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Sharon Palmer’s The Plant-Powered Diet Could Save the Planet

Sharon Palmer’s The Plant-Powered Diet Could Save the Planet

The Plant-Powered Diet, a new book by registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, makes a convincing case for either completely giving up meat or reducing your consumption significantly. Palmer focuses on the researched positives of a plant-based diet and teaches readers how to achieve optimal health from powerful plants.

One of Palmer’s most unique reasons for giving up meat is the impact it has on the environment. She lists rewards of a plant-based diet including “live longer,” “have a healthy heart,” “protect against cancer,” and finally “save the planet.” Many of these other aspects have been frequently discussed in regards to the vegetarian diet, however, Palmer focuses more on the carbon footprint of meat eating versus vegetarianism than most.

Palmer references an Italian study that showed how the organic vegan diet had the smallest environmental impact. However, the typical diet that includes conventional farming and meat had the greatest impact. The study found that beef has the highest impact on the environment. Other culprits that seem to leave big carbon footprints are cheese, fish, and milk. Animals require a lot of resources and make what Palmer calls inefficient “food production machines.”

Some statistics to make these claims more clear really brought Palmer’s point home. The Plant-Powered Diet states that to produce 1 calorie from beef, 40 calories of fossil fuels are needed. However, 1 calorie from grains only needs 2.2 calories of fossil fuels.

Other stats were shared from studies called Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health At-A-Glance. The research came from the Environmental Working Group and stated that if all Americans ate no meat or cheese for just one day a week the result would be as if we drove 91 billion miles less, or if we took 7.6 million cars off the roads. It’s an effort Meatless Monday is trying to achieve.

The impact of animal products seems to cause an abundance of greenhouse gas emissions. Just think, according to the studies, if a four-person family cuts meat and cheese just one day a week, it’s as if you took your car off the road for five weeks.

Going on a complete vegan diet may not be in the cards for the nation or even your house, but Palmer’s options for lowering your meat intake and using the powerful plants as your main focus, not only provides countless health benefits, it could quite literally save the world.


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3:33PM PST on Feb 22, 2013

Thank you :)

2:24PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

REALLY OLD news. Lappe wrote about this in Diet for a small planet 30-40 yrs ago. It is only partially valid. Stop the CAFO operations so supported by the FDA, USDA,EPA and most liberal congresspeople and you eliminate 90% of the problems attributed to meat eating.
We are not all created equal and vegan/vegetarianism is dangerous for some and with the epidemic of gluten intolerance and allergies to plant foods on the rise, the answer is not so simple as vegan or not eating meat or dairy once a week. There are issues with pollutants of water and air, drugs, the disease paradigm, GMO food approvals ad nauseum. Eating meatless once a week will do nothing. There is no scientific evidence that animal products are a major cause of greenhouse gases or that greenhouse gases are a significant problem. This article is confused and has no valid premise or logic or scientific backing or even any real evidence. I don't eat CAFO meats or dairy; I have grass fed sources of meat, raw milk and cheeses and organic vegetables. I am healthier for it, and I think it would be healthier for most to eat so, but politics prevent it, liberal politics and bureaucratic despotism. Not eating meat and dairy once a week is ridiculous and useless; stop GMO, stop using food as fuel sources, stop CAFO, stop the bureaucratic despotism if you want to save the planet.

10:13AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Sorry but the numbers are inflated as is the ego

6:56AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Thank you Brandi, for Sharing this!

3:18AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

A recent Australian study disputes this.

9:37AM PST on Jan 15, 2013

I have been trying to reduce meat in my diet and I actually find I dont really miss it

7:54AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

thank very much

6:52AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

Thanks A lot.

5:29AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

Oh, oops. There is a '4' in the number of kilos that shouldn't be there, ofcourse. 150 kgs is enough ;)!

5:27AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

A good article and when we all reduce our taste for meat by half, we take care of our planet and valuable resources so much better. I have been a vegetarian/leaning ever more towards being a vegan for more than a decade now and I would never go back, even if there was 'animal friendly meat'! I feel so much healthier and lighter.

As for having fish on your plate, not only are all the fish stocks still depleating faster than nature can bring them back, we are going towards even more 'basic' species on the ocean foodchain (and then we have to shoot everybody who is 'competing' with us ofcourse) but have you ever thought what happens to all the waste we dump into the oceans, both visible and invisible? All the chemicals we think are out of sight and off the planet actually do turn up again, in the fish on our plate! If you eat 5% fish in your diet, 50% (!) of the poisons in your system will be ocean-originated, studies show. For the omega3 we do not need to kill 1540 kgs of fish for a litre, fish do NOT make it themselves but ingest it out of algea, and we can do the same....

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Terrific article! Thank you! :-)


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