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Is Going Vegan Sustainable

Is Going Vegan Sustainable

Is A Vegan Lifestyle More Sustainable For The Planet?

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein

How big of a problem is what we eat? Can our diet have an effect on something as serious as climate change?

Have you recently found yourself questioning your lifestyle and looking for inspiration to live more sustainably?

There is often an unrecognized connection between our food choices, our health and the environment. The truth is, that what we eat, how we take care of our body, and what we do to the environment are all connected and part of a bigger picture.

If you currently call Indonesia home, you may be surprised to learn that it is ranked one of the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world! Data research on annual meat consumption in Indonesia comes in at 11.6 kg per capita. To give you some perspective that is about one-tenth of the meat an average Australian eats per year.

Is Going Vegan Sustainable

Climate And Our Diet

Research shows that what we eat daily matters a lot! By now we have all heard of the term ‘global warming’, but many of us don’t yet understand the vital connection between the agricultural industry and the rise of global temperatures.

The truth is, the meat industry is responsible for the production of more greenhouse gases than all of the current transport combined! That is an alarming comparison if we think about every form of transport in operation today around the world today.

Key Facts

  • NASA data shows that average global temperatures in 2019 were 0.98 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average
  • The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat with the top 700 meters of ocean showing warming temperatures
  • Beef production creates roughly 4 to 8 times the emissions than pork, chicken or egg production
  • All meat production has a larger carbon footprint than any vegetables or lentils 
  • According to available data, the population consumes roughly 350 million tons of meat per year
  • Humans are intrinsically connected to food production and industrial factory farming creates a high-risk environment for disease and pandemics

In light of this, it is vital not to feel discouraged.

The good news here is that we all have the power to shift this balance back in favour of our wellbeing and mother nature. Don’t be overwhelmed with terms like organic, plant-based, veganism, or raw food.

This journey starts with a personal commitment to a reduction of animal products, specifically beef and dairy, and a swap to delicious whole foods.

This journey starts with a personal commitment to a reduction of animal products, specifically beef and dairy, and a swap to delicious whole foods.

Why Are Plant-Based Foods More Sustainable?

By comparison, we can learn so much from the environmental footprint of plants versus meat. The difference is astounding when we take a look at the environmental impacts of factory farming animals versus farming vegetables and grains.

Did you know that the amount of grain fed to livestock in order to produce enough meat to feed the population could actually feed the population? That’s right, and this isn’t new information. An article published back in 1997 highlighted that the U.S could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock was being fed. Not to mention the livestock industry was the leading consumer of water resources.

Today, if humans consumed the crops instead of feeding them to animals the world supply would be enriched by approximately 70 per cent more food which would feed another 4 billion people. Why? Between 40-50% of all corn and 80% of all soybeans suitable for human consumption are farmed and are fed directly to livestock.

Now, in 2020 more people are coming to learn just how unsustainable the current food system is and are desiring a more compassionate and eco-friendly relationship with their food.

Still not convinced that one person can make a positive change? Research shows that if you go vegan, in just one year you can save 365 animals, 3300 kilos of Co2, 1.5000.000 litres of water and over 6000 kilos of grain. A sustainable lifestyle truly starts with our diet and you can make a positive difference.

What Plant-Based Foods Can Replace Meat And Dairy?

Many of Indonesia’s iconic local dishes are originally vegetarian. To create a vegan version you simply request the seller to omit additional ingredients like an egg. It is common for Indonesian’s to get their main caloric intake from plant-based foods with dishes such as tofu, tempeh, rice, local vegetables and coconut milk.

Having just one meat-free day a week in your lifestyle can do a wealth of good for your wellbeing and the planet. Not sure where to start? Here are 5 vegan meat alternatives.

