Food and climate change

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Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 4:12 pm
I agree artificial meat could be the future, I'd like to transition to it if it was more affordable, maybe that's where agricultural subsidies should be heading.
or more market demand to lower costs. so early adopter overpaying is the subsidy.

what animals "do" in our food chain is they concentrate nutrients from plants and make them more digestible/absorbable--b12, dha, fat, protein...

if we can find other methods to concentrate and refine nutrients for greater digestibility and absortion, then why not. e.g. using yeast cultures to produce heme iron: https://asm.org/Articles/2019/May/The-M ... -Burger-Ta

now if someone could find a way to make an "impossible eggyolk"... i think we'll get there eventually.

but per this: https://www.bonappetit.com/columns/guin ... ggs-review
we're not there yet :lol:

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 2:44 pm

as for artisanal vs industrial production.... i should add the terrible news i read recently (where?) that the factory chicken i despise is actually more carbon efficient than the organic pastured chicken i prefer :cry: yeah... not switching to industrial chicken though... i don't actually eat much anymore, sticking to "party weekends" for meat consumption.

eta: a guy quoted in this article claims factory cows are "greener" than grass fed: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28858289 :(
fml...
but yeah we have too many damn cows

and currently i depend on dairy monday through friday, so count me among the perps. successive approximations though...
Yeah this is why I’m not convinced that buying organic/grass fed is any better for the environment. I maybe could see how buying locally raised meat could be better due to reduced miles that the food has to travel to your plate. Organic/grass fed meats and vegetables are less productive per acre due to slower growth rates and losses from pests (at least for veggies), which means they require more inputs. Factory farmed animals also are kept in smaller enclosures so they expend less calories, meaning it takes less feed to get them to harvest weight. I’ve heard the argument somewhere that allowing free ranging of chickens doesn’t actually save any feed costs because their consumption of bugs is offset by the calories expended to forage all day (not sure if I’ve seen hard data on this though). There’s also the issue that spending more might just reverberate through the economy and lead to increased consumption.

As others have said in this thread, the issue is complicated. The earth has too many people eating too much meat. Yet going completely plant-based brings on it’s own challenges. In terms of animal proteins, your best bet to minimize footprint is dairy and eggs. This of course along with substituting plant-based proteins into your diet as much as possible.

Qazwer
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Qazwer »

So the general argument is (if I understand it) the cost savings of factory farming (vegetable or animal) could be greater than that of transportation cost but that externalities of carbon saving and carbon use are not captured by costs born in production or transportation. But in many cases, the economies of scale might actually decrease carbon costs more than additional transport increase them. Add in lack of capture and hard to even measure (or maybe even conceptualize) costs related to animal treatment in factory farms.
So to make an environmentally appropriate optimization, you have to consider individual foods and alternatives at an individual level (matters where you live and sunk infrastructure costs as well). Am I understanding the broad outlines?

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Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
Yeah this is why I’m not convinced that buying organic/grass fed is any better for the environment.
wellll... organic reduces pesticide use and petrochemical fertilizers which have effects beyond the farm.

grass fed is healthier to eat, and less cruel for the animals who actually live like they're supposed to rather than penned up in the muck and fattened with corn and antibiotics.

it's better also for water, the soil, etc, like @western cedar mentions.

i mean, if we all just ate the grass-fed cattle that could be supplied by existing natural pastures, it would be ideal for humans and better animals. problem is i believe our demand exceeds pasture capacity. so we feed the cows corn and soybeans and pump them with antibiotics.

and so brazilian ranchers are burning the amazon to turn it into savanna--pastures! hah... a lot of cows grow grass-fed in the range and are grain finished in pens to increase their weight. paying more for grass fed... reduces the incentive to fatten up (maybe). but the incentive to burn down the amazon is not gone.

anyway for me the #1 pareto reduction at this point is to reduce beef demand. that bit alone makes a huge difference. gonna stick to this for now.
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
I maybe could see how buying locally raised meat could be better due to reduced miles that the food has to travel to your plate.
right, but in the particular case of beef the majority of emissions are from the belly not from transport. that tasty tripe in the menudo... that's the culprit :lol: (actually in all seriousness it's the bacteria that live in there)

so yeah... ruminants generate methane just by being ruminants.
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
Organic/grass fed meats and vegetables are less productive per acre due to slower growth rates and losses from pests (at least for veggies), which means they require more inputs.
eh... th... this is a lot more complicated than that. some of it has to do with the nitrogen cycle that was mentioned elsewhere... green revolution agriculture is dependent on petrochemical fertilizers that require extraction from the ground, effluent is often noxious and destructive, externalities are significant (eg see bees and almonds).

