We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Discussions on the interactions between components of the environment and their effects on all types of organisms.

We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby vivian maxine on December 15th, 2015, 1:57 pm 

Following the USDA recommendation to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment.....Eating vegetarian could contribute to climate change....Eating lettuce is three times worse than eating bacon.



http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 130727.htm



Keep smiling and carry on.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby Marshall on December 15th, 2015, 4:49 pm 

That was calculated on a *per calorie* basis. Lettuce has very few calories. So the comparison with bacon is misleading:
someone eating veggie diet would be getting their calories from carbs and oils, not lettuce.


when you eat a green salad, most of the calories you get from the olive oil in the dressing, not the lettuce.


A less silly comparison would be to compare bacon calories with calories in bean, grains, fruits, nuts. They are comparing to lettuce, celery, cucumber....

But we don't have to be serious all the time. A little journalistic buffoonery is fun now and then!
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby vivian maxine on December 15th, 2015, 5:07 pm 

I agree with your every word. Besides, I'm told that lettuce is mainly water. Still find that hard to believe but a friend assures me it is true.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby Serpent on December 15th, 2015, 6:10 pm 

Lettuce is unnecessary; it's a decorative food. The salad thing this year is kale - which, incidentally, is much better cooked than raw, so people who try to jump on the bandwagon will think they don't like it. Too bad, since it's an excellent vegetable, like spinach, chard, beet and mustard greens .

The problem is not the foods themselves, but the methods of production, transport and retailing. Change those - and we must change them - and the figures all change. Growing lettuce and cucumbers in an extensively irrigated desert and then shipping them by truck to places where they would grow practically untended is quite ridiculous. So is shipping fruit from another continent, instead of preserving the excess in season. Meat should be produced safer, healthier, greener and closer to the consumer in laboratory-factories.

Until then, you can still win something. By avoiding meat, you save some animals from suffering, keep your heart beating stronger and longer and manage your weight more easily.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby vivian maxine on December 16th, 2015, 7:23 am 

kale, mustard greens, turnip greens - great. And I love turnips but no one seems to grow them. They are hard to find in stores. A manager told me that most which are grown are fed to the hogs. The hogs are blessed. But, yes, lettuce is a useless food and greens like kale are good food - better cooked.

Why we ship Florida oranges to Africa and import theirs to us is a mystery that we'll never solve. I'm sure there is a secret reason under the table. It doesn't help that this produce has to be picked before it is ripe in order to go through this shipping.

Thank you, Serpent, for the story.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby Serpent on December 16th, 2015, 7:20 pm 

It must be about money.
If it's crazy and harmful, it's always about money.

Funny about the turnips. We can always get them in Ontario. Mostly the huge waxed ones that are hard to work with and way too much for two old people, but often also the little purple-and-white swedes that are easy to peel and just right for soup. Two of those, a biggish parsnip and two carrots or a sweet potato make a hearty winter soup.

There are plenty of ways to eat well and sensibly.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2015, 8:59 am 

Serpent » December 16th, 2015, 6:20 pm wrote:It must be about money.
If it's crazy and harmful, it's always about money.

Funny about the turnips. We can always get them in Ontario. Mostly the huge waxed ones that are hard to work with and way too much for two old people, but often also the little purple-and-white swedes that are easy to peel and just right for soup. Two of those, a biggish parsnip and two carrots or a sweet potato make a hearty winter soup.

There are plenty of ways to eat well and sensibly.


Serpent, I recently wrote to one of our large canning companies and asked why we see so many vegetables in cans but never turnips. I said raw turnips are so hard to peel and prepare; canned would be great.

Do you know? They really took me seriously and have said they intend to look into the idea.

We shall see. I hope it wasn't just a polite brush-off.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2015, 12:59 pm 

That's a good idea. My friend who has arthritis always gets the nice young man in the produce section to halve or quarter the turnip for her. It's an odd thing about urban life, how often we simply don't think just to ask for what we want!

