Monday, April 21, 2014

Eart Day: #TeamPlantProtein


Things are getting busy in the office as we gear up for Earth Day tomorrow (April 22nd), and our week long celebration of Earth Week! All last week we have been tabling in the dining hall asking students to make commitments to engage in a behavior that will lessen their own impact on the earth in honor of Earth Day! And there were some really great ideas! People committed to many great sustainable steps such as making ethical decisions, supporting public transportation, using less plastic water bottles, recycling/composting and many more! Many of you told us that you already participate in many of these activities, which was awesome to hear! Keep up the great work everyone!



In honor of both Meatless Monday and Earth Week, will will be highlighting all of the meatless options in the dining hall today. Be sure to be on the lookout for one of our signs and logo next to the vegetarian offerings to verify that is meat-free!

All last week, as we were doing the photo contest, I have been wracking my brain trying to think of  a sustainable behavior that I should adapt. As someone who regularly tries to incorporate sustainable behaviors into my lifestyle, I wanted to really think about what I could do to really improve, by looking at what I'm currently doing, but also turning a critical eye to what I can do better, and striving to really improve. I really wanted to make sure that my goal would be both realistic and measurable. I didn't want to make a lofty goal that I wouldn't be able to keep. It also had to be something that I could measure, so I would be able to track my progress. After some careful consideration, I decided upon two iCommit goals. One would be more long term, while the other would be short term. The goal I would make long-term would be to buy less, and reuse more. I like this commitment because it has two parts, it will prevent me from acquiring things that I don't really need, while encouraging me to be more resourceful and creative with the things that I already do have. 


The second, more short term goal, is something that I want to go specifically for Earth Day. I was inspired by one of the students we talked to while tabling. In honor of Earth Day, she decided for the entire month that she would become vegetarian. As someone who is both a self-proclaimed carnivore, and environmentalist, challenging myself to eat less meat is something I always try to push myself to do. Two years ago, I made the decision to cut meat out of my diet 5 out of the 7 days of the week, only allowing myself to indulge twice a week. But, I'm always trying to challenge myself in new ways to try to reduce my environmental impact via the way I chose to eat. (As a foodie, focusing on food as my source of agency works the best for me). So, I decided that in honor of Earth Week I will adapt a vegan diet. I've noticed over the years as I've adjusted my diet, that cutting meat out has become easier and easier the more I planned ahead, and incorporated the change a part of my lifestyle. And even though I have been successfully able to reduce my meat intake, one area that I consistently struggle to reduce my consumption in, is other animals products. I'll be the first to admit it, cheese is my downfall. And after discussing the environmental impacts of animals products in the last blog, it seemed counter-intuitive to me to just reduce my meat consumption, without also considering eating other animal products in moderation as well. So, by going vegan for Earth Week, I'm hoping to not only challenge myself, but also find a way to slowly start to indulge less in animal products, the same way I have done with meat.  

 But, how does this relate to Meatless Monday, aside from my own personal dietary commitments. Let me tell you. As a prepare to do embark on my week-long vegan journey, I have been doing my research and planning meals ahead for the week. I have also been talking to other people their perception of vegan diets, and there is one misconception I want to clear up. As I explained to people why decision to go vegan for the week, many people were fearful that by excluding meat and other animal products from my diet that I would not be getting enough protein. Yes, I agree that protein is an essential nutrient needed for the growth and repair of cells in the body. But..it's not limited to just animal products! There are so many plant based sources of protein available, and they are all versatile as they are delicious! I've heard this misconception be told so many times, and it needs to be stopped! I think we should develop a movement around promoting the power of plant protein! I hereby declare all of those in support of plant protein, use the hashtag, #TeamPlantProtein. Who knows, maybe we can start a revolution.

Even though we are no longer tabling, if you would still like to commit to something sustainable, tell us on twitter using the hashtag #icommit and #sendurmessage. 

Happy Earth Day!
Your Plant Protein Advocate, 
Kat
 
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