but again, there are issues of sheer capacity, and how much of our agriculture goes to feed animals. especially, again... cows.
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
Factory farmed animals also are kept in smaller enclosures so they expend less calories, meaning it takes less feed to get them to harvest weight.
yah. and they're rubbery and taste like shit too :lol:

seriously there is some vile tasting weirdly textured chicken with soft rubbery bones out there. i've eaten my share. i'd prefer not to again...
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
I’ve heard the argument somewhere that allowing free ranging of chickens doesn’t actually save any feed costs because their consumption of bugs is offset by the calories expended to forage all day (not sure if I’ve seen hard data on this though).
maybe.... but it's a healthier animal. just like you're healthier exercising and spending time outdoors.imagine having to live cooped up in sarcophagus eating medicated food and sitting in your own shit all day. gross.

vat meat if done right could be a lot cleaner than the factory and also maybe more efficient.

i've raised chickens. they like to move. so i prefer to pay a farmer that lets their chickens run around, and i know that it costs more because there are fewer hidden externalities.
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
There’s also the issue that spending more might just reverberate through the economy and lead to increased consumption.
i am not sure that i can subscribe to the economic theory that purchasing only inferior goods decreases our environmental impact. because many of our cheapest goods are in fact mispriced by ignoring externalities like the environment, bad labor practices, tyrannical regimes, corporate abuses, the true cost of fossil fuels, etc.

i think paying for quality in food is a good investment.
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
As others have said in this thread, the issue is complicated. The earth has too many people eating too much meat. Yet going completely plant-based brings on it’s own challenges.
yes, it is very complicated. there are many contradictions. a lot is hard to compute. so the temptation to give up completely is big. but i just can't help caring about food and what it takes to make it plus our effect on wildlife plus health etc. so i keep trying things.
white belt wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 9:35 pm
In terms of animal proteins, your best bet to minimize footprint is dairy and eggs. This of course along with substituting plant-based proteins into your diet as much as possible.
eggs yes, dairy... im not sure. but yeah i eat eggs for breakfast and dairy for lunch and/or dinner. i'm aware of my limitations... will seek further optimization as the brain and body get accustomed.

as for plant protein... at least now i've found "80% satisfactory party meats". :lol:

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville and WRC

Here's what I could find comparing the environmental impacts of factory raised vs pasture raised beef: https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downl ... report.pdf

I don't really want to argue that much about whether one is better for the environment than the other. Feeling like you're helping the environment or addressing climate change by selecting grassfed/organic meat over conventional meat strikes me as something that makes a person feel good without actually having any substantial effect (I forget the term for this). I'm not making this a personal attack (I eat beef too), I'm just saying that I think claiming you are being green by selecting grassfed/organic is kinda like claiming you are green because you just bought a brand new Tesla (and like buying a Tesla, it is not a scalable solution).

Disclaimer: I eat beef and I often get grassfed beef, however I do it because I think it tastes better. I have no illusions that I'm making a "green" choice by eating beef (or other meats) in any form. As Jacob pointed out on the first page of this thread, nearly everyone makes their food decisions based on something other than what is best for climate change.

With regards to grassfed beef being healthier, consider that a lot of the purported health benefits are likely inconsequential in a diet that otherwise has sufficient micronutrients:

-Omega 3's: 3.5 ounces of grassfed beef has ~100 mg of ALA, or you can just eat 1 gram of chia seeds (175mg ALA), or 1 gram of flaxseeds (228 mg ALA), or half-cup of cooked brussel sprouts (135mg ALA), or 3 walnuts (~150mg ALA). Eating meat for ALA makes no sense.

-Less Fat: negligible compared to conventional beef, not to mention fat levels can be manipulated through preparation and cooking methods

-Lack of antibiotics/growth hormone: my quick search didn't reveal much evidence that these compounds in beef have an affect on human health at existing levels (maybe I missed something?)

Regarding dairy, I am just going off of the Live Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) chart I linked earlier in the thread (just one dimension but nevertheless an important one). I also found this source which talks about the inputs needed for a gallon of milk so you can draw your own comparisons to other sources of animal protein: https://www.worldwildlife.org/magazine/ ... nvironment

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Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

milk feed conversion ratio is fine.

for carbon, the problem with dairy is the outputs: ruminants fart methane all day :lol:

methane is a potent greenhouse gas: https://www.iea.org/reports/methane-tra ... ate-change

this is why cheese in particular, and dairy in general, rate high on the carbon thing: https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/wha ... and-dairy/

so yes, grass fed or corn fed or ambrosia fed, we have too many ruminant stomachs making methane altogether. that's the carbon problem, which is our current global dumpster fire emergency.

