Saturday, 8 July 2017

Turn the world vegetarian



Humans love eating meat. Vegetarians and vegans (this blogger is a vegetarian) don't stand a chance. In quite a few countries in the world, you simply have to starve if you are a vegetarian.  In many others, your only ordering choice in a restaurant is likely to be an apology of a salad, that could more appropriately be fed to a cow !

Any chance that you can turn the human race into vegetarians ? Well, at least one company thinks so. The aptly named Impossible Foods based in California (where else)  would like to try. An interesting Q&A with the founder that I read in the Guardian, prompted this post.

The logic for turning the human race vegan is impeccable. The largest environmental impact that humans have created is from rearing animals for food - cows being the primary culprit. The resources utilised - water, land, etc - per pound of meat is also the largest. The absolutely atrocious conditions in which we rear and kill farm animals has to be a permanent blot on the human species (pig farmers in Iowa - are you listening ?) And if the population of farm animals decreases, there is a better chance of wildlife prospering,  as one of the chief causes of habitat loss is grazing. 

Of course, this is not going to happen. Go back to the first sentence of this post. 

I however have this feeling, totally unsubstantiated by data, that this might be a long term trend. Technology in food production is on the cusp of a revolution. After all humans don't eat meat because they like to kill animals. They eat it because they love the taste. If, and when, plant based foods are engineered to taste like meat, there is every chance that people will start to switch. Especially if it is cheaper.  And then, slowly, the ethical side of it will start to play a part. If you can satisfy your nutrition and the craving for taste without killing, why wouldn't you do it. After all, if many of the meat eaters actually saw how their meat was being produced, a good proportion will turn vegetarians immediately !

But this is not going to happen in a hurry. Impossible Foods is just a fad and, this being California, fads are always welcome. But good luck to them. I might even come out of retirement and open the India branch - at least it will get me into the good books of the awful gau rakshaks !

But one day, in the distant future, maybe 100 generations later, our descendants will look upon with horror at "prehistoric man" for killing and eating animals. And maybe somebody will read my post from the archeological archives and pronounce me as a prescient wise man !

By the way, the photo is that of a veggie burger .

10 comments:

  1. always do love to read your musings... but awful gau rakshaks is speaking about a issue without being completely aware of the issue... most of them are cow smugglers or thieves that are attacked and while no attack on anyone is condoned by self.. I still think we should not get carried away by media narratives!!

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    1. Me too - love it when you comment. , Yeah I'm not close to the dairy or meat industry, but for two reasons I called them awful - Firstly vigilantism and certainly lynching should have no support in my view, whatever be the provocation , and secondly we have far greater problems in India than cows, and we would do good to focus on them.

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  2. Yep, in a matter of generations, life will be far different from today, and beyond our wildest imaginations. Especially in what we eat and how we eat. What we see now is all the turbulence related to the transition. Transformative changes are always fraught with problems because we humans are innately resistant to changes.

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    1. Indeed so. The pace of change is actually so rapid that I wonder whether the species can even cope.

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  3. Anne in Salem10/7/17

    There are a number of cooking magazines that promote "Meatless Mondays" in order to promote the health and well-being of the eaters and of the planet. The pace will be slow, but US consumption of meat has been in decline in the last decade, particularly of beef. I'm sure the price of meat during the recession was a significant factor in the beginning of the decline.

    You ask, "if you can satisfy your nutrition . . . without killing, why wouldn't you do it?" It is very difficult for males who are physically active to meet nutritional requirements for protein through vegetable sources. It's much simpler for most women and older folks to consume sufficient protein through a vegetarian diet, but we are married to or raising and cooking for these meat-eaters. Preparing both a meat dinner and a vegetarian dinner is a lot to ask most nights. It's a tough balance.

    Nice to see you back!

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    1. Technology will , in future, make meatless diet equally full of protein to satisfy the needs of physically very active people. I do believe the trend that you outlined in your comment will slowly gather steam - but only if plant based food can be made to taste similar to meat. Taste will be the barrier to cross, I think.

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    2. Anne in Salem10/7/17

      Relying on technology is a challenge when perfectly safe GMOs and perfectly safe additives are vilified. The opposition to protein-enhanced produce will be deep and vociferous, creating misunderstanding, distrust and sound-bite shallowness of reasoning.

      What a waste of plant food to make it taste like meat! Plant food is wonderfully delicious as is. But I suppose if beef flavored lentils are the only way to bring people around, we go that direction. Maybe the scientists can make kale taste like chocolate . . .

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    3. Agree - what a waste to try and make vegetarian food taste like meat. But then, if that's what the consumer wants ......

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  4. First of all:
    1. California (where else)
    2. Of course, this is not going to happen. Go back to the first sentence of this post.
    You are hilarious. How are you so good at this, I'm almost jealous.

    I've been watching a lot of videos from peta, and the vegan police in general these days and veganism does seem good for the economy, environment, and health. It is the future and Impossible Foods got it.

    Most people from western countries love eating meat because they are just used to it and that is how they have been raised. Making veggies taste like meat can be a good way to convert them.

    That burger looks disgusting, btw. Sorry :P

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    1. Awww. Very kind of you. And yes indeed; the burger looks disgusting. As a vegetarian, I absolutely don't want veggie stuff to look and taste like meet.
      But then its targeted at hardcore carnivores like our good friend Deepa :)

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