Did you know, based on theworldcounts.com people consume about 124 kg/person of meat in a year in the USA? It is the same amount with 800,000 cows killed everyday. But fortunately, Indonesia has a low level of meat consumption with an average of 11.27 kg/person in a year based on wikipedia.com. Our country is more accustomed to consuming protein from plant-based foods such as beans compared to meat like in the USA.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, public awareness of the importance of healthy living has increased. One of the lifestyle trends that is currently increasing is the consumption of vegetables (cooked or raw), fruits, beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, seeds, and nuts for every meal, or popularly known as plant-based foods. Plant-based Food is a diet that is applied to increase the amount of consumption of vegetable protein sources, while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal-based foods (including dairy products and eggs). Slightly different from the vegan diet, people who apply a plant-based diet don’t cut off animal-based consumption entirely, they just eat less of those. Besides being good for health, plant-based food is also more environmentally friendly. Plant-based foods don’t require as much water and don’t produce as many carbon emissions as animal-based foods.
The explosion of the global population results in increased demand for foods of animal origin. Environmental data are rapidly accumulating on the unsustainability of current worldwide food consumption practices that are high in meat and dairy products. At the current trends of food consumption and environmental changes, food security and food sustainability are on a collision course. Changing course (to avoid the collision) will require extreme downward shifts in meat and dairy consumption by large segments of the world’s population.
This is why “Going back” to plant-based diets worldwide seems to be a reasonable alternative for a sustainable future (Sabate and Soret 2014). Several reasons also influence people nowadays start eating plant-based food, such as:
Have a feeling of pity for animals
Give an impact to the environment
Plant-based is far more sustainable because it uses significantly fewer natural resources and puts far less pressure on the environment. You can try to count your carbon emission in daily life on this website https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/footprintcalc
Substantial evidence indicates that plant-based diets including whole grains as the main form of carbohydrate, unsaturated fats as the predominant form of dietary fat, an abundance of fruit and vegetables, and adequate n−3 fatty acids can play an important role in preventing CVD (Hu 2003).
Vegetable-based dishes are generally faster and easier to cook compared to meat.
If we hear the word “plant-based food” the first thing that pops into our head is fruits and vegetables. So, it’s natural if we ask “how could we gain protein if we start eating plant-based foods?”. All of us must know that animal-based foods are a source of protein. But are they the only source of protein? Of course not! To remind you, plant-based foods do not only consist of fruits and vegetables, but also seeds, grains and mushrooms. Seeds and mushrooms themselves are a great source of protein, with some of them having complete amino acids which makes them perfect to be a meat substitute. Seeds that have complete amino acids are soy and quinoa. Lucky for us, Indonesians, we have a soy-based food called tempeh which is really easy to find. Other than that, there are a lot of yummy plant-based dishes in Indonesia. There are gado – gado, pecel, gudeg nangka, and many more! Each of them usually contains soy-based proteins such as tempeh or tahu, and plenty of vegetables, which makes them a perfect meal for a plant-based diet. So, are you interested in starting to eat plant-based food?
Simon S. 2021. What’s driving the plant-based boom? Newfoodmagazine.com. Retrieved September 7, 2021, from https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/article/139141/plant-based-boom/
Hu, F. B. (2003). Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(3), 544S-551S.
Sabate, J., & Soret, S. (2014). Sustainability of plant-based diets: back to the future. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 100(suppl_1), 476S-482S.
Tuso PJ, Ismail MH, Benjamin PH, Bartolotto C. 2013. Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. The Permanente Journal. 17(2): 61-66..