In the summer of 2017, the Canadian government released a draft of their proposed healthy eating recommendations and the guide favored a “high proportion of plant-based foods.” Awesome, right? It gets better. The food guide noted the importance of whole foods and stated that plant-based foods are the preferred source of protein. The guide recommends, “regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein.”
Now, Statistic Canada data shows that Canadians are following the guidelines, and as a result, eating less meat! The data collected through a 24-hour dietary recall shows that Canadian citizens are consuming less than one Food Guide serving of red meat and prepared meat and poultry per day. An Ipsos poll from September 2017 of 1,000 plus Canadians confirms Statistic Canada’s findings. According to the Ipsos poll, 72 percent of respondents eat three or fewer servings of meat in a week.
News that Canadians are eating less meat is fantastic considering how industrial animal agriculture currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores, and drives more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. By making the simple switch to plant-based foods, we could see a tremendous impact in reducing emissions.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that if Americans switched from eating a meat-heavy diet to one that is primarily plant-based, the greenhouse gas emission reductions would be equivalent to taking over 660 million cars off the road. Additionally, another report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that if U.S. farmers took all of the land that is currently being used to raise cattle, pigs, and chickens and grew plants instead, we could feed more than TWICE as many people as we do now.
With all of the benefits that come with encouraging people to eat less meat and more plant-based foods, it is truly inspiring to see the Canadian government take such a leading role in this effort. We would be remiss if we didn’t also note that in addition to promoting reduced meat consumption in their Food Guide, the Canadian government recently invested a staggering $150 million to boost plant-based protein production. This is a major example that the U.S. could stand to follow!
Interested in learning more about how your food choices affect both your health and the environment? Check out the #EatForThePlanet book, a fact-rich book packed with powerful statistics about the impact of your diet on the planet!
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