Plants to the center of our plates

Plant-Strong in 2020
by Stefanie Heath
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

With summer in full bloom, our beautiful region here in NY is showered in decadent fresh produce. What better time to try plant-based meals when you have delicious fruits and vegetables available to fill your plate. Add some whole grains, beans and nuts for a nutritious and wholesome dish. Choosing to eat more veg-forward meals can make a world of difference for your health. But did you know that eating more plants can protect our planet too? Let’s take a look at the several benefits of eating plant strong meals.

Shifting plants to the center of our plates could not only support heart health, but weight management too. While plant-based foods are a good source of fiber which leaves you feeling full with less calories while meat and dairy contain no fiber.

Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association says, “The American Heart Association recognizes the role of plant-based foods in a healthy dietary pattern, as evidenced by our recommendations that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.” She continues, “Use Meatless Monday as another opportunity to eat a well-balanced diet.”

Many plant-based foods are rich in protein and contain essential vitamins and minerals. For example, chickpeas contain protein, fiber, calcium and iron to help keep your bones strong and your heart healthy. Chickpeas and other legumes can easily be transformed into meals like protein-packed bean burgers. An added bonus: chickpeas and other beans cost a fraction of the price of meat and have longer shelf life.

Some people are choosing the flexitarian lifestyle, which means eating more plant-based meals and less meat overall. In addition to the health benefits, many people choose to cut back on their meat intake in order to reduce the number of animals subjected to inhumane conditions at factory farm, where the vast majority of meat comes from.

With millions of animals suffering on factory farms right now – for example, pigs who spend the majority of their lives in gestation crates, not even able to turn around – it’s not surprising that demand for plant based meals is skyrocketing.

Eating more plant-based foods also helps protect the environment. It takes massive amounts of natural resources such as land, water, fertilizer and oil to maintain America’s demand for meat. Most people are shocked to learn producing two pounds of chicken meat requires 1,100 gallons of water, enough to fill about 25 bathtubs! Not only is this system wasteful and resource intensive, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that the factory farming industry is the number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

There’s no time like the present when it comes to making lifestyle changes that benefit individual health, the health of the planet, and the animals!

This article was provided by People for Animal Rights. If you would like a brochure about the organization and a sample of our newsletter, contact us at PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, or (315)488-PURR (7877).