Even if you couldn’t care less about the thousands of animal’s lives being ended for your weekly Big Mac, the impact eating meat has on our environment should be enough to get everyone at least trying to reduce their meat intake.
Global facts and figures (such as those below) can be quite intimidating, when thinking about the land used I think of this way.
1) One square meter of land (i.e. used to grow wheat).
2) This wheat is then processed, travels, and is fed to cattle using up another square of land.
3) This meat is then raised, slaughtered, traveled, processed, and eventually turned into meat products.
Now imagine if that wheat, or whatever grain, soy or crop was being grown, was grown in that square of land also used for cattle. You automatically have twice the land, and twice the food, going straight into our stomachs rather then that of another animal. By cutting out the ‘middle man’ as it so were, we can produce more food, reduce transport needs, water consumption, deforestation and more.
- Raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and growing feed crops) now uses 30% of the Earth’s land mass.
- In 2006, the UN calculated that the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat were about 18% of the global total – more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.
- To produce one pound of animal protein vs. one pound of soy protein, it takes about 12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water.
- In the United States, 70% of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals. Imagine how many people we could feed with that food.
- Friends of the Earth estimates that around 6m hectares of forest land a year – an area equivalent to Latvia or twice the size of Belgium – and a similar acreage of peat and wetlands elsewhere, is converted to farmland a year. Of that, it says, most goes to livestock or to grow the crops to feed the cattle.
‘I have long been an adherent to the cause [vegetarianism] in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.’
- Translation of letter to Hermann Huth, December 27, 1930. Einstein Archive 46-756
‘So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore’
- diary extract (disclaimer, I don’t think anyone would recommend a diet free of fats, and meat free diets should still get plenty of fats from nuts, seeds, avacados, free range eggs, etc)
‘I have always been astonished at the fact that the most extraordinary workers I ever saw, viz., the laborers in the mines of Chili, live exclusively on vegetable food, which includes many seeds of the leguminous plants’
- received from a reader who wrote to Darwin enquiring for evidence in favour of evidence for a vegetarian diet, from a German vegetarian journal
‘[Vegetarianism has a] powerful influence upon the mind and its action, as well as upon the health and vigor of the body. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages’
‘I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us. I hold flesh food to be unsuited to our species’
‘To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body’
Leornado da Vinci
‘The mere idea of permitting the existence of unnecessary suffering, still more that of taking life, was abhorrent to him. Vasari tells, as an instance of his love of animals, how when in Florence he passed places where birds were sold he would frequently take them from their cages with his own hand, and having paid the sellers the price that was asked would let them fly away in the air, thus giving them back their liberty.’
I’m not stating that any of these were 100% vegan (besides, imagine how hard it would have been to find a raw vegan salad in the 1700’s), but there is solid evidence that they all at least supported the view that a reduction in meat and animal consumption would do alot of good for both people, animals, and the world around them.
100g vegan chicken style pieces
1/2 medium pepper
2inch chunk cucumber
7 cherry/plum tomatoes
2tbsp pine nuts or cashews
8 basil leaves
1tsp lemon zest (around 1/2 a lemon)
This was inspired by Co-op vegan pasta dish, which you can easily buy, add some extra ‘chicken’ or chickpeas into for protein, and bam easy lunch done.
Cook the vegan chicken if necessary (I use Quorn in the microwave covered in water for 4 minutes). Then set aside and leave to cool.
When ready, drain the pasta, run under cold water to cool it, and add the veg, chicken, pine nuts, and lemon zest.
Chop the basil finely, and scatter all over just before serving.
This is perfect to take along to a summer barbecue, or you could even pack it up to take to work with you as it lasts up to 5 days in the fridge.
The olives were standardly pelasant in a simple brine, and the sundried tomatoes had a nice herbed oil on them. With the delicate, not overpowering olive oil and balsamic to dip, this was really a lovely board. They also offered a version with grilled vegetable and cheese, fish, or meat.
I think a sourdough or pitta could have been a slight improvement on the white bread, but the way it was presented was just so aesthetically pleasing I could see through it – it reminded me of a bread Jenga!
I opted for the soup of the day – courgette and tomato which I was surprised at how flavourful and notnoverly sweet it was (deinfitely better then your standard Heinz). And the bread that came with it was soft, fresh, and had to be almost an inch thick!
They also had a variety of paninis and sandwiches, such as this cheese and roasted vegetable, which were also available to pre order if you’re in a hurry.
Generously portioned, the dessert menu varied from warm classics, like this sticky toffee pudding with ice cream, to fresh summer sweet treats like eaton mess.
They also had a selection of around five fresh cakes, flapjacks and cookies, as well as scones and sausage rolls.