A few months ago we talked about how to turn a plant-based diet into a habit. We all have bad habits. It seems like we have little self-control as they unfold – they just happen. As it turns out, the same neurological processes that create bad habits can also make good ones unfold just as effortlessly.
But not all habits are created equal. Some produce relatively narrow benefits. Others, however, set off a cascade of new benefits and habits that do far more good than the sum of their parts. Charles Duhigg, author of Power of Habit, has famously coined these keystone habits.
Perhaps the most familiar keystone habit is exercise. Let’s say you go from sedentary to working out on most days of the week. Maybe you start the day with a run around the neighborhood or go on a walk every night after work. Either way, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pinpoint just one benefit resulting from your new workout habit. There’s the weight loss and added strength, but there’s also the deeper sleep and the decrease in stress hormones. All of these leave you feeling a little happier and a little more confident in yourself. You begin to eat healthier so you can better fuel your workouts. Then, you visit the doctor and your numbers are back in range. Your health insurance premium drops. You get the picture – it goes on and on – all from one simple new habit.
I probably don’t have to tell you that a plant-based diet is another keystone habit. I think Kayli would agree that it’s even more important to our lives than exercise. So let’s put that behind us. In fact, let’s move far beyond our individual lives. What if we could use the power of plants to solve some of our greatest collective problems – far beyond our waistlines and arteries and brains?
It turns out we can. Each time we choose plants over animal products we set off a cascade of global benefits. Deforestation. Climate change. Poverty. Overfishing. Waste. Species extinction. Oceanic dead zones. Healthcare costs. Water shortages. Energy shortages.
Each day, a person who eats a plant-based diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.
The question then becomes where do the benefits from a plant-based diet end?
Want to have a hand in solving some of our world’s biggest problems (not to mention, some of your own biggest problems)? Eat more plants.