As many of you who read my blog posts know, I’ve been thinking of ways to reduce our carbon footprint in the world. One of the key ways is to reduce (or stop) one’s consumption of meat. Recently there’s been a lot of buzz around meat alternative products. And, while I’ve given these a lot of thought, I have to say that I am not a fan for several reasons:
- Philosophically – If our goal is to encourage people to eat less meat then we should be focusing on a plant-rich diet, not trying to create alternatives to meat. It’s the same idea as trying to get children to eat vegetables by “hiding” them in other foods.
- Some meat alternative products are made with genetically modified soy. Soy farming is a large cause of deforestation, which is a large emitter of carbon. Genetically modified soy is grown with a chemical that contains glyphosate, a known carcinogen.
- Most meat alternative products are made by isolating proteins and nutrients from plants and legumes. In other words, they are made with parts of whole foods but not whole foods and, at the end of the day, they are really processed foods.
- Some meat alternatives are made with soy, which is high in phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen hormones). While phytoestrogens are beneficial to some people, they are not for everyone. Phytoestrogens are also endocrine disruptors and affect hormone balance in some people.
I think, ultimately, the goal should be to eat a primarily plant-based diet made of whole plants.
READ PAST ARTICLES
Losing Earth: A Recent History
by Nathaniel Rich
A Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson
I recently read Losing Earth:A Recent History by Nathaniel Rich and A Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. What struck me while reading both these books is the fact that the science around climate change and the negative effects of pesticides has been established since the 1960s and yet we have done very little to address this.
In his book, Nathaniel Rich provides a detailed analysis of how the science around climate change became fully understood in the late 1970s. As a matter of fact, he notes that “in 1859, Tyndall hit upon the greenhouse effect’s fundamental corollary: because carbon dioxide molecule absorbed heat, variations in its atmospheric concentration could create changes in climate.” (p.21) However, by the end of the 1980s, climate change had become a partisan issue and momentum to implement significant change came to a halt, driven primarily by the fossil fuel industry. As Rich notes at the end of his book, “Where we are today: More carbon has been released into the atmosphere since November 7, 1989, the final day of the Noordwijk conference, than in the entire history of civilization preceding it. Earth is now as warm as it was before the last ice age, 115,000 years ago, when the seas were more than twenty feet higher. In 1990, humankind emitted more than 20 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. In 2018, we were projected to have produced 37.1 billion metric tons—a record.” (p.180).
Similarly, in Silent Spring, Rachel Carson warned of the dangers of pesticides and herbicides, and DDT in particular. In her book, Carson examined how DDT poisoned the soil, rivers, trees, insects, birds, animals and humans. As she wrote, “As man proceeds toward his announced foal of the conquest of nature, he has written a depressing record of destruction, directed not only against the earth he inhabits but against the life that shares it with him. The history of the recent centuries has its black passages —the slaughter of the buffalo on the western plains, the massacre of the shorebirds by the market gunners, the near-extermination of the egrets for their plumage. Now, to these and others like them, we are adding a new chapter and a new kind of havoc —the direct killing of birds, mammals, fishes, and indeed practically every form of wildlife by chemical insecticides indiscriminately sprayed on the land.” (p.85).
After reading these books, I wonder how it is that we can remain so blind to the science that clearly points to the fact that everything we are doing is harming the earth, and the many organisms on it. As Carson writes at the end of her book, “The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.” (p.99) Indeed, I find it increasingly harder to understand how we can call ourselves civilized.
||I am happy to announce that my second cookbook The New Food Fundamentals 96 Recipes, Tips, and Ideas for a Healthy World will be released in the next few months and will be available to order on my website.
In early June, I had the opportunity to travel the KENYA. Check out pictures of my recent trip HERE.
Oh, and here’s an interesting fact: In Kenya, plastic bags are completely banned and one can be fined $40,000 if they are found producing, carrying, or selling plastic bags. The Kenyan government is now working on banning single-use plastics too!
Articles of Interest:
As we prepare for the 2020 elections, it’s important to know the candidates’ views on food and farming. Check out this great guide: READ ARTICLE
A new UN report warns of the increase of drug-resistant bacteria while at the same time citrus farmers are increasing their use of antibiotics. READ ARTICLES: www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/health/un-drug-resistance-antibiotics.html and www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/health/antibiotics-oranges-florida.html
Here’s an interesting article on the debate between the benefits of meat produced using regenerative agriculture methods versus meat alternative products. READ ARTICLE
The effects of climate change are far-reaching and extend beyond borders. READ ARTICLE
In case anyone is still wondering whether the Environmental Protection Agency is working to protect the environment and people’s health, here’s another article that proves it isn’t. READ ARTICLE