Nourish rather than destroy

Your microbiome is your personal ecosystem of microbes that live in and on your body. Microbes are small organisms, e.g. bacteria and viruses, more commonly known as ‘germs’ or ‘bugs’. These microbes out-number our cells 10 to 1, and while most of us think of microbes as being bad, the vast majority of microbes within and around us are friendly or benign. Many of the microbes that share our body with us are vital to the function of body systems, and we could not survive without them. While most of them live in our gut, they inhabit every surface of our body that comes into contact with the outside world, such as our skin, throat, nose, lungs, bladder, vagina and so on.

A healthy balance of microbes in your body is very important to the healthy functioning of your immune system. Imbalances in our micro biome can contribute to many modern diseases involving inflammation and immune dysfunction such as allergies and automimmune disease. In a way, you could think of your microbiome as being part of your immune system, because it helps keep bad bugs under control. I think of these microbes as being a support team for our white blood cells. Continue reading

Water

I think for me, growing up in the aridity of Central Australia and living at times in remote areas where water had to be purchased and delivered regularly, I have never taken water for granted. I’ve always found it hard to understand why someone might leave the tap running when they brush their teeth, have a long shower, water in the middle of the day or splash water around freely as though it will never run out. I grew up in a house where people people didn’t even flush the toilet unless it was absolutely necessary! But I know many people didn’t have the benefit of such an amazing childhood, and they might not give the issue of water much thought at all.

Almost one-fifth of the world’s population live in areas of water scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation. Water scarcity already affects every continent. Another 1.6 billion people are facing economic water shortage i.e. they live in places lacking the infrastructure needed to take water from rivers and aquifers. There is currently enough freshwater on Earth for 7 billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed. Continue reading

Vegan for the planet

Being vegan brings me a lot of joy because it’s such a powerful way to reduce my negative impact on the environment around me. The impact of animal agriculture on the environment is staggering. Nature has always been my first love, from a young age. If I’d had ready access to information about the environmental benefits of a vegan diet, I would have made the transition long before I did. I gave up dairy in my early 20’s due to health reasons, then I gradually removed all meat except fish because the idea of animals living in captivity distressed me. It was only when I realised the impact fishing was having on the environment as a whole that I gave up eating fish. Continue reading

Vegan for the Environment

Being vegan brings me a lot of joy because it’s such a powerful way to reduce my negative impact on the environment around me. The impact of animal agriculture on the environment is staggering. Nature has always been my first love, from a young age. If I’d had ready access to information about the environmental benefits of a vegan diet, I would have made the transition long before I did. I gave up dairy in my early 20’s due to health reasons, then I gradually removed all meat except fish because the idea of animals living in captivity distressed me. It was only when I realised the impact fishing was having on the environment as a whole that I gave up eating fish.

Since becoming vegan I have learned more about the realities of farming and every day i learn something new about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. My favourite documentary is COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret which I helped crowd fund and later screened for my local community in 2014. This movie is a real eye-opener. While some of this information had started filtering past my research radar, Cowspiracy pulled it all together and filled in the gaps. I still have ‘wow’ moments when I watch it.

Here are some facts and figures gathered from the links posted below, and a pretty cool infographic:

*A vegan diet creates 7x less greenhouse emissions than a meat-eating diet.

*1 calorie of plant food requires 11x less fossils fuels to produce than 1 calorie of animal protein.

*While switching from a regular car to a hybrid would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 900kg per year, going vegan reduces emissions by 1350kg per year.

*In comparison to a meat-based diet, which requires 15,000 litres of water per day, a vegan diet only requires 1000 litres of water.

*The equivalent of 7 football fields of land are cleared every minute to create more room for farmed animals.

*By stopping eating fish – be it farmed or wild-caught – we can reverse the destruction of ocean environments.
http://livinggreenmag.com/2013/02/13/energy-ecology/veganism-the-environment-by-the-numbers-infographic/

http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/environment/oceans.aspx

Veganism by the numbers.

Infographic by CulinarySchools.org