World Vegetarian Day is October 1, and it’s an event that definitely means a lot to many of us at Aveda. Many of our corporate employees are vegetarian (or vegan!), and we always offer veg-friendly dishes at our onsite cafeteria, Café Organica. Plus, as you may know, we’re totally obsessed with plants, and that carries over to our diets, too!
Even if you’re not ready to say goodbye to meat or dairy forever, going meatless just one day per week can have a huge impact on our earth and climate. The online publication Inside Climate News shared a study by Science magazine, noting that “the world's food and agricultural systems produce more than a quarter of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and nearly two-thirds of those emissions are linked to animal products.” According to the Environmental Defense Fund, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains, for example, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
Switching to a plant-based diet is one major way you can reduce your carbon footprint, and it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
We chatted with Becky Hill, a vegan baker at Fig + Farro restaurant in our home state of Minnesota, about the pros of going meatless at least one day a week, and how the restaurant itself is making a difference with every dish, piece of décor and glass of wine.
“The main mission of the restaurant is to show people that not only does vegetarian and vegan food taste good, but you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint if you go meatless one day a week,” Becky says. “We’ve jumped on the bandwagon of Meatless Mondays; it’s an easy ‘in’ to normalize the concept of going meatless.” The restaurant itself is eco-chic and cozy, with reclaimed and refinished furniture and plenty of beverages on tap; using kegs for things like beer and wine, and even cold press coffee, actually helps save water AND packaging.
THE INTERIOR OF FIG + FARRO RESTAURANT
The fight against climate change is one of Fig + Farro’s main passions, and even Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has joined them in their quest to make the city’s diet more plant-based. He issued a citywide proclamation about going meatless once a week, declaring intent “to make an effort to eat plant-based food and choose plant-based products in furtherance of our environmental goals, and celebrate our ongoing commitment to exceed the standards put forth in the Paris Agreement by doing our part right here in Minneapolis.”
If you’re ready to start eating a more plant-based diet, here are a few of Becky’s top tips:
Choose your veggies wisely. “When I first switched to plant-based, I looked for vegetables that I could use instead of meat so I left a meal satisfied,” Becky says. Beans, potatoes, lentils, artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower are a good place to start. You can combine them with a filling grain like quinoa and your favorite dressing for a simple, satisfying meal.
Introduce more flavors to your cooking. “Fig + Farro’s concept is global, plant-based comfort food. Our goal is to show people that you can skip meat and eat flavorful satisfying dishes,” Becky says. Try adding spices like cumin, turmeric, curry, cinnamon and more to your plate for more flavorful meals.
Start Pinning! The Internet is key for simple, delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes. Pinterest, for example, is chock-full of delectable and satisfying vegetarian ideas! It’s an easy place to get connected with veggie-centric blogs and websites to find new recipes to try.
Take baby steps. If you really want to eliminate animal-based products and begin eating a vegan diet, don’t feel like you need to do everything at once. Think about swapping the milk in your coffee for a non-dairy version, or opting for an all-veggie salad for lunch a few days a week. “I slowly cut out dairy and eggs over the course of a month or two and that really helped,” Becky says. Making a gradual change is a lot easier than completely eliminating a food group or two — so start with one “meatless” day per week and go from there!