Top 5 Vegan Meat Alternatives Available In Indonesia


Tempeh is originally from Indonesia! It is a great source of protein and pre-biotics. Fantastic for making vegan bacon, adding to a stir-fry in place of chicken, or enjoyed over a salad. You can bake or fry tempeh, marinate it or crumb it to make tempeh steak!
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Beans, Legumes & Lentils

Possibly one of the most diverse foods on the planet, beans, legumes and lentils are a powerhouse of nutrients for vegans. You can create burgers, casseroles, lasagna, meatballs, chilli, curries, soups; the recipes are endless! The dense flavour profile works wonders for replacing meat. You might have to do some searching to find options online depending on where you live. Indonesia has a selection of local legumes such as kacang hijau (green bean) often served in a sweet rice porridge with coconut milk.
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This best kept vegan secret is not so secret anymore! Jackfruit is widely available in Indonesia but if you can’t find it fresh try looking for organic canned jackfruit. It has a similar meaty texture as is used as a replacement as it resembles meals like pulled pork or beef. Replace meat in rendang curry with healthy jackfruit, or create a pulled jackfruit savoury meat alternative to fill a burger with salad.


Stuffed mushrooms, garlic sauteed mushrooms, a hearty mushroom burger, don’t these sound wholesome? Mushrooms are a cheap, healthy, and simple meat alternative that you can enjoy baked, grilled on the BBQ, in a salad or for an all-day breakfast. High in Vitamin B’s, Riboflavin and Selenium, mushrooms are ideal for any plant-based diet. You can also find a variety of Asian mushrooms like enoki or shiitake.

Vegan Meat & Soy Protein

Finally, soy protein, vegan meats, or fake/mock meats. These are an interesting category that is continuing to gain popularity with vegan and non-vegans alike. Be careful when purchasing mock meats to check if they are a healthy option. They can be high in sodium, contain food additives and GMO soy so purchase organic and local as best as you can.

You can find a wide range of vegan fake meats such as Burgers, Mince, Sausages and even a whole Roast Meat Dinner. You can try the vegetarian or vegan warungs and ask if they have a mock meat option or mushroom satay option. These are usually made to represent chicken satay (sate ayam) with a sweet soy sauce or peanut sauce and go great with any sayurbox with vegetables and rice.


Tips For Cooking A Vegetarian or Vegan Meal

The simplest way to transition to a sustainable, plant-based lifestyle, is to reduce your focus on ‘replacing meat’ or ‘finding foods like meat’ and instead of aiming to cook vegan recipes that you enjoy for their own taste and texture!

If you are making a vegan chickpea curry in replace of butter chicken curry, focus on getting the maximum amount of herbs, spices, vegetables and nutrition into the meal versus creating a ‘fake chicken’ meal.

This will help you to build a long-term healthy relationship with wholesome ingredients and reduce the idea that you are missing out on eating meat when really you are gaining a new awakening to the purpose of enjoying vegan food.

How About Dairy?

The main food group that we seem to struggle giving up is dairy. Why is it so hard to quit eating cheese? Believe it or not, there is an answer. It’s addictive.

Dairy has largely taken over in Indonesia with traditional meals including ingredients like sweetened condensed milk, cheese, milk, and butter. Vegan’s can avoid these and try the traditional desserts made from tapioca, rice flour and santan (coconut milk).

Dairy, especially cheese, contains an ingredient called Casein which is basically a protein. This protein can attach itself to our brain receptors that heroin or other narcotics attach to leaving us with a sense of reward or pleasure.

This is why cheese is so hard to give up, it has high levels of concentrated casein (check the ingredients on cheese next time you go to the store). If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend reading the book The Cheese Trap by Neal D Barnard MD.

If you enjoy cooking with cheese and would like to find an alternative option, don’t despair, thanks to Zero Waste Bali, you can buy Vegan cheese and Nut Milk. Both are much more sustainable than the dairy industry so be sure to give them a try!

Vegan Camembert Cheese

Super luxurious and yet so affordable.

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Cashew Nut, Oat Milk, Organic Coconut Milk Powder and Vegan Chocolate 

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Final Thoughts

A vegan diet, a lifestyle that supports a reduction in animal products, is a sustainable and kind approach to the planet. In modern times, our overconsumption of meat and dairy has placed a huge burden on the earth's ecosystems, animal welfare and even our own health. Looking at some of the local dishes, cooking methods, and simplicity of affordable plant-based ingredients used across Indonesia is a great place to start reducing your daily consumption of meat.

If you feel encouraged to make a few simple sustainable changes, embrace it and be empowered to alternate meat and dairy for plant-based options! You may be surprised at how good you feel knowing you are caring for your well-being and mother nature just by choosing the ingredients you cook with.

Check out our => Vegan Collections

To help you Get Started, check out our => Vegan Starter Pack


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