Today, I could write about the various ways in which each one of us can help to save our climate: Second-hand clothing, furniture, electronic equipment or toys, less air travel, energy-saving heating, less driving, or fewer animal products on our plate. The list is never-ending and virtually nobody manages to get full points in all the above when it comes to our climate. And yet why should we? I fully believe that if each one of us succeeded in contributing just a little in one of those areas, together we could achieve a whole lot. It’s up to us to determine just how much.

A plant-based diet? Controversy is inevitable!

I’m a major fan of buying second hand, taking the train or cycling, and food recovery. And veganism. Or to put it more favorably: plant-based foods and goods. I have a plant-based diet. Let’s refer to it in this way because the word ‘vegan’ unnecessarily causes a stir. And when buying clothing or other items such as glue, cosmetics, shampoo, or bicycle saddles, I check to see if they contain any animal products. Let’s take the example of a vegan restaurant in Cologne. It removed the word ‘vegan’ from its sign but continues to provide plant-based cuisine. But it now has more customers than ever before. You get where I’m going with this…

“I could never give up cheese”.
“That’s too difficult and way too expensive.”
“I don’t have any time for that.”
“Where do you get your protein from then?”

As I’ve been at this for quite a while now, I’m aware of the potential for debate. I’d be happy to answer your questions in the comments, if you’re interested in finding out more. Don’t be shy, I look forward to some lively debate!

It takes two months to change a habit

You don’t need to have a fully plant-based diet right from the start – a meat-free week here and there, or substituting steak for seitan is a step in the right direction. I tend to compare this transformation to getting your driver’s license. When you start driving lessons, you can’t imagine how you will ever make a smooth left turn. Everything needs to be done at once: changing gears, indicating, looking over your shoulder, waiting until it’s free, and finally turning. Nowadays, I can turn left while chatting, passing a bottle of water to the passenger and also take a look at the sat nav. It’s not advisable to do all those things at the same time, but you get where I’m going with this… It’s tricky for the first few months and then it becomes a habit. It takes around two months on average to change. Not only your diet, but any habit. And seeing as it’s still early in the year, you’ve probably come up with a few health and fitness new year’s resolutions, am I right?

Tackling climate change through your diet – some facts

We are all free to choose why we opt for a plant-based diet. I do it not only for moral and health reasons, but also for the climate, which is our topic of choice here today. “You’re responsible for the rain forest being cut down to produce your tofu and soya milk” is the counterargument. Did you know that almost 80 percent of the world’s soy crop is fed to livestock? No. Neither did I until a few years ago. I don’t know if cows or pigs fart more than us humans, but it is an environmental issue that is growing in awareness and has a bearing on omnivorous diets: greenhouse gas emissions from digestive processes.

%

of the world’s soy crop is fed to livestock

What we eat for breakfast can also influence our own climate footprint. Did you know that rice, almond, oat or even soya milk reduces our impact on the climate compared to cow’s milk? All of these choices are more climate-friendly than cow’s milk. Not only in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but also factoring in land use and water consumption. It’s just a cold drink in the morning but it can make quite a difference!

Nobody’s perfect

If you live in a large city, then it’s relatively easy these days to give up animal products, even outside of your own kitchen. Or even at the Oscars ceremony, where an entirely plant-based feast will be served up. The move comes after the Golden Globes offered an all-vegan menu. Celebs such as Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ariana Grande or Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch welcome the news – they all eat an entirely plant-based diet. And I’m not the only person in our canteen who eats plant-based fare every day. But even when cooking at home, it’s easy to substitute meat or dairy products for plant alternatives. Give it a try once a week. Google or Ecosia are your friends when you need inspiration for your plant-based diet. You don’t need to be perfect. Who is after all? Except maybe Star Trek’s Commander Data. Although… even he wasn’t all that perfect and had to be serviced from time to time 🙂

Author

Anna Linn Zafiris

Anna Linn Zafiris

Head of Social Media

When she’s not posting pictures of vegan food or street art on Instagram, she can usually be found on one of her bicycles, at flea markets, strolling around Cologne or at the yoga studio. If you can’t find her there either, she is travelling and exploring temples or volcanoes in faraway countries.

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