Food and climate change

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slsdly
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by slsdly »

I think the article also mentions emissions due to air transportation. I avoid those foods. No berries from Argentina, or asparagus from California for me. I do eat greens from the USA, which are probably either California or green houses in the winter, but I've been trying to move to more winter friendly crops. Like cabbage. I have saukerkraut fermenting right now :).

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

For the general population, protein intake is likely not hugely important beyond a baseline level unless you are carrying significant amounts of muscle mass or you are trying to gain/lose weight. In terms of losing weight, higher protein intakes can lead to more satiety and better diet adherence.

I’d like to see a list of protein foods that shows emissions and relates it to protein density of the source as well, because I think that is a more useful measure. Otherwise as 7WB5 said, you end up with someone thinking that can easily satisfy their daily protein needs from just onions.

Disclaimer: I carry a lot of muscle mass and am a strength sports athlete, so my protein intake is 3x the general population recommended guidelines (however this is in line with guidelines for athletes).

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

slsdly wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:04 am
Like cabbage. I have saukerkraut fermenting right now :).
hah! same 🍻

and previously i wasn’t willing to pay the premium for the local cabbages but now i think it’s worth it. they’re beautiful ones, too.

one hurdle i’m running into: if i take away my wife’s coffee, she’ll serve me divorce papers :lol:

bostonimproper
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by bostonimproper »

This chart may be useful to the discussion here with regard to emissions per gram protein.
Image

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:09 am

I’d like to see a list of protein foods that shows emissions and relates it to protein density of the source as well, because I think that is a more useful measure. Otherwise as 7WB5 said, you end up with someone thinking that can easily satisfy their daily protein needs from just onions.

Disclaimer: I carry a lot of muscle mass and am a strength sports athlete, so my protein intake is 3x the general population recommended guidelines (however this is in line with guidelines for athletes).
if you know protein density you can sort from the list looking bottom up and pick by hand

basically it’s grains, legumes, seeds (i’ve removed nuts due to almond monoculture being the high protein nut, and peanut is a legume)

then you sort within group:
grains: wheat germ>>white rice
legumes: red lentils>pinto beans>lima beans
seeds: hemp seed>pumpkin>chia

and you basically stick to the “greater than” side of things

due to huge numbers of items and complexity getting a formula is impossible, esp. when accounting for protein quality/composition, price, regionality, etc.

but you can develop erudition and useful heuristics. besides, nutrition is personal, and so is your budget, so find what works for you in the experiment of life.

eg i used to take hemp protein powder shakes due to “completeness” and bioavailability, but eventually developed a disgust for it. i still like the seed but it’s too pricey for me so i don’t currently buy it.

i do use pumkin seed as a staple due to protein density and good taste. same thing with peanuts.

ans flax seed alone i hate, but when i grind and bake it into granola it’s nice, plus adds fiber/fats.

you can get databases from the internet and check data.

lml...

legumes: https://bebiotrendies.com/rankings/legu ... st-protein (some stuff there i’e never seen before—lupin? curious now)

grains: this one gives you data on protein per 200kcal
https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/gra ... rotein.php

nuts and seeds: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/hig ... n-nuts.php
which pretty much looks like what i remember (i don’t have the numbers memorized, just know the “gradient”)
screw conventional almonds though—it’s the killing fields for bees. and “almond milk” is just water anyway.*
chia needs grinding to access the protein, i just eat it for the fiber/fat
sesame i eat for taste and some protein and to diversify
pecans i eat for good fats
walnuts for tast/fats/micronutrients
>>my region produces piñon, which is pricey commercially, but one can forage

*apparently some almond growers are now trying to introduce biodiversity to orchards to preclude pesticide overuse (still “legal”) and stop murdering pollinators. i’ll wait and see...producers do respond to consumer demand/pressure/pr.

eta: greens too have some protein. 5g here, 5g there, adds up & fills gaps
i’m a huge spinach & broccoli fiend, for many reasons, but they do contribute protein.
https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/ve ... cts/2627/2

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Right. I guess the more personal problem I have is finding substitutes with similar nutritional profile to lean meats that can provide me with 35-40g of protein in a single meal. I think I can look at resources for vegan bodybuilding online and find the alternatives there. So maybe down the line I will substitute meat in one of my daily meals with an alternative. Currently I eat 4 meals a day with protein sources per meal allocated as follows: eggs/yogurt, meat, meat, and casein (milk protein).

oldbeyond
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by oldbeyond »

