Did you know that this week is National Vegetarian Week? Well it is, and that’s prompted us to have a look into some of the benefits of a plant based diet, as well as what kind of veggie options we offer here on campus…

What’s so great about being vegetarian?

Well, one of the big plusses is that it’s great for the environment. The figures we’ve found tend to vary a bit, but livestock emissions can be calculated as anywhere between 5% and 50% of global emissions contributing to climate change. That’s potentially an awful lot. Then there’s the vast land usage – a plant based diet is much more efficient, but the majority of the world’s crops are consumed by livestock. Pigs, for example, need 8.4kg of feed to produce 1kg of (admittedly delicious) meat; if that feed was consumed directly by humans, we could feed at least twice as many people – and possibly many more – than we do now.

We could go on, but if you’re interested we’d recommend having a Google around the subject.

Then there’s the health benefits. Now we’re not for a moment suggesting that cutting meat out of your diet is some amazing shortcut to weight loss and super healthiness, because that’s just silly. But a well chosen veggie diet can help contribute to a healthy heart and gut, naturally healthy skin as well as being a way to lose weight sustainably.

Maybe cutting out meat completely isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine – but why not consider having a few meat free days every week, or treating meat as a treat rather than a staple?

What veggie options are on campus?

We’re glad you asked! As you probably already know, Zest over in the Allam Medical Building has been 100% vegan for a few months now, so you can chomp down on any of the delicious treats in there without wondering what’s in it. We also have a range of veggie salads and snacks in all of our cafes, and there’s always at least one hot veggie dish, one hot vegan dish and a vegan soup in The Pantry every single day. We’re actually really proud of some of the creations the amazing kitchen team come up with in The Pantry, so you should definitely give it a try.

What can I do at home?

Well, just cutting meat out of your diet without any thought about what to replace it with is probably not the best idea – you’ll need to make sure you’re still getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need. For example pulses and beans – we really like kidney beans and chick peas – can be a really good source of protein, and spinach is actually rammed with vitamins and antioxidants.

Even if you only cut out meat for a few meals a week, if everyone did the same that would make a huge difference to our meat consumption. Worth considering right… Let us know how you get on in the comments, on our Twitter or on our Facebook!