Guest opinion: A plant-based diet comes with a host of benefits. EATS Park City can show you the way.
EATS Park City
Alex (name changed for privacy reasons) walked into an EATS cooking class thinking it was going to be just any old day. He sat next to his friends and listened as the EATS instructor explained a dip called hummus. “It sounds like peanut butter, but not sweet,” he thought to himself as the instructor showed how to use the food processor to blend chickpeas, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil together.
Alex followed the steps and made the hummus with his friends. He was skeptical and even whispered to his friend that the dip looked disgusting. The EATS instructor passed out celery and carrots for the students to dip into their hummus and they all took a bite together. Alex’s taste buds smiled. He took the recipe home to his parents and demanded they make hummus together. His mom had never tried it before, but after a quick look at the EATS website, they found a few different varieties to make and sample together. Alex and his family now eat hummus as a snack, spread on their sandwiches and dolloped onto salads. What started as a simple cooking class has become a household staple.
This is what EATS does: educate our community on how to expand their palette and inspire them to make the changes in their daily lives. EATS’ One Meal a Day Campaign does just that. Throughout the month of March, EATS is challenging Park City residents to eat at least one meal per day free of animal products. To help inspire this journey, EATS has been hosting cooking classes and webinars and releasing three new recipes a day that are completely plant based.
Eating a plant-based diet has been proven to be healthier not only for the consumer but also for the planet. Studies have shown that people who live in areas where a plant-based diet is the status quo live longer, healthier lives. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports that eating a plant-based diet can reduce risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, and even reverse heart disease once it has begun. A study was conducted where adults were counseled on eating a diet free from meat and dairy products. 89% of participants were able to follow the diet. Of those who followed the diet, 81% improved their symptoms of heart disease and experienced fewer lifestyle complications. 22% of the study participants saw a complete reversal of their condition.
In addition to the health benefits, plant-based diets are better for our planet. Ever given your neighbor the stink eye for watering their lawn all day every day throughout Utah’s dry summer? Did you know the amount of water used to raise a cow and water the crops the cow eats means that eating one pound of hamburger consumes as much water as about two months’ worth of showers! In addition to limiting our water resources, raising livestock for meat consumption (or livestock feed) increases our land use. Approximately 26% of the earth’s arable land is used just for livestock feed cultivation. This number doesn’t even take into account the land used to graze and house these animals. With 18% of Park City children facing food insecurity, can we use our land to feed our communities instead of animals?
Eating a plant-based diet has been proven to have a direct impact on the health of both humans and earth. Small steps towards a completely plant-based diet, like choosing to make one meal each day without animal products can make a huge impact. To participate in EATS One Meal a Day challenge, visit our website and find a recipe to make for dinner tonight.
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Skier, mountaineer, environmental activist and Park City resident Caroline Gleich writes that Andy Beerman’s commitment to the climate is vital to Park City’s future.