Welcome to Day 9 of our Kick Start 2022 Plant-Based Challenge
Yesterday we got more colourful with our plates, and I hope you have a new appreciation for the rainbow of foods. How are you keeping up with the water intake? Good habits take repetition over time, so please keep building on all our previous days.
Today, you’ll learn how and why we should swap out dairy for whole foods, plant-based options.
Benefit #1: Helping a Struggling Planet
The dairy industry is a huge contributor to climate change. Livestock is responsible for even more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world’s cars, planes, trucks, ships, trains, and buses combined! Dairy is also a huge water drain. Dairy farming is also a major source of water pollution, contaminating our streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
Benefit #2: Reducing Animal Cruelty
The suffering inflicted on factory-farmed dairy cows is well documented. Many of these gentle creatures never see a blade of grass in their entire lives, and have their baby calves ripped away at birth. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated and given hormones to keep them producing lots of milk, which also end up in that milk — and, in turn, in our bodies!
Benefit #3: Preventing Future Pandemics
The World Health Organization has declared antibiotic-resistant bacteria to be one of the greatest global threats to health, security, and development. Worldwide, antibiotic resistance is estimated to cause more than 700,000 deaths per year — and it could give rise to a future global pandemic. Factory farms, including dairy farms, use antibiotics routinely in order to induce weight gain in animals and to keep them alive under deplorable conditions. Most of the world’s antibiotics are given to livestock, not humans. And, modern meat and dairy production has become a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Saying “no” to dairy (especially factory-farmed dairy) can help put a stop to all that.
Benefit #4: Good Health
Humans are the only species to drink another animal’s milk, and the only species to drink any milk into adulthood. Milk is nature’s most perfect food — for a baby calf that has four stomachs and will double its birth weight in 56 days. But for humans? Well, dairy contributes to inflammation, and is linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. What’s more, most people can’t digest lactose (milk sugar) in adulthood. It causes some level of symptoms like indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps for more than 65% of the human race.
But what about calcium?
Don’t you need milk for strong bones?
Dairy milk is high in calcium, and the dairy industry tells us that we need it for strong bones. In reality, though, dairy may have a detrimental effect on bone health and may even contribute to osteoporosis. In fact, many of the countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis! The truth is, you can get an abundance of calcium from plants. Some great plant-based sources of calcium are seeds, beans, lentils, nuts, leafy greens, soy, and oranges.
TODAY’S ACTION: Make or buy a plant-based dairy alternative.
If you’re sad at the thought of giving up tasty dairy products in your life, I have good news: It’s easy to find convincing non-dairy versions of almost everything now: cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and even kefir!
The easiest place to make the switch is with milk. You can find milk made from soybeans, almonds, oats, coconut, hemp, and more.
Today’s Recipe: Vegan Walnut Parmesan
This walnut parmesan cheese is made with walnuts and sunflower seeds, both of which are packed with healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium, as well as plant-based protein. Nutritional yeast gives it a “cheesy” flavour the nuts and seeds give it the moist parmesan texture. Sprinkle it on soups, salads, veggies, pasta, and grain bowls.
¾ cup walnuts (raw, unsalted, chopped)
¼ cup sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast or mustard powder
¼ tsp salt (optional)
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until the walnuts and sunflower seeds are mealy. Important: Don’t over blend or you’ll end up with parmesan butter!
Taste for additional flavours of your choice (more onion, garlic, or nutritional yeast).
Top on veggies, grain bowls, and pasta.
Instead of walnuts, try almonds or cashews.
Use all walnuts in place of the sunflower seeds.
Use onion granules and/or garlic granules in place of onion and garlic powder, but know that you might need to use a little more of the granules to reach the same flavour.
Replace the walnuts with more sunflower seeds.
Recipe from the Food Revolution Network