Goodbye for Now

Hi guys!

This journey has finally reached its endpoint. This is my final post to you guys and I hope to make it a personal one.

Image from https://tenor.com/search/bts-crying-gifs

In writing some of my posts, it may seem a little unrelated to each other, so I have drawn this (rudimentary) relationship map for you on how my posts are connected. The blue arrows connect posts that are related to each other, the red is reasons why I gave up meat and the green are the reflections on my journey as a vegetarian.

Image by Me

When I was thinking of what to post, I wanted the posts to be as connected as they are to each other, such that at the end of all my blogging, you could pick any post and jump to another related one, with the goal of learning about my thoughts on veganism as an environmental student. I have chosen topics in which were reasons I considered when deciding to be a vegan and I hope that after reading my posts you would be motivated to eat more veggie meals too.

I haven’t been able to comment and take you through a more personal journey as a budding vegetarianism so in my last post, let me sum up my experience so far. It’s been about 3 months or so since I’ve given up animal products and I have to say, it has only been easy for me because I have 2 of my meals taken care of for me, meals that do not have any animal products as well. I can’t say for sure that my transition would have been as smooth without the provision of these meals.

Another difficulty I face is when I am eating with other people. For example, when it comes to my family, who are large meat-eaters, it is often hard to eat meals with them as finding vegan food is still quite a challenge in Singapore, as I don’t know what contains animal products (such as butter, milk etc). Thankfully, I have Animal Allies to help look for vegan options. (I don’t have any luck persuading my family to eat less meat, but I will not give up!)

One thing that has placed me in a dilemma is the consideration of eating meat. When travelling overseas (I really shouldn’t in consideration of the carbon footprint but still), one of the joys of experiencing another culture is the food. For example, when I went to Japan, one of the most memorable experiences was the food. However, given that these street foods are often from unsustainable sources, I often feel conflicted when indulging in this. This is something that I’d just like to share but I don’t yet have an answer to. I hope that one day I can reach a conclusion on this but I look forward to your inputs as well!

It’s been a great journey thus far and I hope that my blog has helped you understand the environmental take on veganism. Although I may not have the tie to upkeep this blog in the future, you could always look for me in real life to discuss these issues too!

Image from https://tenor.com/view/heart-anime-gif-4585640 

 

 

Thanks for the love,

Matilda

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Non-Veggie Style: How?

Hello friends!

It’s been a long journey and what better way to wrap it up with a summary of methods we can adopt to reduce our ecological footprint? To reduce our footprint, we need to know our footprint. So, I went over to the WWF website to calculate my footprint. Sadly, as environmentally friendly I think I am, I still need 1.9 Earths to sustain my lifestyle.

My Ecological Footprint
Image from https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/change-the-way-you-live/ecological-footprint-calculator#gs.5cfcm5gImage from 

As such, it got me thinking, having already converted to a vegetarian lifestyle, what more can I do to reduce my footprint? Upon looking closely at the detailed report, it turns out that there are still many things that I can do!

How much of the food that you eat is unprocessed, unpackaged or locally grown?

In Singapore, over 90% of our food comes from overseas (Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, n.d.). That means that just eating our food can contribute to a large amount of GHG emissions, especially if we eat food that comes from further regions such as the USA. As such, one of the ways I can reduce my footprint is by choosing where my food comes from.

As one of my classmates have blogged about the impacts of our food from “Farm to Table”, I especially support the idea of buying local produce, especially from one of the farms, Kok Fah Farm. The farm has a large variety of fresh veggies and my personal favourite, an adorable mascot.

The Unofficial Mascot of Koh Fah Farm
Photo by me

Lucky for me, after volunteering at SPCA, I can cycle to the farm to get the veggies I need, but for most, they’d have to travel quite far to get these products. Thankfully, although it comes in limited options, we can still find some hints of the local produce in our supermarkets, though I hate that it comes in the plastic packaging.