In general the protein craze is sort of like people buying crazily expensive road bikes while being not all that fit. Not a relevant focus for 90% of people who do it. If you’re a professional athlete worrying about the aerodynamics of your helmet or eating 3 grams of protein / kg body weight (you’re eating some multiple of calories of what normal people eat anyway) just to be safe might be reasonable. The normal person looking to get fit would likely be better of focusing on moving more and more intensely and avoiding junk food. All the diets, running vs weight lifting vs crossfit, supplements, forget about it all. If you get very serious about lifting weights protein is somewhat important. But then you are likely eating quite a bit of it already if you’re not a very atypical lifter, and likely don’t need crazy high amounts.
People don’t like to the obvious but strenuous thing and focus on buying the high protein smoothies as a surrogate activity. This dynamic seems to pop up in a lot of the things we complain about in “normal people”.

I think it’s interesting to look traditional cultures. A much heavier focus of on plant based foods, but as the same time I don’t know if there’s ever been one where a vegan cuisine emerged (for a culture at large I mean, not as a special diet for say a priestly caste)? That’s very much dependent on animals being essential for a variety of functions, from muscle power to waste disposal, rather than mere nutritional considerations of course. Right now it seems relevant to me as we’re also facing loss of topsoil and the quality of it. Monoculture grains (monoculture anything really) seems to be part of that. There are likely other solutions to it besides animals, like crop rotation and closing the cycle on human waste, but some forms of animal husbandry will likely be a part of that response.

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

@oldbeyond

Agreed. There’s just a lot of marketing in general surrounding supplements, of which protein powder is one of the most popular.

In regards to traditional culture, I do agree that it doesn’t seem like there are many traditional cultures who opt for vegan diet on a wide scale. I think Rob Greenfield said something similar in his post about why he is not vegan. I will also say that a key factor that shapes diet in traditional cultures is population density and resources available.

As others have pointed out, small scale animal husbandry like pigs, chickens, rabbits etc is likely crucial to such a future. Unfortunately, modern zoning laws in developed countries forbid such things in even moderate population density areas.

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Re: Food and climate change

Post by jacob »

FWIW, the official/expert recommendation for a CC compatible diet is the flexitarian diet(*). Compared to the meat&potato diet or the "standard American diet", it's a significant step in the right (healthier) direction. It also happens to be somewhat "easier" for the average person to implement as it doesn't require much dietary knowledge compared to the more purist or optimized diets out there. E.g. no chance of vegans subsisting on cheesy-pops because it's the only non-meat/non-dairy food item they can think of. Also no need to enter into detailed considerations of amino-acid profiles.

(*) Flexitarian = mostly vegetarian, meat once a week or so.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

white belt wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:11 pm
As others have pointed out, small scale animal husbandry like pigs, chickens, rabbits etc is likely crucial to such a future. Unfortunately, modern zoning laws in developed countries forbid such things in even moderate population density areas.
You can do it in Britain at least but the prevalence of urban foxes mean the chickens tend to get slaughtered.

slsdly
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by slsdly »

Eating vegan is difficult beyond the modern era. Vitamin B12 at the very least might be problematic. When did we learn that pairing vitamin C with plant iron helps absorption? Mind you, since soils are so depleted today, they feed supplements to cattle so you can still get B12 from them. I agree some use of animals is practical/useful for regeneration, e.g. Polyface Farms, reversing desertification in areas that had wild herds, or similar.

While I'm not against/above eating some, tradition in of itself doesn't really speak to me as a justification. Given the amount of meat we eat is correlated with societal wealth, I suspect it is unlikely we are anywhere near traditional amounts. There can be wisdom in ancient practices, but then again, there have also been many beliefs we have since discarded as nonsense. Blood letting, humors, alchemy...
Last edited by slsdly on Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@Alphaville - Interesting discussion you've started here. DW and I have been having this conversation for at least a decade now. It is kind of amazing how something as basic and fundamental as eating has become so complicated.

After a lot of research and thought, I think a focus on small-scale local or regional farming for food production is one of the best ways to address both the mitigation and adaptation aspects of food production and climate change.

Most of the US food system is based on a large-scale, industrial model. The recent problems with processing plants and Covid outbreaks showed how vulnerable that system is. A large network of small-scale food producers, both individual and commercial, will likely be much more resilient in the face of a changing climate. It will also likely lead to a diet that is much more heavily focused on plants.

