This infographic entitled "Go Meatless - Say No to Meat" gives some sobering facts about the human health and environmental costs of raising animals for food. It also points out a few health advantages of a plant-based (or vegan) diet. Finally, it gives some great examples of plant foods that are rich in protein, iron and calcium - the three nutrients that people who are considering a vegetarian or vegan diet worry about the most. Highlights include:
The impact of raising animals for food on the environment and human health:
✔ Meat is the primary reason for high cholesterol level in both men and women. High cholesterol levels increase the risk for stroke, cardiovascular and other diseases.
✔ It requires at least 7 kg (about 15 pounds, 7 ounces) of grain to produce 1 kg (about 2 pounds, 3 ounces) of beef.
✔ Raising animals for food uses 30% of the earth's mass.
✔ More than 2/3rds of the land is consumed for growing fodder (i.e., feed) for livestock.
✔ Nearly about 50% of the water in the United States is used in raising farm animals.
✔ It requires 249 gallons of water to produce 4.15 pounds of potatoes whereas it requires 12,009 gallons of water to produce only one pound of beef.
✔ Cattle excretions pollute rivers and seas and are often responsible for cross-contamination of fruits and vegetables.
✔ Methane (produced by cattle) contributes to global warming 20 times more and faster than carbon-dioxide emissions.
The health benefits of whole-food plant-based (vegan) diets:
✔ Vegan diets are cholesterol free.
✔ Whole-food vegan diets are rich in calcium, iron, protein and other micronutrients.
✔ Healthy vegan diets reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Common plant-based sources of protein, iron and calcium include:
✔ Whole grains, nuts and seeds
✔ Nut and butters and milks
✔ Beans and lentils
✔ Vegetables, especially dark, leafy, green vegetables
Vegan Food Guide: Daily Plan for Healthy Living
Vegan Food Pyramid
Wondering About a Vegan Diet?
Infographic Source: I Dream of Falafel