Yes – you can be vegan & go zero waste.
Hi everyone & happy Sunday, I hope you are all having a fab weekend so far. As part of me & Stephi’s Zero Waste December Challenge, this week I wanted to share with you the positive effects that just one vegan meal a week can have on the environment & also share how I try & combine my vegan food/cooking with zero waste.
People choose to live a vegan lifestyle for a number of reasons, some of which include the unethical treatment of animals, the heath benefits, speciesism, a general dislike of the thought of eating animal products & one of the biggest reasons is the impact that animal agriculture has on the planet/environment.
Here is something you might not know –
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction- Cowspiracy – this has been scientifically proven by a number of credible sources – read more here
Yep & here are some more facts for you –
& if you don’t know much about the environmental issues we are facing just now, it’s bad. The planet is getting hotter, the air is becoming more & polluted, we are running out of water, our deforestation rate globally is insane & we are losing more & more animal species every year.
Here is a quick breakdown of how animal agriculture is giving us problems from PETA.
- Water and land are used to grow crops to feed animals.
- Those crops and water are used to bulk up animals for slaughter.
- The animals emit noxious levels of CO2, methane gas, and excrement that pollute our air and waterways.
- Animals are transported in semi-trucks and processed in large factory-style slaughterhouses, and their body parts are packaged and shipped across the country
Scientists report that every pound of methane is more than 84 times as effective as carbon dioxide is at trapping heat in our atmosphere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that animal agriculture is the single largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.
So what can you do? Go vegan! 😉
But I understand that it’s not something that everyone can jump into straight away, for me the transition period lasted a long time & I am not here to tell anyone how to live there life. I have been vegetarian since the age of 17 and veganism came after that.
But what I do want to do is encourage & inspire people to try to eat one vegan meal or have one vegan day a week, as every little counts towards helping solve our plant problems. You’ve most likely hear of #meatlessmondays which I believe is the same idea.
Did you know that by going Vegan for 1 year you save:
- 401,500 gallons of water
- 10,950 sq. feet of forest
- 365 animal lives
- 14,600 pounds of grain
- 7,300 pounds of Co2
Yes really! & having one vegan meal/day a week can also have a pretty big impact too. Visit the Vegan Calculator to see how much you could save – it’s pretty inspiring!
So what about Zero Waste & Veganism?
To be honest with you, I think they go together pretty well. The good thing about having a plant-based diet is that it’s much easier for you to re-heat/freeze & defrost foods without the fear of poisoning/killing yourself. A re-heated veggie meal tastes much, much nicer than meaty left overs. My boyfriend works away, so a lot of the time I am cooking for one, so yes, I do know how tough that can be when trying to reduce waste! A lot of my recipes on the blog are re-heatable & can be frozen, some even last up to 5 days in the fridge, that’s your lunch or dinner for the week sorted!
Here are some tips that I’ve use to try to live zero waste:
- Only buy what you need. Stay away from pre-packed stuff, if you need carrots hand-pick the amount you need instead of buying a huge bag for convenience, as you probably don’t need as many the bag provides & may end up wasting.
- Meal prep! I do this most weeks – for example, on Saturday evening I will make a huge Vegan Lentil Cottage Pie and take portions of it into work for my lunch. Home made food just tastes so much better too. & if you have any left over – freeze it!
- Take a shopping list. I never go to do my food shop with out a list, if I don’t have a list I end up wandering the isles aimlessly and chucking stuff into my basket for the sake of it. Then I come home and look at what I’ve bought and realize there is no way I can cook for the week with any of this stuff lol
- Look at expiry dates & the freshness of your food when shopping – the fresher the food, the longer it will last & the longer it will last the less chance you have of chucking it out.
- Make soup! Got a heap of veggies in your fridge & some stock? Boil it, blend it & eat it. Veggie soup is always a winner & always tastes great even if it has been frozen & defrosted.
- Go easy on the portions. My eyes are usually bigger than my belly & if you pile your plate up & can’t eat it all, the chances are it will go to waste. Start with a smaller portion & store/freeze the rest.
- Store your food correctly. If your fridge is at the wrong temperature or your containers aren’t closed properly you might have to chuck your food out.
- Use everything! If your cooking a dish and have a small amount of ingredients left over, just chuck them in!
& my last tip/idea relating to food waste that I want to encourage is practice gratitude. It may seem a little deep, but there are millions of people dying of starvation worldwide who would really appreciate the food that you chuck out because you don’t fancy eating or because it’s gone off. When you buy, cook & eat your food, practice gratitude by thinking about the people who have worked to produce & make your food available to you. When I think about people less fortunate than me, I find it difficult to waste stuff.
Now for the girls – check out Stephi’s latest Zero Waste post over on desertanddates.com about reducing waste during that time of the month. It is really educational & inspiring – something I hadn’t thought about before – definitely worth a read! Jess xxx
PS – Don’t forget to add me on snapchat – foxesandfood.