More food for thought…?

We all know that we need to eat, but how much thought do we give to what we do eat? My mum always used to say about our family ‘We live to eat, not eat to live!’  so maybe is it understandable that I have a natural passion for food, though that doesn’t necessarily explain why I like to pore over restaurant menus. This month at the SCA meeting  on Tuesday 19th February, the SCA Food Group will be giving a full presentation on food and its links to climate change.  We’ll discuss what we could and should really be doing in the interests of the planet. Have you noticed how strongly food has featured in the media during recent months? The Climate Coalition (UK) has shed light on findings from the ‘Priestly International Centre for Climate’, warning that climate change is already affecting food crops in the UK. This effectively bats away the widely held view that only people in distant countries in the world will suffer from climate change. (You can find more information about this report here) 

As we discuss and explore the environmental challenges we face, more and more people seem to be becoming vegan.  Many others are adopting a ‘flexitarian’ diet, reducing their consumption of red meat and dairy products.  The best article I’ve found about Flexitarianism is courtesy of ‘Healthline’ (shown here ) which explains how to eat well making sure you still retain all your dietary nutrients. It  also encourages you to curb cravings of processed sugary foods (this bit I was in the dark about).  The bigger revelation comes from the Norway-based thinktank ‘Eat’ and the British journal ‘The Lancet’ . They have produced together dietary guidelines which if followed would constitute a sustainable diet capable of feeding an estimated world population of 10 billion people. This article from the Guardian (found here) explains it well. The suggested meal plans help, but I really want to ask “If I give up meat altogether, can I eat a couple of eggs a week instead?” Those who have been disciplined enough to go vegan, or have been eating plant-based diets for a long time now, will probably welcome articles like this one from MSM that gives a range of vegan desserts using only three ingredients found here). Or follow new ‘role models’ such as 35-year old vegan chef King Cook (courtesy of the Guardian here) whom encourages more people to try his dishes in a trendy setting in the capital. How many will also applaud the first completely-vegan suite in the world, within a Hilton hotel in London is debatable given the price but author Chris Mandle writes with good humoured honesty about his experience and you can read this here. 

It isn’t just what we eat but what we throw away that has been in the headlines recently; a great little article here uncovers what it means to ‘upcycle’ waste food. However, given all our strides to eat better for ourselves and the planet, there is also a plea from famous restaurant critic Jay Rayner that reminds us that we are only human and we can’t always eat the perfect things (found here). My mum has embraced the Flexitarian diet in the last 12 months, after reading a disturbing article on animal welfare while I have tried to cook a lot more vegetarian and vegan dishes in the last few months. But I know that compared to a lot of my SCA colleagues I’m miles behind on eating well for the planet. So, in part inspired by them, I’m giving up meat for the religious period of Lent. There’s a long way to go, but I’m going to really try and stick to it and plan ahead a bit more to avoid the temptation of going down a ‘meatier’ route. I’ll be keeping a diary of my progress and hopefully you can read all about it during the month of May.