Two articles that have been hanging around my laptop tabs for days now - one dealing with the hypothetical question of what a world would be like if everyone went vegetarian tomorrow, and the other discussing the best ways to avoid food fraud. I've been mulling them both over for a few days over coffees, teas and last thing at night, so I thought it would be good to share them here too. I'd love to know your thoughts on them- here's a few of mine...
Funnily enough, my best friend and I had this exact conversation two weeks ago, and it lasted for about three hours. It's easy for me to be flippant, as I think it is with a lot of vegans and vegetarians, and say that the whole world turning vegan would be the best case scenario for the planet, but logistics and world economies aside, there is a WHOLE lot more to this debate than food. When you start looking into medical advances, it gets a lot more difficult to separate our species from every other creature on the planet. Despite this- I am still resolutely for a vegan planet that doesn't depend on trading creature's lives for sustenance. But having your beliefs challenged every once in a while is a good thing. You start seeing where your logic ends, how well your arguments stand up against someone that totally disagrees with you, and where your gaps in knowledge are. I'm so grateful to have people around me that I can do this with on a 200-mile car journey home at midnight. Try it with someone you know.
As much as the previous article deals with a hypothetical world, this one deals with reality. Pizzas with 35 different ingredients that have passed through 60 countries and five continents is a terrifying example of the state of the food industry. "Buying locally" and "cooking from scratch" are all easy things to say, much harder things to put into practice. I've found the easiest way to do this is to just cut some foods out altogether- and if you end up craving them then try and make them from scratch. Where as vegan margarine used to be my only vegan-equivalent product I'd buy regularly, I stopped buying it completely after learning more about palm oil, and am yet to need it. I even managed to make a birthday cake without any!
Cooking from scratch, as this article suggests, with whole, raw ingredients, is something that takes time to get used to- things like allowing that dinner is going to take around an hour to make each night and you'll need to make extra so you can eat lunch the following day- but I believe it's the only way to gain a true connection to the food you're eating, to feel in control of how you're sustaining yourself and not be left in the dark about where all those ingredients you cant pronounce come from. It's easy to see how you can rack up the different vegetables and fruit once you start making it yourself, and yes it does take longer, but maybe we should be spending longer on these things. Maybe as much as its a supermarket's responsibility to know exactly what is happening at every leg of their supply chain (and don't let them for one minute tell you otherwise), it's our responsibility as consumers not to be duped into food wastage, pre-prepared meals offering next-to-nothing nutrition and vegetables and fruit that belong in the opposite season to the ones we're shopping in.
Like I said, a fair bit to think about. You can read the entire article here.