The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Five authors and documentary-makers explain the eye-opening benefits of a plant-based diet, and why the future of our planet may very well depend on it.
by Uptime Staff / 2021-08-11

Vegetarian, plant-based, flexitarian, vegan, pollotarian, pescatarian, meatless – the list of today’s diet terminology feels endless! However you want to refer to them, plant-based diets have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years.

And not for a bad reason, either: plant-based diets are proven to help maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol, and prevent diabetes and other diseases. They also have incredible effects on the health of our planet; eating more veggies reduces the meat and dairy industry’s greenhouse emissions, as well as boosting the Earth’s biodiversity, and even saving precious cropland. 

But whether your kryptonite assumes its form in a juicy steak or ice cream sundae, finding ways to make sure your new plant-based diet is simultaneously satisfying, sustainable, and rich in nutrients can feel like a challenge. 

The good news is that vegetarian and vegan lifestyles have massively increased in popularity over the last few years. Many restaurants and cafes now offer vegetarian-friendly options, and many grocery stores offer “meat-free” alternatives. Selections of vegetarian cookbooks now run rife in bookstores, allowing many new customers to try out tasty, affordable recipes.

Of course, your diet is your choice, and deciding how you eat is up to you. But we've compiled insights from 5 of the most popular pro-vegetarian books and documentaries for anyone whose curiosity has been piqued.

Cowspiracy - Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn

On Uptime
In Cowspiracy, we join intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he reveals the driving forces behind the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are keeping quiet about it. 

We trust the environmental organizations speaking up about global warming to understand and solve these urgent problems, so we seldom question what they feed us. 

It’s easy to forget these organizations also have self-interests - and that sometimes, these interests aren’t aligned with the long-term future of our planet. Kip Andersen uses his film to cut through the eco-noise. 

quotation marksEnvironmental organizations are not telling us the truth about what the world needs from us as a species.

- Will Anderson, Greenpeace Alaska Founder, Former Board of Directors Greenpeace USA

Our 3 key insights from this documentary unpack: 

  • Why animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental destruction 
  • How major environmental organizations are complicit 
  • Why there is no such thing as sustainable meat farming 

Farmageddon - Philip Lybery

On Uptime

Farmageddon is a compendium of facts and figures about how the mass production of cheap meat influences our world, and what we can change to return to a sustainable agricultural system. 

The book studied how far the impact of cheap meat really goes, from fish to air, from famine to bacteria, and from cramming to cloning – and what we can do to stop this cycle before it’s too late. 

Lybery's 3 key lessons explore the following ideas: 

  • As the demand for meat grows, factory farming expands 
  • Going back to traditional farming can limit the damage on the planet
  • How you can vote with your dollar – but why you should use your voice as well 

The China Study - T. Colin Campbell

On Uptime

The China Study examines the effect of our animal protein intake on our risk of developing cancer, suggesting that the surest way we can improve our health is by focusing on a plant-based diet. 

quotation marksIt’s never too late to start eating well… In short: change the way you eat, and you can transform health for the better.

This book takes the common ethics or morality argument for a plant-based diet and further backs it up with scientific truth. Vegans and vegetarians rejoice!

The book's key insights explore:

  • Why your health is a matter of what food you put in your body, not what medicine you try to treat it with
  • Why we don't need as much protein as we think we do
  • Why cancer is more often caused by animal proteins than plant-based ones

Comfortably Unaware - Richard Oppenlander

On Uptime

Comfortably Unaware is a well-researched compendium on how our food choices and animal agriculture impact the environment and contribute to world hunger, the destruction of rainforests, and climate change. 

quotation marksOur current good choices detrimentally affect climate change and global warming more so than do all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains used worldwide.

His key insights include:

  • How the rearing of livestock directly correlates to deforestation
  • Why reducing global meat consumption could solve world hunger
  • Why animal agriculture is responsible for dangerous pollution levels

The creators of these books and documentaries present a compelling argument for incorporating more greens (and less red meat) into our diet.

Intrigued to find out more? To explore these ideas in more detail, you can check out these Knowledge Hacks on Uptime.

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