Why We Care
‘ A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change’ – The UN
A couple of years ago I used to get really nervous about really standing up for what we believed in, I was conscious of criticism and concerned about saying anything that could attract fierce debate. As we’ve grown as a company, and I’ve grown as a person, I’ve become more and more comfortable about really taking a stance on what we believe, why plants matter, and why we want to make vegetables cool.
Across 2018 I kept an ever-expanding note on my phone titled ‘Why We Care’. I used it to note down and remember all the powerful stats and figures I read about the positive impact that plant-based eating has both on our own health and the health of our planet. I’m passionate about the fact that eating more plant-based food is not a want but a need, as we look to the ever terrifying reality of climate breakdown and the twelve years we have to stop the trajectory that we’re moving in, on top of the issues that we’re currently having with our health across society. As we started looking ahead to this year, we wanted to bring this all together, share the insights of the experts we look to, and turn my ‘Why We Care’ scribbles into something to share with you.
Our aim through #wecare is about education and inspiration. We want to share stats and facts, the recipes we love, tips and tricks to make eating plant-based food easier, and in doing this hopefully inspire everyone to get their five-a-day. As it stands, just 27% of the UK eat their five-a-day, and we’re averaging about 19g of the 30g of the fibre we should aim for a day. We want to help change that.
Below we’ve shared some of the key figures that inspire us to care…
Why We Care
1. Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet as an individual. That was the line from the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet. We subsequently learnt that agriculture is one of the three most polluting industries (alongside the fashion and fossil fuel industries) and that the meat and dairy industries produce a whopping 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. The study above then calculated the possible benefit of the world hypothetically going vegan, which showed a possible 23% reduction in the entirety of global greenhouse gas emission (not just agriculture), half of that benefit of this comes from re-growing trees on all the land that would no longer be farmed, which would take substantial amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air. It’s powerful to think we could have such an impact, especially considering the recent warning that we have just twelve years in which to keep global warming under 1.5C and prevent climate breakdown.
2. Vegan diets would require 3.1 billion hectares less land to produce our food, an area the size of the entire African continent. This was one of the facts that left the biggest impression on us following our interview with Joseph Poore, the scientist that led the analysis on the damage farming does to the planet. Especially as replanting this entire area would be half the reason why the world turning to a plant-based diet would cut global greenhouse gases by up to 23%. As our population grows and deforestation continues to have a dramatic impact on climate change, we’re inspired that it doesn’t have to be that way and that we could start to reverse some of the damage that we’ve done, which is why we’re sharing these figures with you. It’s not about all or nothing, but maybe starting meat free Mondays or choosing a few plant-based recipes a week to get started.
3. Right now, only 1 in 4 adults, and 1 in 5 children manage to get their five portions of fruit and veg a day in the UK. The advice to eat 5-a-day is set by the World Health Organisation, as evidence shows that high fruit and vegetable consumption can reduce the risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). A recent study published last year found that 10 portions of fruit and veg was actually better at reducing the risk of all of these diseases and early death. So, the question is, why not recommend 10-a-day? Well, this backs up what we know already: the more fruit and vegetables in your diet, the better! However, as only a quarter of us are managing the current targets, increasing the target to 10 portions is quite an ambitious ask. So, do what you can, aim for 5-a-day, but any more is a bonus!
4. Our planet’s wildlife has plummeted by 60% since 1970, while almost 6 billion tonnes of fish and invertebrates have been taken from the world’s oceans since 1950, according to the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018. Overexploitation, agricultural activity, overfishing and habitat destruction, driven by our runaway consumption, are still the dominant causes of current species loss. The Living Planet Index shows species population declines are especially pronounced in the tropics, with South and Central America suffering an 89% loss compared to 1970. This matters because our health, food and security depend on biodiversity; from medical treatments to food production, biodiversity is critical to society and people’s well-being. Stable planetary systems have enabled modern human society to develop. Without healthy natural systems researchers are asking whether continuing human development is possible. https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_report_2018/
5. Globally, the livestock industry contributes 18% of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions – more than all our planes, trains and cars put together. There’s something so incredibly startling about this.
Feeling inspired to try some more plant-based meals? We asked the brilliant Harley St nutritionist @rhitrition to share a little more on how to build a health veggie plate:
– Choose a protein source: beans and legumes, i.e. lentils, chickpeas, butter beans, black beans, kidney beans, tofu and tempeh etc. If you’re making a smoothie, there are some great plant-based protein powders out there.
– Choose a fat source, i.e. nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, olive oil
– Choose a carbohydrate source. For starchy root veg you can look to sweet potato, carrots, squash and potatoes. For wholegrains: brown rice, quinoa, oats etc.
– Choose up to 4 different colour veggies – the more colour the better. i.e. broccoli, spinach, peppers, kale, courgettes, cabbage etc
– Add a mix of herbs and spices
Here’s one of our favourite recipes to get you going:
Spiced butter bean and chickpea stew
For the stew
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 fresh chilli, peeled and chopped
1 packet/300g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 x400g tin of butter beans, drained
1 x400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 x400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon brown miso paste
Salt and pepper
Add the onion, garlic and chilli to a large frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, until the onion softens and starts to go translucent. At this point add the mustard seeds, paprika, ground coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the halved cherry tomatoes, stirring them through the spice mix for a few minutes before mixing in the drained chickpeas and butter beans. Next, add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and let the stew start to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
After 15 minutes, add the water, apple cider vinegar and miso paste and let it continue to stew until it reaches your preferred consistency. I normally cook it for about 15 minutes.
Tip: This is delicious served with a whole baked sweet potato, avocado, handful of fresh coriander and coconut yogurt.
We believe slow, steady changes are the way to start. There’s no one size fits all, but we’re definitely keen for all of us to fall a little bit more in love with our lentils and broccoli, to make veggies cool and hopefully have a positive impact on the world in the process. Can’t wait to share more of this plant-based adventure with you.
Love Ella, Matt, and the Deliciously Ella Team