In this article, we’ll share information with you about why we came to believe that plant-based food is the best way you can eat for your own health, the planet and your fellow beings upon it.
We’ve collected lots of information on this topic over the past 4-5 years and love every opportunity we have to share it. Think of it as us passing you our college research notes to learn from. What you decide to do with the information is your call. We aren’t here to preach.
How it started...
Since the first day of opening our doors (as a VERY small cafe) our values have remained the same:
- Be kind to everyone and everything around you
- Inspire others to be the best version of themselves
- Passionately challenge barriers
- Remain agile and evolve as required
As you might know, we didn’t start out serving plant-based food. In fact, we were well-known for our ‘epic’ pulled pork nachos. But a few things happened which opened our eyes to the truths of the meat and dairy industries that once we learned them, we had a choice to make… either stop serving animal products or change our values.
We didn’t like the idea of crossing out every single value and starting over, so we made the shift. It wasn’t fast or easy or without a lot of ‘bumps’ along the way however, our moral compass wasn’t going to allow anything else, so we persevered.
It began with health concerns but soon evolved to include a sense of responsibility to tackle staggering environmental issues and an empathy regarding how our food might impact other beings; both human and animal.
Today, we can’t imagine ever wanting to eat any other way. We can’t imagine thinking plant-based food is boring, or sub-par, or any of the other naïve labels we gave it. We eat insanely delicious food. Far more delicious than ever before.
And what’s more, we know that every plant-based meal that makes our taste buds sing and our bellies dance is also having a sizable positive impact. On our health, on the planet and on the other beings who we share it with. So, as far as we’re concerned, the more plant-based meals consumed, the better.
And if we can help make those meals easy AND delicious for you then we’re happy.
We don’t know about you but we LOVE living. And we’d like to do it, in good health, for as long as possible.
To this end, here are the key things that made us think twice about putting animal products in our bodies:
The effects of cholesterol (The China Study)
In the early stages of our research surrounding the benefits of a vegan diet, we encountered the The China Study - one of the most popular books on nutrition in the USA. Based on a 20-year study which analysed the diet of thousands in China, the researchers involved discovered correlations between a diet based on animal produce and contracting “Western diseases”, through over-consumption of animal components like cholesterol. In fact, the authors wrote that “eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy”.
Research shows that a number of different components associated with a meat-based diet are proven to be potentially detrimental to one’s health. This includes casein, the main protein found in cow's milk, which was shown to have a potential link to causing cancer. In fact, the health risks associated with consuming too much processed meat has caused the WHO to declare bacon and sausages as carenagenic.
Yucky things in meat
Processed or not, numerous studies have shown meat to contain ingredients that we otherwise wouldn’t consider putting in our bodies...
Research from WHO (World Health Organisation) suggests that processed meats can increase your chances of developing cancer.
Overuse of antibiotics on livestock (with some reports suggesting around 80% of the world’s antibiotics are being used on animals) has led to resistant bacteria entering the systems of humans consuming the meat, often leading to illness.
According to a report from the EPA, there are far more pesticides in meat than any vegetable thanks to it culminating inside the animals after sustained periods of consumption.
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that eating processed meat daily increases your chances of developing diabetes by 51%.
A study from McGill University found that contaminations in supermarket chickens are leading to all sorts of medical conditions in the humans that consume them, including UTIs.
A lot of red meats are treated with carbon monoxide. Whilst this in itself is not harmful, it is used to hide the natural discolouration of meat, meaning you don’t really know the quality of what you are eating...
Perhaps the most shocking impact of sustaining animal produce demands around the globe is the knock-on effect on the environment. The link between animal agriculture and climate change was first brought to the masses by Cowspiracy, a documentary that challenges environmental organisations as to why this link is so ‘covered up’. We highly recommend giving it a watch if you’d like to understand the impact your food has on the environment.
Here’s a few staggering stats to get you started...
- Livestock (and the products required to sustain them) account for 32,000,000,000 tonnes of C02 each year. Over half of that produced on the planet…
- A recent study by the University of Oxford found that switching to a vegan diet could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73%!
Methane & nitrous oxide
Carbon isn’t the only greenhouse gas we need to be concerned about.
- Cows across the globe create 150,000,000,000 gallons of methane per day.
- Over a 20 year period, methane has a global warming threat value over 80 times that of CO2.
- Livestock is responsible for 65% of the nitrous oxide gases created on the planet.
- Nitrous oxide has a global warming threat almost 300 times greater than that of CO2 and lingers in the atmosphere for up to 150 years.
Annual water consumption from animal agriculture can reach up to a staggering 76,000,000,000,000 gallons.
It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of beef and 1,000 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk. As a comparison, 1 pound of potatoes requires just 35 gallons of water!
Across the globe, cows consume approximately 9x the amount of water that humans do every day, and approximately 6x the amount of food.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of the deforestation taking part in the Amazon Rainforest every single day.