Sky Greens Vegetables
Image from http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2014/08/19/singapore-farming_9139-3a2c7d33a870a6e664c610d3105c936173f223d2-s40-c85.jpg

Compared to your neighbours, how much rubbish do you generate?

This is another area that I believe my family can work on. Despite our recycling efforts, I often worry if our efforts are going to waste. It turns out, only 30% of Singaporeans know how to recycle plastics appropriately (Channel News Asia, 2018). As such, I’m grateful for my classmates who saw this issue and have created an educational recycling machine to increase awareness on what plastics to recycle.

As for my own efforts, I believe that the bulk of my trash comes from the plastic wrapping of food and snacks that my family seems to indulge in. Although convenient, I do feel that these are avoidable. Although I don’t have to capabilities to change much right now, I want to attempt to start making my own snacks. That way, I get to control the overall amount of trash that I contribute.

Conclusion

Although challenging, I think that there are still ways that I can reduce my ecological footprint. This website has many ideas how to live more eco-friendly lifestyles so do check it out yeah? Let me know what other methods you guys have too!

References:
Chia, L. (2018, August 30). 7 in 10 people in Singapore do not know what plastics to recycle: SEC report. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/plastics-recycle-waste-singapore-environment-council-10666450
Food. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ava.gov.sg/explore-by-sections/food/singapore-food-supply/the-food-we-eat

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Non-Veggie Style: Why?

Hi guys! For this week’s post, let’s take a break from the naggings of a vegetarian and see what other ways we can try to reduce our carbon footprint.

For this post, it is more of my interest and less of an environment-related post. While doing some research for my other blog posts, I came across this paper that intrigued me on the responsibilities of individuals towards the issue of climate change. Originally, I couldn’t really understand why people would disbelieve the damaging impacts of climate change. But this paper effectively sums up the reasons behind the different stakeholders’ actions and I will summarise his points!

Some of us may be doubtful when it comes to having to change their lifestyle as a method to reduce their GHG emissions. As Baume and Papadopoulos (2015, p. 171) described, there are mainly 3 perspectives that these pessimists may adopt: “No-harm view”, “No-effect view”, and the “Overly-demanding view”.

The below table summarises some of the important points!

View Why? Why Not?
No-harm view People in these categories do not see that their level of consumption is a great enough factor for them to want to actively reduce it because of their own principles. This is like the belief where “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” (Oliver W. Holmes; John B. Finch).

 

The beauty in this argument as raised by Baume and Papadopoulos (2015) is that there is some logical true to their argument – that just like GHG emissions, it is only the collective effect that is harmful. However, it is because we intentionally continue with this behaviour despite knowing the collective effect makes this belief wrong.
No-effect view These individuals can be described as the ‘glass-half-empty’ kind of people. Generally, the belief that any actions are taken on an individual level would not be effective enough to combat climate change and thus they are passive.

 

However, this view ignores the potential effects everyone must overall reduce the collective impact through ways like inspiring others to adopt similar lifestyles etc.
Overly-demanding view Finally, these people feel that although they can change their behaviour for the sake of the environment because the effect on climate change is too small as compared to the drastic change they would have to adopt in their lifestyle, it is simply not worth to change their lifestyle just for that small pay-off. This argument is ineffective because of the misconceptions that one has about green lifestyles. There are many ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint without having to put in much effort (which I’ll be talking about in the next post).

 

Although the arguments made by sceptics are plausible – that collective effort are more effective in reducing one’s carbon footprint, in reality, I feel that there really is no reason for us to shrink our responsibility as an individual and to belittle the potential we have in each of our actions.

Until next time,

Matilda

Reference:

Baume, S., & Papadopoulos, Y. (2015). Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

Ecological Footprints of our Diets

Hi guys, welcome back to my blog! Today, I’ll be following up on the previous post on the various diets one could choose – the ecological footprints of these diets. From the many reports and studies I’ve browsed, plant-based diets have been touted to be the most effective method to reduce one’s impact on the environment (Joyce, Dixon, Comfort, & Hallett, 2012). However, to what extent is that true? Let’s look at the facts.

Diets that include meat:

According to (van Dooren, Marinussen, Blonk, Aiking, & Vellinga, 2014), diets that consume animal agriculture contributes to 34% of GHG emissions. As mentioned in previous posts on the negative impacts of animal agriculture, the

Diets that abstaining from meat:

As summarised by van Dooren et al. (2014), depending on the studies, the actual percentage of the reduction of GHG emissions can vary from 22% to 38% (Berners-Lee, Hoolohan, Cammack, & Hewitt, 2012; Vanham, Mekonnen, & Hoekstra, 2013). However, these studies all agree that removing meat from one’s diet can significantly reduce the GHG emission from one’s diets.

My thoughts:

Interestingly, there are studies that suggest going vegan, aka removing meat completely from our diet is not mandatory to mitigate the environmental impact of meat consumption. van Dooren et al. (2014) recommends that removing 100g of meat from one’s diet would already see a 40% decrease in the land use from agriculture production.

Similarly, as observed by Peters et al. (2016), diets that are ecologically efficient do not need to be only plant-based diets because of the suitability of the land for producing certain types of crops. Since pasture lands cannot entirely support the growth of grains or wheat, it is logical for the land to be optimised to the maximum and this cannot be achieved through a wholly vegan diet.

There are so many delicious alternatives to meat, especially now that one might not have to entirely give up their meat consumption. So after reading this, I hope that more people would step up to voluntarily reduce their meat consumption, even if it’s only a day within the week.

References

Berners-Lee, M., Hoolohan, C., Cammack, H., & Hewitt, C. (2012). The relative greenhouse gas impacts of realistic dietary choices. Energy Policy, 43, 184-190.

Joyce, A., Dixon, S., Comfort, J., & Hallett, J. (2012). Reducing the environmental impact of dietary choice: perspectives from a behavioural and social change approach. Journal of environmental and public health, 2012.

Peters, C. J., Picardy, J., Wilkins, J. L., Griffin, T. S., Fick, G. W., & Darrouzet-Nardi, A. F. (2016). Carrying capacity of US agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 4(1), 1.

van Dooren, C., Marinussen, M., Blonk, H., Aiking, H., & Vellinga, P. (2014). Exploring dietary guidelines based on ecological and nutritional values: a comparison of six dietary patterns. Food Policy, 44, 36-46.

Vanham, D., Mekonnen, M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2013). The water footprint of the EU for different diets. Ecological indicators, 32, 1-8.

Collateral Damage of Animal Agriculture

Collateral Damage:

“The unintentional deaths and injuries of those who are not the targets, and damage that is caused to their homes.”

–  Adapted from the Cambridge Dictionary

From my previous posts, we have learnt about how the livestock agriculture industry contributes to deforestation. Today, I’ll be sharing about the consequences of that – beyond deforestation. Besides the obvious fact of the loss in habitats, I’m sure many of us are unaware of the other impact that this sector of agriculture hides.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS). It is understandable that many of us are unaware of the relationship between USDA APHIS WS and the agriculture industry. To give a brief summary, this agency is involved in “resolving wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist” (United States Department of Agriculture, 2018).

Currently, wildlife does pose a significant threat to farmers especially in livestock such as sheep and goats. National Agricultural Statistics Service (2002) observed that predators have caused $178 million worth of losses in 2001, with the majority being caused by coyotes.

Because of the explosion of the human population, we have expanded further into the habitats of wildlife, especially for agricultural purposes and contributes to other significant environmental impacts such as fragmentation of wildlife habitats (Fall & Jackson, 2002).

Additionally, there are those that view the current permanent removal is the most successful and cheapest way to resolve the conflict (Conover, 2001), when this is not necessarily the case. For example, wolves, despite often observed to live near animal agriculture sites, have a lower number of attacks on the livestock than expected, to the extent that it is even “surprising” (Bangs & Shivik, 2001, p. 3). As such, coupled with the cultural practices of hunting, methods involving permanent removal maybe troubling in the eyes of conservationists.

One might concede that perhaps it may be an option to consider when the issue pertains to the population size. When the population exceeds the environmental carrying capacity, these predators may cause greater damage outside of the animal agriculture context, for example, in preying on the other animals in the habitat (Bangs & Shivik, 2001).

While it is there are benefits to this, the collateral damage from the use of permanent removal tools is often observed. Firstly, examples like the Tasmanian Tiger serves to show how irresponsible predatory control can contribute to the extinction of a species misunderstood by many during its time (Bulte, Horan, & Shogren, 2003). Secondly, the accidental kills resulting from the tools used include animals under protection or classified as endangered, such as the golden eagle (Bergstrom et al., 2014).

More research needs to be conducted to appropriately evaluate if the use of permanent removal methods is justified. Other factors such as environmental ethics are also often considered. However, I feel that perhaps there are better ways to tackle these issues on depredation.

References:

Bangs, E., & Shivik, J. A. (2001). Managing wolf conflict with livestock in the northwestern United States.

Bergstrom, B. J., Arias, L. C., Davidson, A. D., Ferguson, A. W., Randa, L. A., & Sheffield, S. R. (2014). License to kill: reforming federal wildlife control to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function. Conservation Letters, 7(2), 131-142.

Bulte, E. H., Horan, R. D., & Shogren, J. F. (2003). Is the Tasmanian tiger extinct? A biological–economic re-evaluation. Ecological Economics, 45(2), 271-279.

Conover, M. R. (2001). Effect of hunting and trapping on wildlife damage. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 521-532.

Fall, M. W., & Jackson, W. B. (2002). The tools and techniques of wildlife damage management—changing needs: an introduction. International biodeterioration & biodegradation, 49(2-3), 87-91.

National Agricultural Statistics Service. (2002). U.S. Wildlife Damage. Retrieved from http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/uswd/uswd-05-03-2002.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture, A. a. P. H. I. S. (2018). Wildlife Services.   Retrieved from https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/SA_Program_Overview

Veggie Delights Pt. 3

Welcome to the final section of Veggie Delights! Today, we’ll be looking at the production of meat.

Reason #3: Problems in livestock agriculture

The demand for meat is projected to increase from 39 to 49 kg per capita by 2050, (Alexandratos & Bruinsma, 2012) as the global affluence level rises. It has been commonly associated that with the increase in countries per capita income, meat consumption generally increases before plateauing as seen below. (Steinfeld et al., 2006)

This means that a large proportion of the increase in the global agriculture production will go to producing livestock as feed for the animals. And to meet this demand, by 2050, meat production will increase by 76% (200 million tonnes). (Alexandratos & Bruinsma, 2012)

Because of the inefficiencies in producing livestock, the increasing demand for meat tightens the land availability for the agriculture production. The current land reserves show in Table 1 may be used up as soon as in the late 2020s when taking into unavoidable deforestation. (Lambin & Meyfroidt, 2011)

Source: Lambin & Meyfroidt, 2011

For example, in cattle raising, forests and grasslands (even in protected areas) are often cleared to create pastures for grazing, (Piana & Marsden, 2014) contributing to one of the more significant factors of forest degradation in Africa. (Hosonuma et al., 2012) Agriculture alone is estimated to cause 80% of the world’s deforestation, whether it is commercially or locally. (Hosonuma et al., 2012) Also, the inefficiencies in the food/feed stock conversion for animal products are up to 4 times lesser than that of grain or vegetable products. (Wirsenius, Hedenus, & Mohlin, 2011)

Although solutions such as partially substituting one’s diet of meat to vegetables can help in reducing the pressure of livestock agriculture on deforestation, besides other environmental and health benefits, it is unlikely for this reality to materialize, with the increase in meat consumption. (Wirsenius, Azar, & Berndes, 2010)

On the more positive note for meat-eaters: one can also contribute in decreasing the pressures on deforestation. Transitions from beef to poultry or pork can be an alternative solution (though not as effective as switching to a plant-based diet) as unlike beef, chickens and pigs are generally fed with grains and do not depend on pasture for grazing. Other alternative solutions also investigate improving the productivity of feed stock in raising livestock, given that currently the feed conversion efficiency is quite low. Such advancement in the agriculture technology can also help to decrease methane emissions.

As much as I’d like for there to be more vegans in the world, there are many other ways to contribute to a greener earth and I’ll be comparing them in the future posts!

References

Alexandratos, N., & Bruinsma, J. (2012). World agriculture towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision. Retrieved from

Hosonuma, N., Herold, M., De Sy, V., De Fries, R. S., Brockhaus, M., Verchot, L., . . . Romijn, E. (2012). An assessment of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in developing countries. Environmental Research Letters, 7(4), 044009.

Lambin, E. F., & Meyfroidt, P. (2011). Global land use change, economic globalization, and the looming land scarcity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(9), 3465-3472.

Piana, R. P., & Marsden, S. J. (2014). Impacts of cattle grazing on forest structure and raptor distribution within a neotropical protected area. Biodiversity and conservation, 23(3), 559-572.

Steinfeld, H., Gerber, P., Wassenaar, T., Castel, V., Rosales, M., Rosales, M., & de Haan, C. (2006). Livestock’s long shadow: environmental issues and options: Food & Agriculture Org.

Wirsenius, S., Azar, C., & Berndes, G. (2010). How much land is needed for global food production under scenarios of dietary changes and livestock productivity increases in 2030? Agricultural systems, 103(9), 621-638.

Wirsenius, S., Hedenus, F., & Mohlin, K. (2011). Greenhouse gas taxes on animal food products: rationale, tax scheme and climate mitigation effects. Climatic change, 108(1-2), 159-184.

Veggie Delights Pt. 2

Continuing with the Veggie Delights Series, we have now come to the second part of the information download! Today I have for you, reason #2: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Many of us are already aware of how the greenhouse gases contribute to the global warming phenomenon so I won’t go into the topic too deeply.

Source: SAHA, A. Role of micro-organisms in climate change.

Reason #2: GHG emissions

I believe that most of us agree that CO2 is the most dominant driver of climate change when comparing all the GHG emissions. However, while that may be true, there are other studies that suggest that perhaps focusing purely on CO2 emissions is not the most effective method in combatting climate change. Hansen, Sato, Ruedy, Lacis, and Oinas (2000) believe that while CO2 is the greatest climate driver (1.4 W/m2), when compared to the total of the non-CO2 GHG (1.5 W/m2), it is observed that there is also an equal importance to place some emphasis on the non-CO2 GHG.

Non-CO2 GHG currently has been observed to contribute to roughly one-third of the total CO2 equivalent emission. (Montzka, Dlugokencky, & Butler, 2011) The methods used to mitigate the effects of these GHG compared to CO2 can reduce the climate forcing effect much faster. The race against time is increasingly important as one the climate crosses the tipping point in which the changes are irreversible.  For more reasons on why we should focus on reducing non-CO2 GHG, you can read this study: Non-CO2 greenhouse gases and climate change by Montzka, Dlugokencky, & Butler

So, what does vegetarianism have to do with non-CO2 GHG? The largest non-CO2 GHG in abundance is methane, with its global warming potential 10 times stronger than CO2. (Lashof & Ahuja, 1990) Given that most of the methane emissions come from livestock production, vegetarianism is an efficient way of reducing the methane emissions. The largest methane emitters from the agriculture sector are beef, cheese, pork, rice and chicken. And with global meat consumption on the rise (1.5% increase from 2016 to 2017), (OECD & FAO, 2018) one can only expect the GHG emissions to increase as well.

Adapted from Carlsson-Kanyama & González, 2009 

By having a plant-based diet, in addition to the reduction of GHG emission, indirectly, one would also have many other environmental impacts, such as reductions in pollutants that threaten one’s health and other agriculture, decrease in drivers of deforestation, reduce the water pollution caused by agriculture practices. (Mohr, 2005)

References:

Carlsson-Kanyama, A., & González, A. D. (2009). Potential contributions of food consumption patterns to climate change. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 89(5), 1704S-1709S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736AA

OECD/FAO (2018), OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027, OECD Publishing, Paris/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. https://doi.org/10.1787/agr_outlook-2018-en

Hansen, J., Sato, M., Ruedy, R., Lacis, A., & Oinas, V. (2000). Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97(18), 9875-9880.

Lashof, D. A., & Ahuja, D. R. (1990). Relative contributions of greenhouse gas emissions to global warming. Nature, 344(6266), 529.

Mohr, N. (2005). A New Global Warming Strategy. EarthSave International.

Montzka, S. A., Dlugokencky, E. J., & Butler, J. H. (2011). Non-CO 2 greenhouse gases and climate change. Nature, 476(7358), 43.

Veggie Delights Pt. 1

We’re already at the halfway point of the semester and I realized I have yet to explain fully the impacts of a vegetarian diet. As one of my classmates have surfaced in his post, the awareness of the potential environmental impact is often not made known to many.

I’ll be splitting the 3 reasons into 3 different posts so I can delve a bit more in-depth for each reason. Many of my other classmates have touched on some of these issues and topics so I’ll be recommending their posts along the way.

Reason #1: Undrinkable Water

Last week in class, we attempted to account for all the water used in the production of one of my favourite breakfast in the world, kaya toast. (Sadly, eggless kaya doesn’t do it justice) It emphasized the importance of the world’s most versatile resource, as water is used in.

Although this picture is pretty, I just want to reach in and turn the tap off. Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Producing livestock tends to require a lot of water, from growing the animals to its manufacturing process. On average, animal-based food requires much more water than plant-based foods. (Marrin, 2016) With up to 4 billion of the global population facing significant water scarcity for minimally 1 month each year, (Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2016) and 844 million people who still do not have access to clean potable water, (World Health Organization & UNICEF, 2017) the transition from a largely meat-based diet to include more plant-based food has a greater moral obligation than just the animal rights argument.

This article sums up the information regarding the world’s water crisis so do take the time to read!

By the way, if you want to calculate your meal’s water footprint, you can use this study! It has listed many different types of crops, so you can easily crunch the numbers. I’ll be calculating mine sometime soon so you can look forward to that!!

References:

Marrin, D. (2016). Using water footprints to identify alternatives for conserving local water resources in California. Water, 8(11), 497.

Mekonnen, M. M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2016). Four billion people facing severe water scarcity. Science advances, 2(2), e1500323.

World Health Organization, & UNICEF. (2017). Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG baselines.

Vegans to the Rescue?

Hey there!

My classmate recently did a post about why vegans chose to convert and it really covers why I converted as well!  But recently, I’ve come across an article that accuses vegetarians of damaging the environment instead of saving it.

Image taken from https://imgur.com/gallery/lB5wmMp

I couldn’t believe this so I went ahead to do some research. It turns out, this debate is quite difficult to have a definite “correct” answer. It actually goes by a case by case scenario.

For example, some agencies like ABC News and The Guardian asserted that the local environmental agency cited that the high profitability of avocados has become a substantial cause of illegal deforestation. On the other hand,  Barsimantov and Antezana claim that the recent craze for avocados has not driven up deforestation rates as expected.

It’s a little hard to decide my side because each side has its flaws. I couldn’t find the speech where the Coria, an official from the local environmental protection agency, said that at least 30% of the deforestation was to fuel the demand for avocados. There was also missing literature on the accurate depiction of the causes for deforestation in Mexico. There’s more information I need before I can confidently say for sure but I do acknowledge the unsustainable practices that avocado farming tends to lean towards.

In all the research, however, an important information came up that I’d like to share with you. Avocadoes, soybeans, bananas, chocolate and coffee are some of the foods that are currently facing a risk of extinction. The cause – climate change. Soon, we may have to say goodbye to things like chocolate and coffee. How does one go without chocolate or coffee?!


Food and Climate ChangeImage taken from https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2017/02/food-and-climate-change

In other predictions, soybeans and wheat may also be affected. Being a vegan, I depend a lot on food like chickpeas that are a good alternative to protein. That means that we vegetarians are particularly vulnerable to this threat to our food security.

This really makes me consider – which is the best way for us to fight for a sustainable future as an individual? Although having a plant-based diet would really significantly reduce the carbon emissions as an individual compared to a diet that includes meat, what are the other consequences that are not too obvious from having a plant-based diet. Another example is the quinoa consumption. Many vegans tend to be concerned about the ethical concerns about where our food comes from. So when it comes to quinoa, where the locals can no longer pay for their own staple produce, are we hypocrites for putting animal lives or the environment over human lives?

Here’s where I leave you to think about it. Where do we draw the line? How do we toe the delicate balance between what’s right for the environment and what’s ethical for other humans?

References:

Barsimantov, J., & Antezana, J. N. (2012). Forest cover change and land tenure change in Mexico’s avocado region: Is community forestry related to reduced deforestation for high value crops?. Applied Geography32(2), 844-853.

Blythman, J. (2013, January 16). Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa? | Joanna Blythman. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa

Mexican forests paying the price for avocados. (2016, November 01). Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-01/mexico-deforestation-for-avocados-much-higher-than-thought/7983012

Siddique, H. (2016, August 10). Rising avocado prices fuelling illegal deforestation in Mexico. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/10/avocado-illegal-deforestation-mexico-pine-forests

Stage 1: Going Cold Turkey

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

– Robert Collier

Welcome to Stage 1 of the torture. I’ve always been a fan of the saying go big or go home so when I started my vegetarian diet I felt that I should start with the aim of developing the habit of picking out food with dairy products and eggs in it.

It turns out, many of the delicious foods I like tend to have either milk or egg in them:

Case #1 – CakesImage taken from https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-plate-chocolate-dessert-132694/

Case #2 – PastaImage taken from https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photography-of-pasta-with-tomato-and-basil-1279330/

It was easier than I thought to say goodbye to meat after coming to terms with why I was doing this diet. The harder parts are the products such as milk and butter that are sometimes not easy to spot. (sadly, Milo has milk so I have to say goodbye)

Thinking about it, dairy products need not be cruel and unethical. Then again, the part of the idea is to reinforce the idea of reducing the need for livestock that contributes to the global deforestations. It’s hard to come to a decision about the exact morality about it.

A tip for all those who are interested in trying out a vegetarian or vegan diet: be careful about which nutrients you may eventually face a deficiency in. Because of the changes in the intake of food, some nutrients like Zinc or Iron can be hard to include in a vegetarian diet. I suggest that before starting the diet, it would be a good habit to start tracking the nutrients of each meal so that it’s easier to notice if you’re missing any nutrients and can easily manage a healthy diet.

A quick summary of my meals so far! I’m thankful that I only eat breakfast and dinner. Lunch would just tempt me into eating the forbidden “fruit”. I’m quite proud of myself as I’ve only succumbed once to the Mac and Cheese! Thankfully, it is vegetarian!

Breakfasts and Dinners!

P.S. I’m still thinking of what should be my last meat dish so if you have any great suggestions let me know!

References:

Sultana, R., & Fatima, T. (2018). A Study on Vegetarian Diet–Dealing With the Efficiency and Deficiency of It. Int. J. Pure App. Biosci6(2), 987-994.