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.