I hear some news about indoor farming, which I think we should have been doing all along http://weburbanist.com/2015/01/11/worlds-largest-indoor-farm-is-100-times-more-productive/. I see they're going for the ornamental lettuce instead of the utilitarian cabbage. (In fairness, they take a third of the time and are three times as popular... but still!) All the cities should be using all their rooftops, rubble-strewn lots and surplus buildings (which, to my mind, includes those big glass money-laundries downtown) to grow fresh vegetables and fruit for local consumption.

Here is the inevitable craziness: The world's most healing and pleasurable occupation is being taken over by robots, while all the crap jobs that make people sick and unhappy are still being done by people.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2015, 1:09 pm 

Cabbage! Another great veggie that is passed over. We go fancy with foreign foods now. Sometimes I cannot even translate the menu in a restaurant.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2015, 9:55 pm 

Just ask the nice young man!
Or woman.
The very young ones with attractive tattoos are the most accommodating.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby BadgerJelly on December 18th, 2015, 1:16 am 

I thought the point was that we have to feed the livestock and so if we feed ourselves veg and not livestock then that is better for the environment.

If the pig eats lettuce and then I eat the pig I have effectively eaten pig and lettuce! I am starting to think about the restaurant at the end of the universe now! haha!
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby zetreque on December 18th, 2015, 1:22 am 

I don't know why I wasn't aware of this thread. I am subscribed to this forum but didn't get notification. All I want to say here is that even these people doing these studies don't even have their head wrapped around the bigger picture and articles like this do a very poor job at explaining it. I don't want to attempt to at the moment, but here are a couple things you must think about.

-Methane produced by grazer animals.
-Transportation (clear across the globe in many cases)
-Social oppression and inequality issues.
-The impact of creating agricultural land compared to what was once there (such as rain forest that was cleared)
-Food waste (think of how much food is wasted not only off the dinner plate, but at conferences, banquets, and lots that spoil during transportation) Lots of food spoils during transportation so it's not just fuel spent transporting food, but all the resources that went into make that food only to be lost during transportation. You must also even take it all the way back to the manufacture and energy put into building the transportation systems, like tires, trucks, engines, oil changes for transport vehicles and farm equipment.
-Effect of negative Health impacts from consumption of pesticides, GMO, sugar, etc etc that impact our economy with lost wages, hardships, medical bills, medical facilities...

Eat local as you can and Eat "healthy" and I don't want to start a debate on what that is.
Don't say we can't win. The truth is out there but people don't know it yet.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby zetreque on December 18th, 2015, 1:26 am 

BadgerJelly » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:16 pm wrote:I thought the point was that we have to feed the livestock and so if we feed ourselves veg and not livestock then that is better for the environment.

If the pig eats lettuce and then I eat the pig I have effectively eaten pig and lettuce! I am starting to think about the restaurant at the end of the universe now! haha!


That's half of it. All the resources that go into the food that we feed cattle. I think the major argument for vegetarian though is the methane issue. Cattle produce the most potent greenhouse gas methane which is far worse than CO2.

Of course the real answer is population growth control. Nothing wrong with eating meet (moral issues aside even in the most human of hunting). we evolved to eat meat, but not in the current society with how large it is.

btw: we don't really feed our grazer animals lettuce. lol. it's mostly corn/grain. Which is another argument against unhealthy non organic food.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win

Postby Marshall on December 18th, 2015, 1:52 am 

Serpent » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:10 pm wrote:Lettuce is unnecessary; it's a decorative food. The salad thing this year is kale - which, incidentally, is much better cooked than raw, so people who try to jump on the bandwagon will think they don't like it. Too bad, since it's an excellent vegetable, like spinach, chard, beet and mustard greens .

The problem is not the foods themselves, but the methods of production, transport and retailing. Change those - and we must change them - and the figures all change. Growing lettuce and cucumbers in an extensively irrigated desert and then shipping them by truck to places where they would grow practically untended is quite ridiculous. So is shipping fruit from another continent, instead of preserving the excess in season. Meat should be produced safer, healthier, greener and closer to the consumer in laboratory-factories.

