Thursday, 29 October 2009

Eat with your environmentally friendly head

If you read most of the coverage of Lord Stern’s interview in The Times a couple of days ago you’d think he was advocating an immediate and universal switch to veganism.

Really, he’s making the important point that the meat industry has negative effects on our environment and that if we’re to tackle climate change one important area to look at is meat production and consumption.

For we all eat far too much of it. Bacon for breakfast, beef sandwiches for lunch, pepperami at petrol stations and steak for supper. The western and European mantra of meat and two veg is ingrained in most of us from an early age but you only need to look the cuisine of say Kerala, to realise how full and varied a low meat diet can be.

And that’s the key. Stern isn’t advocating a ban on meat as some coverage has interpreted, he’s just suggesting we tweak our protein laden tables. Turn the leftovers from a Sunday roast into soup, try out a mushroom risotto, pasta primavera, asparagus frittata or go crazy and buy a bag of lentils occasionally.

Adopting a regimen based on nut roasts, tofu and soy milk is not what this debate is about. It’s about being abstemious with what we have, making sacrifices for our future and eating with a conscience. Forego a weekly portion of meat and try something from the pages of imaginative fodder in Nigel Slater’s new book Tender or Simon Hopkinson's vegetable creations.

It wasn’t that hard to start recycling, turning off light switches and getting on a bike once in a while and this is just a step along the same path.


  1. I agree with you: a little less meat is kinder on the environment and probably better for your health too.

    But I do understand those that recoil in horror at the thought of a meat and dairy free life... my boyfriend's flatmates are vegan and stumped for something to cook for them a couple of nights ago I went for a very seasonal punpkin and chickpea curry ( unfortunately it was rather bland. I will bung some chilis in next time (and maybe some chicken!)....

  2. Ethics aside, veggie food is yummy! Agree with you about Keralan cuisine - my favourite is Rasa in Stoke Newington