In Eating smart, Food

“Vegging” Out

Would you consider going vegetarian? What about just for one meal? Vegetarianism, a dietary choice that excludes the consumption of meat, poultry, and seafood, has gained significant attention in recent years due to its myriad benefits for individuals and the planet. Beyond its ethical and environmental advantages, adopting a vegetarian lifestyle offers numerous health benefits that can enhance overall well-being. By embracing a diet rich in plant-based foods, individuals can enjoy reduced risks of chronic diseases, improved nutrient intake, enhanced weight management, and increased longevity.

Members of our Environmental Action Group are getting ready to try it themselves! Read on for more about this movement.

Going Vegetarian Can Benefit the Environment

There are 3 main ways that being a vegetarian can help the environment.

Compared to a diet containing meat, a plant-based diet:

  1. Requires less land
  2. Conserves water
  3. Minimizes pollution

Less Land

Plants simply take up less room than the amount of land needed to raise animals like cattle. According to the Guardian, nearly 30% of the available land (that is an ice-free surface area) is used for livestock or for the food to feed those livestock. And according to some academics, if the grain used to feed animals in Western countries were consumed directly by people instead of animals, we could feed twice as many people as we feed now. In addition to this, the overgrazing of cattle can lead to soil erosion, desertification, flooding, and loss of land fertility.

More Water

Raising animals to eat uses more water than growing plants because animals require vast amounts of water to live and stay healthy. For example, vegetarian author John Robbins estimates that it takes around 168 pounds of water to produce one pound of wheat, while it takes 20,000 pounds of water to produce one pound of beef. Farming itself also uses 70% of the water available to humans and is already in direct competition with cities for water.

Less Pollution

It’s estimated that a single livestock farm can now generate as much waste as a city. The waste from these livestock gets funneled into massive lagoons and these can break or overflow which ends up polluting water sources, such as rivers, with nitrogen and phosphorus.

Areas called “dead zones” also form. This actually occurs most summers at the mouth of the Mississippi river when vast amounts of animal waste and fertilizers get swept down the river. Algae blooms then form and take up most of the oxygen in the water which means that very little else can live there. Animal farming is not the only cause of dead zones, but it is a major contributor to them.

These factory farms also release large amounts of methane, are responsible for 37% of pesticides used, more than half of the antibiotics manufactured, and they make two thirds of manmade ammonia which is a major contributor to acid rain.

Going Vegetarian Can Benefit Your Health

Following a vegetarian diet not only has the potential to benefit the environment, but your own body as well. For example, a vegetarian diet can lower your risk of heart disease. In a study of 76,000 people, vegetarians were 25% less likely to pass away from heart disease. And a specific part of the vegetarian diet might be to thank for this: nuts, specifically walnuts. This is because nuts are heart protective due to the number of antioxidants and fiber they contain among other benefits. Walnuts in particular are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

A plant-based diet can also reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. Hundreds of studies have already shown that eating lots of fruit and vegetables can reduce this risk and a vegetarian diet can make it much easier to eat more of these foods every day.

Some research also suggests that a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes because this kind of diet improves insulin sensitivity, helps manage weight, and is high in fiber. In addition to this, eating more plant-based meals can also reduce the risk of contracting certain diseases such as salmonella or e coli that can be transferred from animals to humans through touch or water runoff.

Vegetarian Recipes

Now that we’ve seen how a plant-based diet can be beneficial, you may be asking yourself: will this be tasty? Will it be as good as meat? Can I eat something other than just a salad?

The answer is yes! There are a multitude of vegetarian meal options and recipes available for cooking at home, and plenty of vegetarian options available throughout our dining rooms.

For cooking at home, check out some of these recipes below:


Berry-Almond Smoothie Bowl
For the recipe, click here.

West Coast Avocado Toast
For the recipe, click here.


Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese
For the recipe, click here.

Mushroom Melt
For the recipe, click here

Caprese Pasta Salad
For the recipe, click here.

Smothered Black Soybean Burgers
For the recipe, click here.


Lentil Curry with Cauliflower Rice
For the recipe, click here.

Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole
For the recipe, click here.

Roasted Vegetable and Black Beans Tacos
For the recipe, click here.

Buttermilk Fried Tofu with Smoky Collard Greens
For the recipe, click here.

“Going green” can benefit both the environment and your health, but completely changing your diet can be overwhelming. So, start small by just eating meat a little less frequently. Keep on the lookout for new vegetarian dishes in your favorite Beacon Hill at Eastgate restaurants! Then, as you get more comfortable with eating less meat and finding more vegetarian options you like, slowly incorporate these meals into your regular rotation. And remember that you don’t have to become a vegetarian permanently, or at all. Simply choosing to substitute some meals with meat for vegetarian meals can help make a big difference on the earth and on your health.

Discover Your Best Life at Beacon Hill at Eastgate


Sources vegetarian%20helps%20 reduce%20 pollution,on%20wild%20animals%20AND%20humans.

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