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More vegetables, less meat for all our sakes

More vegetables, less meat for all our sakes

Spanish market: Vegetable-rich diets make for a healthier planet. Image: By ja ma on Unsplash

Researchers are clear: the healthy diet for a healthy planet is more vegetables, less meat. What matters is the food that’s served, and the way it’s produced too.

LONDON, 17 January, 2019 − An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, wholegrains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor’s orders, tomorrow’s farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

A commission sponsored by one of the oldest and most distinguished medical journals in the world today provides what it calls the first scientific targets for a healthy diet, from a sustainable food production system, that operates within what its authors term “planetary boundaries.”

The commission is the result of three years’ consultation by 37 experts from 16 countries, among them experts in health, nutrition, environmental sustainability, economics and political governance.

Goal within reach

It addresses the twin problems of global food supply: altogether 3 billion people are either under-nourished, or approaching clinical obesity because they are too well-nourished.

And global food production in its present form is helping to drive global warming and climate change, trigger accelerating biodiversity loss, pollute the rivers, lakes and coasts with ever greater levels of nitrogen and phosphorus run-off, and make unsustainable use of both land and fresh water.

“The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong,” said Tim Lang, a food scientist at the City University of London, and one of the authors.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How do you degrow?

We live nextdoor to my partner’s grandmother, Maria, who was born during the Second World War in Northern Italy. This means that she knows what hard times look like. Maria could not believe we would be using washable diapers for our baby boy. With genuine surprise she asked me, “why?”, and then she was curious in which pot we were planning to boil the diapers. In her eyes, we could not possibly be choosing to use washable diapers – to her, an extinct garment reminiscent of poverty and manual labour – when there exists the comfort of the disposable. Therefore, it must be that we cannot afford disposable diapers. Needless to say, for the first six months of our son’s life, every time Maria went to the supermarket, she bought us a packet of disposable diapers.

Everything about the lifestyle we are accustomed to, as rich westerners, has to change. If we let that sink in for a little bit that is when the real disruption comes in, giving way to a radical shift in perspective. So, where do we go from here?

As practitioners of the degrowth creed, the first challenge we face is precisely this, where do we start? This is a very real question that needs to be answered when degrowthers decide to settle down. Since it’s possible to start anywhere, why not start with the closest and most immediate: ourselves. Our life. Our lifestyle, our diet, our jobs. I want to bring forward how this radical decision – to choose the self as the first point of action towards a degrowth future – brings large obstacles, huge consequences, many humbling lessons and above all, so many mixed feelings.

How do we go about practicing degrowth?

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Your Body’s Recovery and Why Diet is Paramount

Your Body’s Recovery and Why Diet is Paramount

 

Ready Nutrition - Your Body's Recovery and Why Diet is Paramount Pin
This piece is designed to emphasize the importance of recovery from your physical exertions. Such a recovery doesn’t mean simply lying down on the couch, or refraining from any physical labor. We’re going to discuss glycogen and cannibalism, the latter referring not to the headhunters of Papua New Guinea, but the body’s own actions to replenish losses.

These losses we inflict upon it every day. Improper diet, not enough fluid intake, and excessive work without recovery are the inflictions we foster on ourselves. In past articles, I have stressed the importance of protein in many Ready Nutrition articles, as well as tissue repair and building muscle. Regarding muscle, the substance we need to discuss is called glycogen, and it is defined as a substance formed by your liver and muscle tissues from carbohydrates (glycogenesis) or non-carbohydrate sources (then termed glyconeogenesis).

Glycogen is excess carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscles that is (in a process known as glycogenolysis) later converted to glucose. When blood glucose levels decrease, the liver picks up the slack and makes new glucose from the stored glycogen.  Glucose is used by the body for many functions and is the primary energy source for all living things. This is basic stuff, and it is important for you to understand this in order to allow your body to recover.

Glycogen stores are utilized with heavy lifting and physical exercise. When you’re lifting weights, shoveling snow for three hours, or cutting wood for two, your body is breaking down muscle tissue. Anabolism is a phase of where the muscle tissue is “torn,” or broken down with the physical exertions. Catabolism then follows, where the protein in your body needs to be prevented from breaking down too far: in this phase, you must take in (replenish) your protein and carbohydrates.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Diet, Ignorance and the Environmental Catastrophe

Diet, Ignorance and the Environmental Catastrophe

Climate Change sounds vast and impersonal, but it’s really a very personal matter; a global crisis caused by the individual actions humanity has collectively taken. All too often such actions proceed from a position of ignorance selfishness and habit, and are undertaken with little or no understanding of the effects on the natural environment.

The debate around climate change commonly focuses on transportation, deforestation, and energy – replacing fossil fuels with renewables. This is right and urgent, and some countries are taking steps; however, what is not tackled at all is the devastating impact of a meat/dairy diet, – common to 97% of humanity. According to Reducing Food’s Environmental Impacts Through Producers and Consumers (RFEI), a detailed report published in the journal Science, consumption of animal produce is “degrading terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, depleting water resources, and driving climate change.”

Industrial farming of cows, pigs, sheep and chickens, plus harvesting fish, for human consumption is the single greatest cause of the interconnected environmental catastrophe; unless urgent substantive change takes place this could single-handedly lead to a polluting point beyond redemption. Misinformed, irresponsible lifestyle choices are behind the environmental crisis. The vast majority of people are unaware of the devastating effects of our collective eating habits, and from this position of uninformed ignorance disaster flows; the earth is poisoned, the climate disrupted and all manner of lives are lost.

