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OPINION: A Plant Based Plan

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

by CLARE FLANAGAN - Why I’ve decided to cut out animal products from my diet.

Living a vegan lifestyle is often associated with being “too sensitive” or a “tree-hugger.” While a desire to prevent animal cruelty is a common reason for transferring to a plant-based diet, what if I told you that wasn’t my primary concern at all? According to an article by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the livestock industry accounts for nine percent of all CO2 emissions deriving from human-related activities. Nine percent is pretty high if you ask me. High enough for me to take a step back and evaluate if I feel? Present tense? morally sound in contributing to that pollution. And though I can’t make a real dent in the gas dumped into the atmosphere on my own, I can do my best to minimize my personal carbon footprint on our planet. And that’s what I’ve decided to do!

Many people make transitioning to a plant-based diet seem like an impossible task, and while it’s not as easy as pie, it’s certainly no mountain to climb either. There are so many delicious food options that don’t require any animal products, and most of them aren’t difficult to make from scratch! Rice, noodles, beans, sweet potatoes, smoothies, cookies and tofu are some of my favorite foods, just to name a few. A hot tip: whether or not you’re interested in cutting out animal products, vegan “chicken nuggets” almost always taste better than the regular ones, and you can find them in the freezer section of your local grocery store. You’ll thank me later, I promise.

Unfortunately, some vegans feel the need to shame people who don’t follow the same regimen as they do, or they’ll shove it in whomever’s face they can. And though I enjoy eating this way, I also understand that it’s not for everyone. For financial, health related, situational reasons, or even just plain disinterest, no one should feel obligated to do something they don’t want to or can’t do. If someone is interested in removing animal products from their diet, but they don’t know where to start: research! Ask questions! Read! With knowledge at our fingertips , it's really easy to find almost any information one is looking for. Even research ways to reduce carbon footprint without going vegan. Everyone should consider their own impact on the environment and what they can do to help. For me, part of that is my little plant based plan. What will you do to help?

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