Until then, you can still win something. By avoiding meat, you save some animals from suffering, keep your heart beating stronger and longer and manage your weight more easily.


I think you are referring to meat cells grown in a "bio-reactor". I think that's a good idea and the technique isn't it basically at least as old as cheese? Isn't cheese largely the bodies of microorganisms that we feed milk to? And they grow and fatten up and become cheese----after you squeeze the watery stuff out, the whey. Correct me if I am wrong---give a link that has the correct story if you like.

So there could be a kind of "ground pork" that is grown in huge vats where you have a colony of pig muscle cells---a cell line---and you pump in some nutrient that the cells like to grow on and the cells multiply and fatten up and then you pump out the cells and squeeze out the watery medium and the result is something that tastes like ground pork and you can make WON TON. Pork won ton is one of my favorite foods.

Is that something like what you had in mind when you said Meat should be produced ... in laboratory-factories.? You might need a second reactor with pig fat cells instead of muscle cells--to blend to get the flavor right.

We have a pasta machine so we make our own won ton. You turn the crank and crank out wide thin sheets of something like raw noodle, and you chop up ginger and onion fine and mix it with ground pork and wrap dabs of pork mix up in squares of raw noodle and put them in a boiling kettle of water and when they have boiled and risen to the top you transfer them to a saucepan of chicken broth. (flavored with a little toasted sesame oil and half a Tbs of soy sauce
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby bangstrom on December 18th, 2015, 4:46 am 

I figure celery has negative calories. It takes more energy to chew it than you get from the celery.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby BadgerJelly on December 18th, 2015, 6:12 am 

btw: we don't really feed our grazer animals lettuce. lol. it's mostly corn/grain. Which is another argument against unhealthy non organic food.


XD hahaha!

I know! You've made the point I was trying to make though. Because of economic growth in my general area more and more people buy and eat pork ... my general area being asia. So the problem is getting worse not better because people over here are far less concerned/aware of future problems. Doesnt really help that the west isnt exactly setting an example.

The biggest problem in this area is the people with money wanting to make more money and to continue selling their products regardless of future problems.

I would not be at all surprised if in the distant future people will look back and say "How was it ever legal to sell that crap to people as food?" XD haha
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby zetreque on December 18th, 2015, 7:05 am 

btw: we don't really feed our grazer animals lettuce. lol. it's mostly corn/grain. Which is another argument against unhealthy non organic food.


correction. I meant to say "non-organic meat" as in non-grass fed. This is due to the fact that grain fed animals are sickly (which is why they pump them with antibiotics), fatty, and have much lower omega 3 content among other things. Grains make animals fatty, and people can't connect the dots that grains aka starches can make humans fatty. Ontop of humans eating grain, they eat meat that was made by grain rather than grass.

I just had a thought. I wonder how a flax seed fed cow would fair... lol
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Serpent on December 18th, 2015, 7:14 pm 

bangstrom » December 18th, 2015, 3:46 am wrote:I figure celery has negative calories. It takes more energy to chew it than you get from the celery.

It has about 6 calories per stalk, in the form of carbohydrate. Also a very good source of potassium, which is the salt substitute for those who need to lower their sodium intake, plus a little bit of vitamins A and C, and lots of lovely fiber. Overall, an excellent vegetable.... but takes a long time and lot of water to grow.

This article looks pretty good on cultured meat: http://gizmodo.com/the-future-will-be-full-of-lab-grown-meat-1720874704
I like this, too https://www.kpu.ca/sites/default/files/downloads/Beyond_Food_Security__Urban_Agriculture_as_a_Form_of_Resilience_in_Vancouver__Canada19062.pdf
and this one http://our.windowfarms.org/tag/horticulture/

Food can be less destructive, less expensive, more reliable and healthier!
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Marshall on December 18th, 2015, 9:15 pm 


Thanks for the link on cultured meat. I understand the problems better. I see that Post is currently experimenting with culturing muscle and fat cells separately. then mixing. Growing fat cells is especially challenging. Necessary to flavor.

