What is the most important aspect of travelling?
If you do a quick survey of your friends you will see that a popular answer is ‘food’.
Food can tell you a lot about a culture, and the further away you go the most weird stuff you are going to find. Which might end up in you eating insects, or interiors.. but if you feel adventurous…
With this post I don’t intend to put you off trying anything by any means, trying new things and having a full immersion in a new culture is indeed one of the reasons why we travel, so go on and take the plunge.
Diets are a topic that is always discussed, a LOT. And while it used to be a gender unbalanced topic (mostly women were seen as always being on a diet) now it is becoming more and more equal on the gender playing field..
As the Sardinian shepherds protest this week against the incredibly low price they get for their milk, I want to discuss (or better raise some questions and drive some thinking) of the price of food.
If you are an affectionate reader you might recall that I already discussed this issue in the past , talking about tomatoes.
You probably heard it before. Climate change and human pressures (increased pollution, deforestation, harvesting, nutrient inputs, noise etc..) are the major culprits of 'biodiversity loss'.
But after reading a few articles and worrying for a while, it all washes up over our heads as we get on with our daily tasks. I mean, biodiversity loss might happen but it will not directly impact us on our limited time on this planet. Maybe it will our gran children, maybe our great great grand children. But hey, I am single and even the idea of children seem so far away. So I get on with my day, with this idea of biodiversity loss hiding somewhere behind my endless to-do list. Maybe to reappear in my job (I am interested in understanding what will cause it, how to slow it down, and how are organisms really impacted by changes in their environments). Nonetheless, if I, a person who is in the ecology science field, don't spend much of my day worrying, how can we get everyone else to worry and actually do something to slow down all of the pressures that we are putting in the environment?
Great news for environmentalists and animalists alike : people are eating less meat and embracing more plant based products in their diets.
Great for animals, as less production means better welfare. Great for the planet as we reduce emissions. Great for health as we reduce saturated fats..
So it seems like it is great news and I should leave it at that.
But I would like to dig deeper instead and ask this question : what are we replacing meat with?
And the answer is not fresh produces and pulses (which to me are the base of healthy meat free diets). The correct answer is: artificial and processed meat substitutes.
So what are the problems with these products ?
A) they are processed, and contain way too many ingredients some of which you don’t need. And the processing will require industries which are also not great for the environment
B) proteins have been extracted - so instead of eating whole soya beans you eat something that has been extracted following heavy processing . And you may only get part of what nature intended..
C) other processes to create things like Quorn involve making a fungus - making new foods which are not necessarily safe (they are maybe too new to fully understand their complications)
D) they often contain hidden fats, and those fats may be terrible for the environment
E) cultivation of soy requires s lot of water and land - which also brings to deforestation
Basically, what I am saying is that while eating less meat is a good thing we shouldn’t try to substitute it for something similar but instead try and cook from scratch as much as possible with basic and simple whole ingredients...
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