Time to veg out!

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month! So here’s a tip to raise your awareness of the energy implications of being vegetarian.

Studies have shown that a plant-based diet uses fewer energy, land and water resources than a primarily meat-based diet.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2009 the food industry accounted for five percent of the total energy consumed in manufacturing in Canada.

Individuals could help make food production more energy efficient by changing their diets. Try following a vegetarian diet for a week for starters. That week alone will likely not have a significant effect on your energy consumption, so think of it as a pilot project. If you can handle a week of eating vegetarian — or even vegan — you might then consider making it a habit and following a vegetarian or vegan diet for a week every month.

If you don’t want to give up meat entirely, even for a limited period of time, you might also consider shifting your diet so that it’s primarily plant-based rather than meat-based. A 2006 study showed that the average American could save more than 1400 kg of greenhouse gas emissions by switching from a meat-based diet to one that derives the same number of calories from plant sources.

If you’re worried about giving up meat around turkey time, check out this video from the Vancouver Sun and this mouth-watering New York Times spread for vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving options.

Bon appetit!