Food for Thought on Earth Day

 

There is no denying that climate change is now a part of everything we do. Whereas back in the 1970’s, when Earth Day was founded, those trying to protect the planet were often perceived as tree-hugging, over-reactors. 

But now, eco-friendly behaviour is mainstream, and often encouraged. Brands are also joining in with sustainable versions of their products, such as Adidas’ Stan Smith trainers made from recycled plastic, it is inevitable that one day every household name will have incorporated sustainability into its products one way or another.

However, one thing that tends to be overlooked when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, and sustainable swaps, is the food that we eat. It is seldom spoken about how certain foods are worse for the planet than others.

According to PETA, 1lb of meat can take more than 2400 gallons of water to produce. This ratio of resources vs product yielded is not sustainable, especially as 99% of the time the vegan alternative is far less detrimental on the planet. Of course,  vegan options aren’t always better for the planet, with avocados and exotic fruit having much higher food miles and therefore greater emissions produced. That is why in this blog I’ll be focusing on what food changes you can make to be more sustainable.

 

Easy and great tasting food swaps

Here are a few simple swaps that you can implement into your weekly shop that can make  a world of difference (if you pardon the pun) on the planet. 

Of course, we can’t talk about vegetarian or vegan food without mentioning Quorn mince! It looks the part and even has the same protein content as beef. A versatile product, it can be used in spaghetti bolognaise, chilli, shepherd’s pie, burritos, tacos, lasagne – you get the idea. Every person I’ve made a dish for containing this has said you can’t tell the difference. Furthermore, as of 21 April 2021, Quorn is one of the 53 companies that have joined ‘The Climate Pledge,’ a collaborative effort between Amazon and Global Optimism, where all companies that sign commit to achieving Net Zero by 2040. 

Richmond, the nation's favourite, has recently released a vegan alternative to their classic sausage, it cooks the same as a normal sausage, even getting the charred bits on it (if that’s your style). 

One of the most straight forward swaps is milk. It’s drunk every day across the world, but with so many different plant alternatives to try, there is bound to be one that can compare to the original. It’s not just brands like Alpro and Oatly that produce it now, supermarkets have also released their own versions, sometimes costing less than cows milk. 

Different milks are nice for different things, for example oat milk is a personal favourite of mine, it gives coffee a creamy taste to it,however, that might not be everyone’s cup of tea (sorry for another pun). Alpro have now released a drink that is specifically for putting in a brew, intriguing isn’t it?

 

Vegan KFC?

Last year KFC joined forces with Quorn to create a vegan burger with the same herbs and spices as its meat counterpart. There was backlash from many who found it counterproductive to have a vegan option from KFC, but if there was not a demand for it, they wouldn’t have produced it. If more consumers buy the KFC vegan option, there could be a reduced demand for  chicken. Which will in time lead to a lesser reliance on factory farms and ultimately less of a strain on the planet.

Before I go on, I am not saying everyone needs to go vegan and that is the answer to the world’s problems. But it is far more effective for the majority to commit to something imperfectly, then rely on a minority to do things perfectly. It is far more realistic for small swaps to become normalised. If one person committed to ‘Meat Free Monday’ for a year it could save the equivalent emissions of driving 348 miles in a car. Scale that up to the population of the UK, and that is the emissions from 23,194,200,000 miles! All from skipping meat for one day a week, which doesn’t seem too much of a challenge. Consider this as some food for thought – if you will.

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