Maybe the solution is not to try to imitate MEAT itself but using cuisine to create some of the things we like that we use meat in---sauces, stews, paté, fillings---then a creative cook might be able to use vegetable FAT together with cultured animal PROTEIN, and get something that tastes good.

Another major challenge pointed out (besides growing animal fat cells) is supplying OXYGEN to the cells. Since they are simply muscle cells they don't have a network of veins in which to circulate oxygen and nutrients.

It says that Post claims he has now got the cost of cultured beef down to $80 per kilogram. That's an impressive reduction from the figure quoted a couple of years ago.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Serpent on December 18th, 2015, 11:59 pm 

Technology moves along pretty fast if there is a demand.

Me, I don't particularly care about eating meat; I'm quite happy with soy, chick pea, mushroom and whey protein products. My great sin is dairy. If they can make a kinder, cleaner cheese, I'll be happy.

(Oh - sorry about the last link. Pretty good magazine; wrong page. But there are a ton of You tube videos on window hydroponics.)
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby vivian maxine on December 19th, 2015, 7:49 am 

Right, serpent. I haven't eaten meat for years and do fine. I do find soy products a bit drier. Wish they could moisten it up more. But it treats me better than meat, especially red meat.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Natural ChemE on December 19th, 2015, 1:03 pm 

The news report's pretty misleading for two reasons:
  1. The scope of the reported effect is so small that it's inconsequential.
  2. The reported study doesn't represent scientific consensus.

1. Size of effect is inconsequential
Vegetarian and 'healthy' diets could be more harmful to the environment, researchers say, Science Daily wrote:However, eating the recommended "healthier" foods -- a mix of fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood -- increased the environmental impact in all three categories: Energy use went up by 38 percent, water use by 10 percent and GHG emissions by 6 percent.

World energy consumption was about , or about , in 2012.

According to the actual study cited by the news article,actual total energy use for food production is about , or about .

So, average energy use for food production is about
    .
A little math shows that the 34% increase in energy for recommended, healthy food production would require about 0.25% of the world's energy consumption.

And that's a first-order effect, completely ignoring all of the positive feedback from healthier eating. I'd guess that a much healthier population could easily return more than 0.25%, reversing the reported conclusion.

2. This study does not represent a scientific consensus
This study's authors include a discussion of other literature in their paper's Section 4.1: "Comparisons with other studies". This section notes that other studies have been done in this field with different findings.

The authors go on to stress that they're trying to help lay the foundation for later analysis as opposed to report a solid conclusion. The authors explicitly state that their own work has major limitations and that more research would need to be done for a reliable answer.

3. Bottom line
I'd suggest that no one feel bad about eating healthy. The environmental impact reported in this study is a small, debatable, first-order effect with no practical significance.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Serpent on December 19th, 2015, 2:10 pm 

vivian maxine » December 19th, 2015, 6:49 am wrote:Right, serpent. I haven't eaten meat for years and do fine. I do find soy products a bit drier. Wish they could moisten it up more. But it treats me better than meat, especially red meat.

I prefer chick pea, partly for that reason. I make a mean hummus. To make a TVP dish more palatable, pre-soak in hot water with a little vegetable oil and soy sauce (this also improves the colour), then use lots of onion and tomato. To make a soy-based veggie-burger moister, grind in sunflower seed, grated carrot or pumpkin pulp.

We've been meatless for almost 40 years and have accumulated various dietary restrictions as we age, so we've had to adapt the cuisine. It can be done. A friend of ours eats vegan, fat free and organic. Even that can be done - though we marvel at his dedication.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby vivian maxine on December 19th, 2015, 2:18 pm 

I buy my veggie burgers already made but it would be better, making my own. I could make them more moist with your method. I don't cook much, having only myself to feed and other things to do.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Serpent on December 19th, 2015, 5:12 pm 

vivian maxine » December 19th, 2015, 1:18 pm wrote:I buy my veggie burgers already made but it would be better, making my own. I could make them more moist with your method. I don't cook much, having only myself to feed and other things to do.

