Vegan vs Carnivores – Part 2

Our Carbon Footprint

Last week I outlined the health and environmental impacts with both vegan and carnivore diets.   Although it sounded grim for both there are things you can do to improve your health and the environment.

Health wise many of the environmental considerations will automatically improve one’s diet with most impact being towards carnivores.  Also, if not yet vegan, but depending on your why, consider maybe sustainable fish as part of your diet instead of full vegan which again will help solve some of the environmental impacts on deforestation and water shortages.  Please do your research and consider food security first and foremost.  Most of us living in this country are privileged to be able to afford and pick and choose what we eat.  Some may not have the financial means and in poorer nations not even a choice.  So do what you can, as little goes a long way on the impact of the earth and for those that have no choice.  Unfortunately, poorer nations are always impacted by our actions to the deforestation of their forests to unclean water or shortages to get the food we want.

What we can do as a society 

  1. Buy local and organic if possible
    1. For veggies/fruits/nuts/seeds or meat
    2. Choose pasture-raised meat from ethical suppliers, local farmers
    3. Choose locally-fed or grass-fed meat
    4. Buy eggs from a local farmer or supermarket and look for
      1. Cage free/organic – feed is organic and not raised in cages
      2. Range or roaming – chickens raised outside, eating grains, and forage for wild plants and insects
  2. Grow your own veggies/fruits and freeze or dry what you can for the winter
  3. Aim for little to no food waste
  4. Use a composter
  5. Have at least 2 meatless days per week and or reduce the amount of meat you eat in general
  6. Don’t overeat

There are so many things to consider when doing your part and research is your best tool.  For example, an interesting study published in the journal “Global Environmental Change.”  The research came from John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and took into account many different aspects as obesity, undernutrition, and climate change that are major global challenges that impact the world’s population. The study examines the challenges of simultaneously addressing hunger and the climate crisis at both the individual and country levels.

Some key points that came out of the study were:

  1. A diet in which the animal protein came predominantly from low food chain animals, such as small fish and mollusks, had nearly as low of an environmental impact as a vegan diet. 
  2. A diet that involved reducing animal food consumption by two-thirds generally had a lower climate and water footprint than the more traditional lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.
  3. There’s no one-size-fits-all diet to address the climate and nutrition crises, for prescribing broad dietary recommendations to meet the needs of individual countries
  4. A food’s country of origin can have enormous consequences for climate.  
  5. For example, one pound of beef produced in Paraguay contributes nearly 17 times more greenhouse gases than one pound of beef produced in Denmark.
  6. Where you get your food from matters:
    While another study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment came to a similar conclusion about the environment impact of eating fish, not all fish are equal. Farmed shellfish and mollusks, and fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, pollock, hake, and cod were found to have the lowest impact on the environment.

Below are a few other sites on different research and breakdowns of different diets of the pro’s and con’s to the environment and your health.

Just remember we all live and share this planet, so be kind and consider one’s choices, location, health, and financial means, before making judgements.

*If this article or any past articles leaves you with questions, the want to be a better you, the courage to take the first step to a happier you, than please contact me at: 

Mikkie Nettles, Certified Personal Trainer/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
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