and so i don't eat beef--but i still eat dairy. so, dairy has to be is my next successive approximation in carbon reduction. yes, some grass fed beef can help carbon sequestration, but we have too many damn cows. just like we have too many damn cars tesla or no.

for other environmental problems from dairy, look at the water requirements in the very document you provided for the feed conversion. i don't know how accurate that is, but we face a freshwater bottleneck problem in the future (agriculture vs people), and effluent from dairies is always a problem that requires significant environmental management.
white belt wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:31 pm
I'm not making this a personal attack (I eat beef too)
of course there's no beef :D

anyway, i gotta make dinner. more about the other stuff later.

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Eggs require far more water per gram of protein than milk. Google tells me that 50-55 gallons of water for a typical egg produced from grain fed chicken. Numbers for eggs and dairy in “pasture-raised” systems are harder to come by because of all of the variation and variables involved.

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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@WB and Alphaville:

The idea I was trying to get at earlier is that it is arguably just as or more important to focus on moving away from industrialized food systems than cutting out certain animal products. I'm also a hypocrite in this regard, as almost all of my food is from "big agriculture." During the summers and fall it is a lot easier to eat locally. I also eat meat a couple times a week, and beef probably once every couple of months.

I didn't have time to look closely into the Oxford paper, but noticed they state that "grass-fed" can mean a lot of different things and occurs at different scales. Grass-fed beef could represent an "industrial" operation or it could be part of a local, systems-based, multi-crop operation.

I've noticed the same dynamic with aquaculture in the PNW. Some operations are a net-positive for water quality and the environment. When you have industrial seafood operators trying to "grow" non-native atlantic salmon it is basically like a floating feedlot and causes long-term environmental problems.

I agree that cutting out or reducing meat, particularly beef, and animal products is a very responsible environmental and climate-conscious choice. I think starting your own garden or buying from a responsibly managed CSA is probably even better (at that point one has probably already significantly reduced CAFO products and beef anyway).

I mentioned earlier that a lot of my thinking on this reflects Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She was wrestling with these questions 20 years ago. You can check out Joel Salatin or Dan Barber on YouTube (or Netflix) for more discussion on systems-based farming. They'll quickly lead you down a rabbit-hole.

I could definitely be wrong on all of this. It just seems that the industrialized agricultural model is reliant on cheap fuel and water that may not always be around. The taste and quality of the products also seem lacking.

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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Here's some data that others might find interesting*:

Global meat consumption per capita: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/per- ... untry=~USA

Land requirements by national diet: https://ourworldindata.org/agricultural ... obal-diets

Some takeaways are that if I am eating 6 ounces of meat a day (~55kg a year), that would put me right around the meat consumption per capita levels of countries like Cuba, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic (roughly in the middle of countries around the world). Cuban and Dominican national diets if adopted by the entire world would result in less agricultural land than is currently used. Does that mean 6 ounces of meat a day is sustainable? Probably not due to population growth, globally increasing meat consumption per capita, and the fact that food resources aren't evenly distributed around the globe. However, I think it is still interesting to see how your diet and meat consumption stack up compared to consumption patterns from other parts of the world. It might help to put into perspective how out of whack the meat consumption is in affluent countries.

* = This doesn't account for global population growth, so perhaps this isn't the most useful data if one is trying to project towards the future. It also doesn't include dairy consumption, fish/seafood, or eggs, but that data is available on the same site. Land requirements also aren't the only resource involved for food production.

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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

ok back for a little bit, before catching a movie:
white belt wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:31 pm
With regards to grassfed beef being healthier, consider that a lot of the purported health benefits are likely inconsequential in a diet that otherwise has sufficient micronutrients:

-Omega 3's: 3.5 ounces of grassfed beef has ~100 mg of ALA, or you can just eat 1 gram of chia seeds (175mg ALA), or 1 gram of flaxseeds (228 mg ALA), or half-cup of cooked brussel sprouts (135mg ALA), or 3 walnuts (~150mg ALA). Eating meat for ALA makes no sense.

