The plant based diet has developed a lot in recent years. It’s an undeniable food trend that looks set to hang around for a while to come. The Herald dubs plant based eating “the biggest food shift of this decade, worldwide, and particularly in Australia.”
Here, we look at the benefits of plant based eating and provide examples of hospitality venues that offer some amazing plant based food.
Benefits of Plant Based Dining
There are many reported benefits of curbing a meat-centric diet, which can really be broken down into three main aspects:
A plant based diet can significantly improve your health. This comprehensive study found men and women who replaced meat with whole grains had a 20% lower mortality rate over 25 years, and substantial cardiovascular health improvements, than those who continued to eat meat.
Another study of over-50s found that vegetarians had a mortality rate 12% lower than meat eaters, as well as a much lower chance of obesity and fewer problems with high blood pressure and heart disease.
These health problems are not just bad for people’s livelihoods. They cost the taxpayer a lot in healthcare costs too. It’s believed that a few simple dietary changes towards more plant based dining could save Americans alone $11 trillion USD!
Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on the planet, according to a conclusive analysis on the damages caused by farming.
The Guardian reports that global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – the size of Australia, China, US & EU combined – without meat and dairy consumption, and still feed the world.
It goes on to highlight the disparity between the calories and protein gained (18% & 37% respectively) to the farmland used (83%) and greenhouse gas emissions (60% of agriculture). These stats support an earlier UN report.
The pressures placed on large scale agriculture causes huge issues regarding low-paid workers, filthy work conditions and work injuries.
However, the damages caused to the animals are even more grievous. It’s not uncommon for an animal to be injected with hormones and antibiotics, to never see the light of day and/or to be beaten and maimed. Then there’s the live exporting, which is causing a fuss here in Australia.
We’ll spare you most of the details and the facts; you either know them already or don’t want to. However, it’s worth noting that millions of baby male chicks – known for being inquisitive animals with social hierarchies – are pulverised within a day of conception in Australia each year, while calves born by mother cows (in order for them to produce milk) are routinely separated at birth, causing huge trauma, and sometimes slaughtered.
As for the actual taste, a plant based diet is much more than a plate of vegetables. If you’re picturing a bland looking bowl of lentils, you’re in for a shock. These days, some truly innovative restaurants are plant based, utilising unique and fresh ingredients. Here are a few examples:
Plant Based Dining Examples
Keen to go more plant based but scared you’ll miss out on all those delicious, juicy burgers and fries? Sydney’s Soul Burger is the answer with their plant-based burgers. You’ll hardly be able to taste the difference.
Dicki’s is one of Brisbane’s most popular plant based establishments, serving up all your favourite brunch options with a modern spin. Like waffles? Chances are you’ll love their buckwheat waffles with caramelised banana and vanilla bean ice-cream. Like eggs? Their tofu scramble will blow your mind.
Instagram-worthy doesn’t begin to explain the aesthetically beautiful dishes you’ll find at the Matcha Mylkbar in St. Kilda. They specialise in creating lattes, bowls and smoothies that look like a Willy Wonka invention. And their vegan eggs somehow manage to capture the same look, texture and protein as the real thing.
If you’re not ready to commit to a plant based diet but want to try a combination of innovative meat and meat-free dishes, Biota Dining is for you. The two-hatted Bowral restaurant places a huge emphasis on locally grown produce, whether it’s pumpkin sorbet or Flathead with pink grapefruit and yeast butter.