet in a week. We’re simply suggesting that you work towards a plant-based diet and that each SMART goal you make will help you achieve that. Every meal counts!
Every day we wake up and make decisions, these decisions create not only the content of our own lives but the lives of those around us. Today we challenge you to make the decision to reduce your meat consumption, water is a valuable resource and it is our responsibility as citizens of the Earth to use this resource wisely. Making this change will in turn reduce your impact, make you healthier, and force you to become more creative with your meals. We at DLDT cannot wait to start this journey with you, together if we all make this simple change it can make a huge difference on our environmental impact for years to come!
A few resources to consider in your journey: