Plants have been a staple in our diets since the beginning of time and are a great way to get a lot of the vital nutrients your body needs. This is probably why moms (also seemingly since the beginning of time) have urged their kids to eat their veggies (and at least an apple a day).
Nowadays, we recognize that eating plant-based food isn’t just a smart health move, but it’s also an effective way to help keep our planet thriving, too.
Conscious consumers and companies know this, and it’s a big part of why there are more and more delicious veggie-first options for meals and snacks cropping up every single day. In fact, the plant-based market saw 20% growth from 2017 to 2018 and is predicted to grow globally to $21 billion by 2025.
Once thought of as a trend, plant-based eating is now a bona fide movement. And if you’re wondering why plant-based eating is here to stay, read on, my friend...
It’s healthier for you
There’s a lot of evidence that eating animal-based products, especially red and processed meat, can cause a variety of health problems, from heart disease to cancer. On the other hand, the evidence that plant-based diets are significantly more healthy is abundant. The key is to eat the right kind of plant-based foods. Studies show that choosing healthy options, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and “good” oils, like olive and avocado, is what works best.
It’s substantially better for our planet
More and more both consumers and companies are shifting the balance toward a healthier Earth by openly embracing plant-based solutions. To understand how impactful that is, a “cradle-to-distribution” life cycle study was commissioned by a plant-based meat company that found the plant-based burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use compared to that of a quarter-pound of U.S. beef.
Think about it… that’s the impact of just ONE type of plant-based food. Together, we can make an important and significant contribution to keeping Mother Earth healthy by embracing a diet that’s mainly fruits, vegetables and other plant-based ingredients.
While choosing to become vegetarian or vegan is one way to make a social, health-related and ethical statement, a recent poll from Gallup shows that only a small percentage of Americans are ready to make that commitment — just 5% and 3%, respectively.
Plant-based, on the other hand, is a more inclusive and welcoming term to many. Unlike veganism or even vegetarianism, there’s no underlying message that says you have to cut out all meat. Alternate dairy and meat options made from soy, pea protein, almonds and a host of other plant-based ingredients mimic the experience of consuming animal-based foods to cater to and satisfy the tastes of omnivores. So it’s easy to mix it up and reduce meat consumption, without feeling like you’re making a huge sacrifice.
Pop into any grocery store, mass chains like Walmart or online grocery retailers, and you’ll notice that plant-based alt-meats, beverages and snacks are booming. While soy milk lattes have been a staple at Starbucks and other coffee chains for years now, we’ve arrived at a tipping point in the fast-food and fast-casual industries: the advent of alt-meat options. Restaurants like Del Taco, Carl’s Jr. and Burger King and countless more have introduced plant-based burgers, tacos, burritos and other tasty plant-powered food staples to overwhelming public approval. And on-the-go plant-based snacks are booming too, in large part because it makes it easy for busy modern families to enjoy healthy options while they stay active.
It’s not a new concept
The term “plant-based,” was coined back in the 1980s by nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell. He came up with it as a term that would resonate with his colleagues when he was trying to describe a type of diet comprised mainly of plants, which would be healthy and contribute to overall wellness. The term took off in his milestone 2005 book, “The China Study.”
So all we’re hearing today about healthier lifestyles rooted in plant-based eating is supported by proven, science-backed evidence that’s been gathered over time.
It empowers you with choice
All of what we’ve been discussing is about choice. Taking control of what you buy and eat has a domino effect — by choosing healthy, plant-based diet for your family and yourself, you’re impacting the entire planet and the prospects that future generations will have, too.
The plant-based movement is here to stay for all of these reasons — and because it truly does provide the nutrition, flexibility, versatility and variety we crave today. For more ideas about how you can reap the benefits of the plant-based movement, be sure to join the ZENB community and don’t forget to join us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest articles, recipes, and more from the ZENB world.