-Less Fat: negligible compared to conventional beef, not to mention fat levels can be manipulated through preparation and cooking methods

-Lack of antibiotics/growth hormone: my quick search didn't reveal much evidence that these compounds in beef have an affect on human health at existing levels (maybe I missed something?)
yeah, eating grassfed beef for omega 3 is like eating brown rice "for the protein" :lol:

grass fed is definitely leaner though. and in spite of this tastes better--why? placebo? omega 6 to 3 ratio, more like? more saturated fat and less trans fat in grass fed? something, i don't know.

see: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-top ... ef-tallow/

maybe grass fed has more heme iron??? since it moves more....

you know a hard working muscle is more flavorful right?

anyway, i only know that once, looking for the cheapest score, i bought a giant industrial brisket from texas, and it was the only time meat almost made me puke. it was like 50% grease. and it did not taste good. in the end i fed most to the dogs

grass fed liver is tastier too.

yes i have done taste tests. bison is #1. ok, deer maybe is #1. but commercially, pastured liver is so yummy. grain fed... needs a lot of onions :lol:

then again there are grades of beef. from prime to choice to select... all the way to canner (vile).

maybe grass fed beef is just sold as a better grade or something?

in any case, from the dumpster fire emergency of carbon and climate change... industrial meat appears more efficient :lol: see https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-shee ... -beef.html

from the point of view of world hunger, grass fed cows can convert what we can't digest, and industrial cows compete with humans for food.

too many imponderables. either way--too many damn cows farting methane is evident. let's just reduce demand first before we burn up, worry about small details later. no?

--

anyway coincidental to all this, the past week i 've been looking at ala supplementations. comparing content, price, taste, digestibility, availability, etc...

i'll post details later. but spoilers: flax wins by far. my official new staple. just make sure to keep it fresh though, cuz it goes easily rancid and plastifies: linseed oil used in carpentry and painting and mud floors... is flax.

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Why flaxseed over chia seed?

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Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 11:25 am
@Alphaville

Why flaxseed over chia seed?
better omega 3/6 ratio:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chia-vs-flax

plus fattier, which is great for hunger/keto

and 1/4 of the price:

currently looking at my whole foods app,

15 oz organic chia $10.99
16 oz organic brown flaxseed $2.99

digestibility:

my pandemic flax supply (giant) was old and smelling a bit funny and causing... ahem a bit of digestive issues. omega 3 eventually goes rancid even inside the seed. so i replaced it with fresh organic flaxseed.

flax is hard to chew but i've been pulverizing it in an electric grinder and adding it to my lunch shakes. i pulverize on the spot, or in the morning for brownbagging, for maximum freshness.

ground flax makes a thick and filling whey shake. (btw i also add shredded coconut for fiber, flavor, and medium chain fats). this is not for recovery, which requires fast protein absorption, but for meal substitution, which requires it to stick to one's ribs.

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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

PROTEIN SUBSTITUTION

im having a hard time finding a replacement for the cheapness, quality, and versatility of whey protein isolate. while it's not meat, it's still dairy. btw i buy "grass fed" whey lol. has no additives! (except a bit of lecithin i think)

and i'm trying, but plant alternatives are nowhere nearly as good.

e.g. a pea protein serving can go as high as $2 per portion:
https://www.amazon.com/PURIS-Organic-Pr ... 08VZP5DSP/
that looks very high quality, and i'd like to try some, but damn. file under "party meats" :lol:

now one may ask "why don't you just eat some natural peas"?

eh, i love to eat peas, fresh or dry, but besides the issue of starch control, peas contain indigestible raffinose --if i eat too much of it my large intesting plays wagner operas. ok now and then but not in large amounts or on a daily basis.

and yeah, we lack the enzimes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raffinose ... properties
and beano is far from cheap.

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Why do you get whey protein isolate instead of concentrate? I just go with unflavored whey protein concentrate from Bulk Supplements which can be ordered in large quantities (lower cost and less packaging). No additives of any kind, just pure white gold. I've never thought that isolate was worth paying for over concentrate unless maybe you have some problems digesting dairy. I also don't think grassfed is worth it for protein powder but YMMV.

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Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 2:09 pm
@Alphaville

Why do you get whey protein isolate instead of concentrate?
because it has no lactose, yeah

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Delete (duplicate post)

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Genetically modified salmon to be sold in USA for the first time. They grow in indoor tanks twice as fast as conventional salmon: https://apnews.com/article/whole-foods- ... 4560d7eb8a

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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

i bought some bacon flavor tempeh and it was pretty decent.

it's not a true fake meat, it's tempeh, which is a fermented block of soybean.

but this "bacon" has a nice smoky-sweet flavor and it goes well with fried eggs.

12g protein for 4 slices, i got 9 in the packet. tasty, and why not, especially since it was on sale. not the cheapest for everyday, but maybe i end up swapping it for real bacon every so often.

i also got 2 regular tempeh blocks that will get grilled and eaten in some form.

i also tried beyond sausage the other day and it was pretty decent, flavor-wise. texture just good enough, lacks "chew." the burger is better. only real problem with this sausage was... it's way pricier than actual pork :lol:

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