The Racing Extinction Challenge: Diet

posted: 11/17/15
by: Danny Clemens
Methane cow
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Cows emit methane, a greenhouse gas 22 times more potent than CO2, as collected in this blue bag at a research facility in Argentina.
Heather Rally/OPS

Believe it or not, the way that you eat can have a major impact on the planet. Regardless of your ethical thoughts surrounding meat consumption, a growing body of research shows that wide-scale meat production has a detrimental impact on the environment.

Livestock farming is responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe -- more than every single car, train, and plane on the planet combined. What's more, the gasses emitted during livestock farming (nitrous oxide and methane) have a significantly higher Global Warming Potential than carbon dioxide.

If every American skipped meat for a single day, the emissions savings would be equivalent to taking almost 8 million cars off of the road.

I assure you, forgoing meat for a single day is actually pretty easy. I've been a vegetarian for almost three years now, but I originally went meatless as part of a five-day challenge that I did with a group of my friends -- by the end, I liked how I felt so much that I never went back!

Throughout my vegetarian journey, Meatless Monday has been a great source of support; the site is chock-full of delicious vegetarian recipes that are both quick and simple. Quinoa zucchini burgers, pasta alfredo with walnut parmesan and spinach & artichoke lasagne are some of my favorites.

The myth that vegetarians can't get as much protein as meat-eaters is an absolute falsehood. I trained for my first half marathon on a completely vegetarian diet, and the results were fantastic! In the absence of animal proteins, I have developed a newfound love for rice and beans, nuts and my personal favorite, chickpeas. I could eat nothing but falafel for the rest of my life and die happy.

Still not convinced that you can take the plunge? New research released last month by the World Health Organization revealed some of the frightening downsides to processed meat consumption, including a strong link between meat consumption and cancer.

Of course, not all meat is processed red meat. Life's answers are often found in the middle of the road, and at the end of the day, it's important to make food choices that benefit both the environment and your body.

Making the commitment to cut down your meat intake and be more mindful about the origin of your food will can have far-reaching impacts. Whether you choose to go meatless for a single day or for the rest of your life, rethinking your diet is a quick and simple way to take a stand for the planet and combat species extinction.

Want to join me? Don't forget to sign up for the challenge at RacingExtinction.com. Check back with me tomorrow here on discovery.com, and I'll let you know how I'm doing.

I want to hear how it's going for you! Tweet @Discovery with the hashtag #StartWith1Thing and let us know how you're making making a difference.

We need to take a stand for our planet before it's too late.
Click here to find out how you can #StartWith1Thing and make a difference.

Racing Extinction horizontal key art


On Wednesday, December 2nd, Discovery will present a global broadcast of Racing Extinction, a powerful eco-thriller that exposes issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Visit RacingExtinction.com for more information.


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