Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Contemplate your plate

The UN is urging the developed world to halve its meat consumption.  While I'm not vegetarian I do heed the message that each of us needs to take personal responsibility for what we eat.  It's no longer just about taste or even the personal health benefits you can derive from a dish: when you eat you need to think about where that plate of food in front of you originated from.

The fact remains that farming any meat is a resource-intensive, environmentally draining exercise.  One can't be afraid to speak out against a popular practice through fear of sounding "preachy."  Unfortunately our vegan/vegetarian brothers and sisters are stereotyped as self-righteous nutty tree-huggers that don't respect everybody else's right to choose.

While their message about the perils of meat often comes off strongly, which many meat eaters find (or want to find) offensive, their tone of voice shouldn't detract from the facts or truth of their message.  They're essentially correct when they speak of the extreme pressure the growing and slaughtering of so many animals places on our planet.

To quote an extract from The Happy Uprising:

Think of the whole supply chain: grain has to be grown for the animals to feed on, and the growing of that grain requires tons of water and acres of land in addition to the requirements of the animals themselves.  Each person in the U.S. can prevent the emission of 1,485kg (3,274lbs) of carbon dioxide every year if they reduced meat intake by twenty percent.

There are some appetizing non-meat dishes out there:

Tomato-rice Kale stew

Avocado white bean salad on toast

For two to three days in the week I eat no meat at all; when I do eat meat it's with a large portion of vegetables.  Breakfast is usually cereal or oats with banana, peanut butter and maybe an egg.

What about protein?  Many men are especially concerned about losing muscle as meat is admittedly protein-rich.  However sprouts, beans and other legumes provide protein.  Unprocessed soy is another source of protein.  You can read this if you want to learn more about how a vegan/vegetarian is able to stay strong...suffice to say it's possible to be strong without meat.

There comes a time where our indulgences and cravings need to be kept in check (they don't have to be eliminated) in the interests of the greater good.  With climate change, habitat destruction and animal cruelty happening on an unprecedented scale, that time is now.

Read the synopsis of The Happy Uprising
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