With increasing concern for the world and plight of farmed animals, is the future vegan or not?
Buckle up, because in this article, I tackle the question from a few different angles.
Disclaimer: This article is not providing personal medical or dietary advice. Talk to your own doctor before making major dietary changes. See our Disclaimers for more details.
Reasons Why The Future is Vegan
Plants are More Eco Friendly
Human activity influences climate change which has bad consequences for the survival of many species (including our own)!
But there is something we can do about it! Hint: it has to do with some things we consume around 3 times a day!
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2022 Mitigation of Climate Change report suggests eating patterns that include less meat and dairy, and instead, emphasize plant protein are associated with reduced green house gas emissions (1).
And local, grass fed animal products are hardly the answer. Many experts agree that transportation of food only makes up a tiny amount of an impact in comparison to what you actually eat(2).
Are there some exceptions? Yes! some vegan foods may require more resources than others, but generally speaking, they tend to be better for the environment.
If you are able to buy local, in season produce, or start your own garden, than that’s just icing on the plant powered cake!
Still, if you don’t have the resources, time, or space, focusing on vegan meals of foods more often does have environmental benefits. And the public seems to be recognizing that more and more with each year!
P.S. I chatted with fellow dietitian Stephanie Wells about her thoughts on the sustainability piece. If you want to have listen, check out the podcast player below on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts.
Nutrition and Food Experts Are Getting On Board
More and more experts are recognizing that we must keep our planet healthy in order to be healthy individuals. What is health without the world after all?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) National Nutrition Month 2023 slogan was “fuel for the future.” Their first weekly message centered on sustainable eating. One pointer given was to take advantage of more plant based meals/snacks (3).
AND also has a position paper on vegetarian diets (these include vegan diets), that suggests vegetarian diets are appropriate for any life stage (4).
As more health professionals recognize the importance of a vegan diet both for the health and environmental benefits, the vegan diet is much more likely to grow in the future.
Animal Industry Demand is Declining
Several news headlines suggest that animal industries like fish stocks are declining, and milk consumption is down (5, 6).
There may be several reasons for this, include environmental decline and more awareness of the suffering animals endure in the animal industry.
Oh and perhaps dairy might be down because plant based milks taste better? (that’s 100% my opinion 😉)
Despite some declines, animal products are still very popular, and our demand has lead to factory farms that have unintended consequences, such as being vectors for disease that can spread to people. Examples include the avian flu and mad cows disease.
As this awareness becomes more mainstream, a vegan future becomes more and more attractive.
Reasons Why Universal Veganism Has a Long Way to Go
There are many barriers to vegan being the future including:
- Money: In the U.S., animal products are subsidized. So the price of milk is sometimes cheaper than the vegan options. It’s not enough to just make sales every now and then on vegan food! We need systematic change– so it’s more affordable and accessible for everyone. For some countries that’s just not feasible at the moment.
- Changing Belief Systems is Hard: Many of us have been taught that animals are food, or to be used as the fabric on shirts, or make thoughtful leather gifts. Most of us don’t think twice about where our products come from when we shop. Until we embrace that animals wish for freedom much like we do, it will be hard to change our actions.
- Extensive Planning Needs to be Done: We can’t just leave animal farmers without jobs right? If we are going to switch to a vegan world, it will need to be done gradually and with careful planning. For example, incentivizing animal farmers to switch to plant crops, giving butchers the same pay for a totally new job, etc.
Many factors point to the future being vegan or nearly vegan.
As more people recognize the environmental, health, and animal welfare benefits, the outlook looks brighter.
Barriers to a vegan world include funding, changing a belief system, and the work that must be done to achieve it.
It’s not impossible, but will take time. And people can make a stance one plant based meal at a time.
We hope you found this article helpful!
If you want to keep learning about all things vegan, definitely check out these articles from the Vegan Nutrition Library:
How to Transition to Veganism in 5 Steps
What You Might Experience in the Transition
Plant Based Diet Book Suggestions from Registered Dietitians
Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail subscribers list if you want to be notified of new articles and stay inspired on your plant powered journey! ✌❤