When I first read “Diet For A Small Planet” by Francis Moore Lappe the message was clearly a sustainable food source cannot be maintained by a global population dieting high on the food chain. I think we would all agree that a meat based diet is unsustainable. The position of consuming foods high on the food chain (specifically animal products) evokes numerous additional questions such as carbon foot print, environment impact and human health.
Health is the question that stands out. We consume food to nourish our bodies. Our bodies are a micro eco system within the global eco-system. What is the cost of not sustaining our eco-system’s in the context of the global environment? The economic cost is in health care dollars is in the billions. Environmentally, the impact is significant with medical waste caused in treating diet related disease. Philadelphia water tested high for drugs that could not be filtered from tap water because their filtering isn’t set up to filter drugs. Economic sustainability is integrated into all of this. Any disruption in our eco-systems disrupts the economy.
Is the vegetarian/sustainable approach over emphasized? Does one have to be vegetarian or can a omnivores diet be as sustainable if the meat is locally grown and consumed as do the Chinese? Is a vegan consuming Potato Chips and Oreo’s (junk food) compromising the sustainable diet? To my point, I think that vegetarianism is part of the equation and that low carbon foot print and a balanced nutrient dense diet are essential. I am vegan 37 years and became a vegan to sustain my body’s health. I will be 65 years old and have no physical ailments nor take any drugs. Vegetarianism is the culinary pinnacle of a sustainable cuisine if properly applied to diet and food quality.