- 1-2 acres of the Amazon Rainforest are being cleared every second.
The World Animal Foundation names agriculture as the leading cause of species extinction and habitat destruction.
As a result of animal agriculture, up to 137 animal and plant species are being wiped out daily.
Agricultural animal waste can reach quantities of up to 89,000 pounds per second globally, without encountering sewage filtration.
Animal wastage in the USA alone is 50x that of humans.
35,000 miles of rivers across America have been polluted by this waste.
Most of us would say that we want to live in a way that has no negative impact on others. And we mean it, of course. It’s easy when it relates to people / beings you can see around you however, often enough we’re quite happy to feign ignorance when talking about those out of sight.
We don’t always look into how our food is made, or our clothes, gadgets, homeware etc. Who made them, under what conditions, how they got to us, what happiness or misery they might have caused along the way.
Often these hidden impacts of our choices are much bigger than the local ones we can see and feel. If we want the world to evolve in the most positive way possible for all, then we have to look beyond what’s in front of us and ask questions about the wider picture.
Here are some of the ethical factors when it comes to the production of animal-based products:
Animal life and welfare
Recent documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Food Inc have outlined the adverse and often inhumane conditions which animals in the food industry have to endure before being exploited or killed for food.
Recent studies help prove that many animals have the ability to think and feel as we do.
An estimated 2,700,000,000,000 animals are pulled from the ocean each year.
Scientists estimate that 650,000 seals, whales and dolphins are killed annually by boats.
In the US alone it is estimated that 20 million people work in the industry, many of whom work in shocking conditions.
More than 1,100 activists, small farmers, judges, priests and other rural workers were killed in Brazil over the last 2 decades due to protesting mass farming.
82% of starving children live in countries where the animals are fed in order for them to be exported to first world countries.
Conditions in workplaces such as slaughterhouses are notoriously poor, with workers asked to work long hours for minimal pay and even hide personal injuries to help productivity.
Agriculture is the leading cause of water pollution and ocean dead zones on the planet.
Waste from farmland produces up to 400 types of gas that can be harmful to humans.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing
Whilst we create food that caters to an entirely plant-based diet, it doesn't mean you have to be vegan to enjoy our food. Even seemingly small changes in your diet can make a significant difference to our planet.
In fact, a recent study suggested that if the USA went vegetarian for just one day it would save the country 100 billion gallons of water, 70 million gallons of gas, 3 million tonnes of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages.
It doesn't have to be one extreme or the other. If you can’t face diving in at the deep end then try dipping your toes in first. You never know, you may grow to love it.
Every plant-based journey begins with education. You have a right to know the facts about how your food choices affect your own health, the planet and those you share it with. The work of a few people has made that increasingly easy over the past few years and we’ve certainly been grateful to understand the truth better.
We pride ourselves on being transparent with our customers, letting them know what it is that influences us on a daily basis, so if you’d like to explore this topic further we’ve collated a list of useful resources below:
National Geographic - World leader in geography, cartography and exploration, committed to protecting and exploring our planet
World Animal Foundation - Not-for-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and preserving the planet and the animals that inhabit it.
FAO - Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations - Specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger
Food Safety News - News source specialising in issues regarding food recalls, foodborne illness outbreaks, food science, technology, food policy and more
Veg News - Award-winning vegan magazine and website dedicated to spreading news, recipes, travel, food and reviews with its customer base
Culinary Schools - Website dedicated to helping those in the culinary industry with everything from career paths to learning essential information
Cowspiracy - An eye-opening documentary uncovering the devastating unseen effects of the food industry - “The film that environmental organizations don't want you to see”
Game Changers - Revolutionary documentary regarding the health and environmental benefits in following a plant-based diet
What the Health - Follow up documentary to Cowspiracy, which outlines the corruption and collusion amongst government bodies and big businesses in regards to planet’s health
Extinction: The Facts - A documentary hosted by world renowned zoologist Sir David Attenborough regarding the species under threat of extinction due to human influence.
Kiss the Ground - A documentary regarding the viable options that we have as a race to protect our planet from future damage to the environment.
'Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat' by Philip Lymbery - A book regarding the catastrophic effects of mass farming across the planet.
'How Not to Die' by Michael Greger M.D. - A book that provides insight into the scientific research revealing the only diet that can halt and even reverse the effects of global warming.
'Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals' by Hal Herzog - An insight into the ethics behind how we treat animals, whether they be pets, pests or livestock.
'Eating Animals' by Jonathan Safran Foer - An in depth discussion regarding the consequences of eating animals in modern day society.
'Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat)' by Moby and Miyun Park - The two authors bring together a selection of influential characters to discuss the implications of a meat-based diet in contemporary society.
The China study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health
Environmental Impacts of Food Production - A study comparing the individual effects that each type of food is having on the planet.