We buy those to keep in the freezer for when we're in a hurry or just very lazy. Some makes are excellent, and now you can also get meat-less balls (ug... that doesn't sound good), stir-fry strips and imitation chicken slices, all quite good, according to my partner. The second biggest problem is salt; the biggest is price - and I haven't looked into how they're made - energy use and all that.

The biggest problem with home-made is that they tend to fall apart while frying. In the form of a baked loaf is easier. You can cut it up, package and freeze in single meal portions. Here are some recipes that look good, but I haven't tested.
http://www.cookinglight.com/food/vegetarian/veggie-burger-recipes/view-all
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby vivian maxine on December 19th, 2015, 5:19 pm 

I tried cooking something - don't remember what - that just fell apart. I started with Amy but also get Morning Star. Amy's is more flavorful but both are good. What I really like is Essentials frozen greens as well as their frozen fruits. Dole also does good frozen fruits, especially the blueberries and pineapple.

Gee! Dinner time? :-)
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Serpent on December 19th, 2015, 7:44 pm 

Dinner time.
Hubbard Squash soup with sage and Indian spicy sticks.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Watson on December 19th, 2015, 9:50 pm 

Why we ship Florida oranges to Africa and import theirs to us is a mystery that we'll never solve. I'm sure there is a secret reason under the table. It doesn't help that this produce has to be picked before it is ripe in order to go through this shipping.

Well Vivian, I suspect the secret reason has to do with feeding the premium demand without creating excess supply and lower prices. Shipping off the excess to Africa and other places is a bonus revenue stream in the good years, while maintaining the domestic markets for future years. No big secret. And there is no reason others can't independently import oranges from China, Japan or other places.

As for picking produce to ripen on the road, when was the last time you got a tomato that had any taste? Years ago the powers that be, switch from a flavorful tomato, that didn't travel well, to one that had a woody flavor and texture, but could be shipped to Mars and maintain the visual freshness. There is a trend to grow your own heritage tomatoes. Those were the days.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Braininvat on December 20th, 2015, 1:09 am 

Vegan is pretty good for Earth, eating lower on the food chain and not using crops as animal feed, but some groups don't thrive on it. My forebears come from far north countries with shorter growing seasons and maybe haven't adapted fully to a purely plant-based diet. I need to get some egg and cheese bits in one meal of the day or I get fatigued and run down. I love lentils, which IIRC are quite reasonable in their water and acreage requirements. Just had a vegan meal, soup with red lentils, potatoes, canola oil, leeks, spinach, etc. Some wheat bread for dipping, yams for dessert. I would go total vegan if I could make it work - in terms of taste, suits me fine. But meat, for many people in developing countries, means they're achieving a dream of a middle class first-world life, alas. They keep wanting all the perks that we are learning to be so fraught with eco-difficulties.
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Re: We absolutely cannot win (ecofriendly diets?)

Postby Serpent on December 20th, 2015, 2:19 am 

Braininvat » December 20th, 2015, 12:09 am wrote:... But meat, for many people in developing countries, means they're achieving a dream of a middle class first-world life, alas. They keep wanting all the perks that we are learning to be so fraught with eco-difficulties.

I wonder how much of that is due to perception. I mean, people have been pretty much conditioned to look upon the USA as the ultimate achievement of the industrial age - rather than seeing its problems and risks.
On the other hand, technology moves so fast now that whole continents are 'skipping grades' - going directly from telegraph to Skype, missing all the intermediate stages of communications development.

What if this phenomenon has reached a point where developing nations can skip the obesity, heart-disease, colon cancer phases and go directly to demanding low-fat, low-salt, unprocessed, local organic produce?
Could happen...
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