According to project Drawndown “If 50-75 percent of the world’s population restricts their diet to a healthy average 2,250 calories per day and reduces meat consumption overall, we estimate at least 43-68 gigatons of emissions could be avoided from dietary change alone. If avoided deforestation from land use change is included, an additional 21.8-23.5 gigatons of emissions could be avoided, making healthy, plant-rich diets one of the most impactful solutions ” to draw down carbon and slow the climate change.
The benefits of eating a diet of mostly plants are extensive for both the health of the body and the planet which is why many people are trying meatless on for size either in the short-term or long-term.
If you are moving meat away from the center of the plate and shifting to animail-free foods, make sure you are replacing it with nutrient dense veggies and plant-based protein options!
To help you get some staple recipes in the quiver, checkout these five resources below. They are not all 100% animal free but they definitley include some delicious, nutritient dense, animal free options.
- The College Vegetarian Cookbook is a collection of 150 budget-friendly vegetarian recipes for beginner cooks
- Here are some great recipes with vegetarian options. For the quesadilla recipe replace chicken with tempeh and dairy-based cheese with almond-based cheese like Daiya
- For vegan ideas, the book Eat & Run by Scott Jurek has recipes within the story. The story is about his transformation from meat to vegan and how it impacted his running and life. If you aren’t interested in reading the book you can spin through it for recipes. His blog also provides excellent recipes
- This is a classic cookbook for vegetarians and one I always recommend Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katizen
- My absolute favorite cookbooks for athletes (not just runners) are Run Fast East Slow & Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow they also created a companion meal planning guide that is very useful for athletes that I have used with a few clients.
Meeting nutrition needs on an a plant-based eating plan is totally possible and just takes some “nutrient awareness” and shift in where the nutrients come from. Here are foods to add to your diet if you are ditching animal foods:
- PROTEIN: Tofu, nuts, seeds, tempeh, non-dairy cheese, quinoa, chickpea pasta, pea protein powder, plant-based meat alternatives such as Beyound Meat, fungi protein sources like Fynd, crickets
- IRON: Broccoli, spinach, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, raisin, peas, kidney and white beans PRO TIP: Add vitamin C from a fruit for increase absorption
- B12: most abundant in cow-based dairy products but can be found in Tuna and fortified cereals, bars, and non-dairy milk options
- CALCIUM: Spinach, kale, tofu, nuts, seeds
- ZINC: Soy, nuts, seeds, whol grains
There has been a shift away from cow’s milk despite its efficient source of nutrients. Here is a look at how to replace nutrients found in cow’s milk with cow-free foods.
I grew up in Montana surrounded by cattle ranchers. While I find raw meat disturbing and cattle oh so cute, I can not deny that after a long run, I good (well-done thank you!) burger sounds delicious. When consciously consumed beef doesn’t have to be eliminated completely to do good for your body and the planet. If you like beef, think about how many times you eat it, where it comes from, and shift it from the main dish to the side dish.