Sustainable Eating: Check the Facts First

Sustainable Eating: Check the Facts First!

From the COWSPIRACY website: “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”

Great – so should we all become vegans? No more cow milk and no cheese either? No sheep and goat cheese – ditch many of my tasty recipes from the Provence? So what is a sustainable gourmet to do?

An article in the Guardian (Sept.5, 2018) “Ditch the almond milk: why everything you know about sustainable eating is probably wrong” proposes a common sense approach: Check the facts first!

The Guardian article cites a number of examples, starting with almond milk. The carbon created by a 1 quart (1 liter) of semi-skimmed milk is 2.57 lbs (1.17 kg), whereas almond milk produces only 0.79 lbs (0.36 kg). But here is the downside: almond farming is primarily done in California, where over 80% of the world’s almonds are grown.  It takes a staggering 1.611 gallons (7.323 liters) to produce 1 liter of almond milk. The environmental damage of almond milk is staggering. Solution: oat milk. Never heard of oat milk? Read Meet the Drink Ready to Dethrone Almond Milk in Bon Appetit or The Humble Ascent of Oat Milk in the NY Times. You will learn about the pros and cons of oat milk and about Capoatchino, Coatado, and Macchioato.

The Guardian article is enjoyable to read with many solutions – some are common sense others a bit exotic. So I take my usual approach: Don’t jump to extremes just because its the “sustainable” flavor of the day, check the facts and beware of greenwashing.  In other words “don’t throw out the champagne with the cork”.

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