In terms of limiting carbon through personal consumption, I think the climate and environmental impacts of the food system in the original links you provided are more nuanced. It's pretty obvious that cutting down large swaths of native rain forest in the Amazon or SE Asia for grazing land or palm oil is really destructive. Most of the impacts that are discussed (manure management, pasture management, application of fertilizers, conversions of forests, food processing, etc.) can be significantly reduced or eliminated with responsible, local food production.

I think we should also be considering factors beyond carbon emissions. For example, in the chart above it looks like nuts are one of the best options for protein intake from an environmental perspective. Some varieties are highly water-intensive crops, and are causing other problems in the ecosystem.

With all this said, I think it is fair to say that limiting meat intake is going to improve both environmental and physical health. As I've learned more, I realized it's a bit more nuanced than vegan is better than meat. A vegan subsisting on "impossible burgers" and processed food my have a larger impact than an omnivore that gets most of their protein from local organic eggs and poultry, along with beef, buffalo, or mutton from a responsibly managed farm.

I still find Michael Pollan's simple advice to be some of the best for both health and environmental reasons:

Eat food (meaning real food)
Not too much
Mostly plants

Here are a couple of videos from Salatin that add some additional context to the conversation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBViL8gOaLU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z75A_JMBx4

*I'll add the caveat that a lot of my recent thinking on this issue was influenced by Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It's a bit dated, but you should check it out if you're interested in climate change and food production/consumption.

**I'll also add that I'm currently pretty bad about buying from local farmers due to the cost. I just try to limit my intake of processed food as much as possible, eat primarily a plant-based diet, and get most of my non-plant protein from eggs, fish, chicken, or turkey.

oldbeyond
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by oldbeyond »

My eating habits mostly resemble flexitarianism. I avoid beef but we eat some dairy. But I’ve been working on adding more plant based foods gradually (this weeks menu is clam chowder, fish soup with mixed vegetables and a splash of cream, cheese and carrot patties with ajvar and bulghur and fennel pasta with roasted chickpeas and sunflower seeds if anyone is looking for inspiration).

As can be seen in bostonimproper’s chart (the table at the bottom) cutting the right tail would be massively beneficial, even if it won’t be enough in itself. That’s the brazilian ex-Amazon beef et al.

If you’re not too concerned about protein, I’d say scaling by kcal is most reasonable. You won’t be choosing between eating 1 kg of lettuce or 1 kg of butter. But you likely try to target your calories, even if you only have a vague sense of the energy contents of different foods. See eg https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/ghg-kcal-poore

Changes the picture somewhat for dairy. But the same foods remain the worst/best, basically.

oldbeyond
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by oldbeyond »

@slsdly: I would not consider our current diets very traditional, gains in net energy have transformed what you once ate at feasts (if at all) to everyday staples, and spared us a lot of gruel, porridge and bread (or what the locality in question permitted). Nor is tradition necessarily an argument in itself. I pointed to times past to examine what food production looked like under tighter energy and ecological constraints.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:39 pm
**I'll also add that I'm currently pretty bad about buying from local farmers due to the cost. I just try to limit my intake of processed food as much as possible, eat primarily a plant-based diet, and get most of my non-plant protein from eggs, fish, chicken, or turkey.
hah, yeah, same thing here, but i’m starting to change my mind.

my state produces:
-milk & dairy (which i can buy local)
-corn, including posole corn (same)
-winter wheat (i’ll look into local distro)
-pinto beans (ez everywhere)
-pecans ( pricey at farmers markets)
-valencia peanuts (costco carries)
-green chile (ez everywhere)

these are mostly medium to large operations centered more or less on the rio grande basin + the colorado plateau

but there are many other agricultural operations, dating back to the local pueblo indians (still here) and then the spanish settlers (their descendents still here as well), plus successive conquest+immigration waves.

there are rangelands with beef herds, and some beef auctions, although i think they get processed out of state (prolly amarillo, tx). navajo indians traditionally tend sheep and eat mutton but such meats are hard to find commercially—supermarkets get new zealand sheep instead.

so there are many small/medium/tribal growers of potatoes, fruit (apples, peaches), fresh produce, chiles, beekeepers (we grow alfalfa for cattle feed), poultry (turkey is traditional), plus hippies experimenting with yaks, etc.

we’re lucky to have a statewide food co-op (retail) which coordinates sale and distribution of some of that production. plus we have farmers markets.

i figure money reinvested in the local agriculture is like a tax/subsidy to keep them operational, as i might very well need them further down the line. iow, insurance. still some co$t$$$ i just can’t afford.