Animal agriculture is responsible for approximately 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions (GGE), according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This is more than any other sector, including manufacturing and transportation. The principal climate change contaminate is methane (44%), which comes mainly from rearing cattle – the source of 65% of all livestock GGE’s. While methane’s atmospheric life is only decades compared to centuries/millennia for carbon-dioxide (Co2) Scientific American reports that it “warms the planet by 86 times as much as CO2,” before degrading to become CO2: So it’s a double whammy, an intensely damaging one.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Government Has Been Meddling in Food and Nutrition for a Long Time

The Government Has Been Meddling in Food and Nutrition for a Long Time

For over a century, the federal government has had its hand in shaping what we eat in a multitude of ways, usually to bad effect.

Government intrusion is often obvious. We know when government taxes our income, stops us from using our drug of choice, or when they kick down our door and throw us in a cage. But sometimes, government actions are more subtle and confusing. It is often tempting to blame industry alone for the failures in the market and to ignore the substantial – but often less visible – role that government plays in regulating different markets. From the housing crisis and its relationship to banking to healthcare and sky-high costs, this tends to ring true. When it comes to food, nutrition, and its impact on health, blame is often allocated to the market by the uninformed individual.

The average person tends to vaguely understand the issue. They probably know a bit about farm subsidies, taxes, and the Food Pyramid. However, they most likely don’t understand the level at which government regulates our food. There is a long and storied history of government agriculture policy, import tariffs, food quotas, shoddy science guidelines, and regulation, all of which gets passed over for more obvious scapegoats such as the market and corporations.

Regulatory Agencies

The USDA was started under Lincoln in 1862.

There are two main agencies that regulate food in the U.S; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA.) Both are charged with overall food safety nationwide. But the distinction in jurisdictions is often incredibly confused, with both agencies regulating different aspects of the same foods. For example, the FDA manages the feed chickens eat, but the actual chicken facility falls under USDA jurisdiction.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How To Make Your Own Dairy-Free Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

How To Make Your Own Dairy-Free Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

It’s not always the most popular subject to broach within public and/or permaculture circles, but the fact of the matter is that in many, many recent studies dairy is being linked to several chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular issues, cancer, and digestive woes. It’s no wonder, really, as we are the only animal to regularly consume the milk of another, and the only that ingests milk (or milk products) into adulthood.

Of course, dairy has long been a part of the Western diet, and many of us cling desperately to things like cheese and yogurt or a splash of cream in our coffee. Truth be told, the majority of people who are devoted to dairy, especially those with animals specifically raised for milk, won’t soon be giving it up, but perhaps it’s time to start recognizing some of the healthy alternatives out there.

Even if a 100% dairy-free diet isn’t in the cards, knowing how to make all-natural dairy-free milk, cheese, and yogurt can’t hurt, and it provides a new multitude of flavors and dishes to bring to the self-sustainable table. The following recipes are healthy, homemade alternatives that use a variety of sources to create dairy-free “dairy” products. They are not an indictment of anything but simply a new way of looking at something familiar.

DAIRY-FREE MILK

Porridge and milk (Courtesy of Rachel Hathaway)
Porridge and milk (Courtesy of Rachel Hathaway)

What we are after can really aid in deciding what kind of milk will work best. Is it cream for coffee? A smoothie? Baking? Each base, everything from nuts to grains to legumes to coconuts, performs a little differently, just as the varying types of milk (skim, 2%, full fat, cream) operate differently. Essentially, though, whatever the foundation is, the same techniques apply: The base is ground into a powder and mixed with water, often with something to add a tinge of sweetness.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Why Preppers Need to Focus on Local Food for Self-Reliance

Why Preppers Need to Focus on Local Food for Self-Reliance

Years ago, I was reading the book Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs. (Great book that I highly recommend!) The premise of the book is that our future economic woes will be based on the scarcity of oil.

The author, Wendy Brown, makes an excellent case regarding our dependency on oil, but the thing that really stood out in my mind was how she had changed her family’s diet well in advance of this economic crisis. She focused her efforts on local food for self-reliance in the long run.

She discussed at length the fact that on her suburban property, in her particular climate, there were things she could produce, and things she could not. Taking it a step further, there were many things that were not available within a 100 miles of her area.  So why, she asked, would she want to base her family’s diet on foods that might not be readily available in the future? Why would she want her children to have to endure yet another drastic change should things all go to heck? Instead of rice, they focused on potatoes, for example, because that was realistic for a long-term diet in her location in rural Maine.

Eating locally means stepping away from the Standard American Diet

Eating locally is something we personally focus on. Of course, I also prep, and most of the preparedness calculators recommend things that don’t grow in any type of abundance in my area. And by “things” I mean hundreds of pounds of grains.

Several months ago we swore off grains as a family due to some health issues with my daughter, and we haven’t looked back.  I think it’s entirely possible that many of the chronic health problems being experienced in our country could be related to the exceptionally high grain-and-carbohydrate intake of the average American. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

 

New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People – Our World

New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People – Our World.

As cities grow and incomes rise around the world, more and more people are leaving gardens and traditional diets behind and eating refined sugars, refined fats, oils and resource- and land-intense agricultural products like beef. This global dietary transition is harming the health of both people and the planet, says new research.

But the study also shows that shifting away from this trajectory and choosing healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespans and quality of life, but also slash emissions and save habitat for endangered species.

And we better hurry; the scientists project that if the trend continues, the situation will be worse yet with greenhouse gas emissions up by 80 percent by 2050.

Examining almost 50 years’ worth of data from the world’s 100 most populous countries, University of Minnesota Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and graduate student Michael Clark illustrate how current diet trends are contributing to ever-rising agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and habitat degradation.

On top of that, they write: “These dietary shifts are greatly increasing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic non-communicable diseases that lower global life expectancies.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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