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Lemur
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Lemur »

Interesting thread that I will bookmark as it is relevant to my early 2020 experience. I had an 'epiphany' to go vegan/vegetarian due to climate change reasons. Documented in my journal. I lasted about 3 months due to general lack of resolve but also physically falling apart ....odd experience to say the least. Perhaps lack of calcium or something (my protein levels were fine?) but the whatever the diet did - it exacerbated my chronic spinal issues and I generally felt weak despite supplementing Vitamin B12 and following all the rules of veganism.

Anyways....despite failing hard I guess I came out with new perspectives and nowadays only eat meat one or twice a week. I also eat beans/lentils almost daily so ultimately I learned to get adequate protein from more than once source. I guess that is enough of a win.

Looking forward to the lab-grown meat industry. I think there is a big future in that.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Alphaville wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:28 pm

these are mostly medium to large operations centered more or less on the rio grande basin + the colorado plateau

i figure money reinvested in the local agriculture is like a tax/subsidy to keep them operational, as i might very well need them further down the line. iow, insurance. still some co$t$$$ i just can’t afford.
I live in an state/region that is very productive agriculturally. Unfortunately a lot of our major products are produced as monocultures, as is the case in most states.

Fortunately, I think a lot of the best ways to limit our climate impact via diet can be quite cost-effective:

1. Grow your own
2. Forage/hunt
3. Dumpster dive
4. Eat/buy mostly plants
5. Buy foods in season
6. Preserve or freeze foods in season

@Lemur

DW and I went vegan for about 6 months a couple of years ago. DW's didn't respond well to the diet even though she had been vegetarian for 5-6 years as a teenager. It turns out she doesn't respond well to a lot of nuts/seeds and legumes.

Talking to a lot of friends about food/nutrition/diet I began to understand that certain people respond better to certain diets. Many of those include fish or meat. We just focus on eating lower on the food chain and being really conscious about purchases that are coming from abroad.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:52 pm
I live in an state/region that is very productive agriculturally. Unfortunately a lot of our major products are produced as monocultures, as is the case in most states.
we have some decent producers here actually, and very old agricultural traditions, and the co-op does a good job of sorting them. still, when not, a local monoculture beats a transoceanic monoculture. besides, here crops get rotated. but anyway, $8/lb heirloom tomatoes is waaay too much.
Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:52 pm

Fortunately, I think a lot of the best ways to limit our climate impact via diet can be quite cost-effective:

1. Grow your own
2. Forage/hunt
3. Dumpster dive
4. Eat/buy mostly plants
5. Buy foods in season
6. Preserve or freeze foods in season
1. don’t have the space, which saves a lot of energy actually. but i’m still trying: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11269
2. that’s a bit far for me these days, and vehicles, travel, gear, licenses, etc, do not guarantee success. i get the hobby, but unsure about the economic value.
3. a hard no on my part for many reasons. i’m ok buying ugly produce, expiration discount, etc. and i don’t waste any food i buy. but i will not go looking in the garbage.
4. it’s happening more that way lately
5. always!
6. yup, as much as i can.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

see, this is the kind of dilemma that often stumps me (but i’m interested in probing, regardless: it points to interesting questions)

25lb maseca masa harina from mexico $15.26 at walmart (free delivery bundled with other stuff) aka 61c/lb
vs.
10lb manitou organic blue corn masa flour usa grown and packaged $27.99 at costco (shipping included) aka $2.79/lb

not a small price increase! you pay 4.57 times for organic, heirloom corn, with higher nutrition, etc commercialized by a small,business with foodie roots https://woodlandfoods.com/company/about-us/#history
and sold by a large retailer that treats workers more or less decently

over the (heavily sprayed?) industrial corn monoculture from a large global player https://www.gruma.com/en/our-brands/loc ... aseca.aspx
sold by a giant corporation that only stopped being the big bad wolf when amazon stole the attention

(btw, the maseca at 4.4lb is just 65c/lb, so no large discount for size)

please laugh with me a little as i face the imponderable :lol:

-

how much money for what values?

https://www.organicconsumers.org/blog/m ... nsumers-do

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Organic does not necessarily mean more nutritious (meta-analyses have been inconclusive or found no connection between organic label and nutritional content). If you are concerned about pesticide levels, it will vary a lot by type of crop.

Organic also doesn’t mean better for the environment. Commercial scale organic requires more inputs and less yields. Also requires a government certification process which is not free.

Also as Jacob has pointed out, due to how money shoots around the economy, the profits to an organic farm might just go to the farmer buying a second house or boat or whatever.

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