Tofu: This vegan food staple is damaging the planet | The Tab

Source: Tofu: This vegan food staple is damaging the planet

Some things just make you shake your head. Vegetarians, and especially vegans, tend to get on their self-righteous high-horse about how they’re “saving the planet” by declining to eat meat, and how plant-based diets are both more ecologically and ethically sound than that nasty meat. Turns out – surprise, surprise! – that this may not actually be the case.

“A new study by Dr. Graham McAuliffe has revealed tofu could be more harmful to the planet than chicken, beef and pork. Speaking at the National Farmers Union Dr. Graham McAuliffe of the Rothamsted Institute said after researching  tofu, he’d concluded it potentially causes more environmental damage because of the production to make the processed protein source.

“He said: ‘But if you look at tofu, which is processed so there is more energy going into its production, when you correct for the fact that the protein in it is not as digestible compared to the meat-based products, you can see that it could actually have a higher global warming potential than any of the mono gastric animals. To get the same amount of protein, tofu is worse.'”

Nor is tofu the only staple of vegetarian / vegan diets at which this article takes aim: almond milk, coconut, palm oil, cashews, avacados, and quinoa are among the foods in the cross-hairs. The article is written in a UK publication, for a UK audience, but it’s just as applicable to those of us here in the US.

Bottom line? As Barry Commoner put it in his Fourth Law of Ecology, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

There are trade-offs in everything; and it is sustainable agricultural techniques – that is to say, a move away from industrial, commodity-based agriculture to smaller-scale, more local and natural methods – that are our best bet for ecologically- and ethically-beneficial sourcing of foodstuffs, not replacing animal protein with plant-based (and often highly-processed) substitutes.

 

 

While I understand, and even (to a point) sympathize with, those who choose –  for a number of ethical and health-related reasons – to adopt a vegetarian diet, I object to those who attempt to force that lifestyle on the rest of us.

So I found the lower two responses to the upper billboard quite amusing! I tend to fall into the second (lower right) category, although a) I wouldn’t be trying to “bang a hot vegan chick,” and b) it wouldn’t take an economic crisis for me to enjoy a nice dish of hassenpfeffer!


Nota Bene: While I view vegetarianism – especially ovo-, lacto-, and piscato-vegetarianism – as legitimate dietary preferences, I have more issues with veganism, for several reasons.

First, from a physiological and health viewpoint: we are, biologically, anatomically, and ecologically, predatory omnivores. We have more in common, in that regard, with bears or raccoons than we do with horses, cows, or sheep.

That is simple reality, as can be determined from observation of our stereoscopic (hunter, not prey) vision, our dentition (mix of carnivorous and herbivorous teeth), and our digestive system, which is clearly designed to digest both animal proteins and fats, and plant matter – but not exclusively the latter.

By attempting to adopt a plant-only diet, with no supplementation from animal foods at all, we are denying our nature (some would say, our God-given nature). That rarely if ever ends well.

In this context, it is perhaps worth noting that while there have been successful vegetarian societies, historically, there has been no known successful vegan society. That may be because there are nutrients essential not only to our health, but to our reproduction, that come only from animal sources.

Secondly, vegans are more likely to be ideological extremists than are vegetarians who also supplement with dairy, eggs, or fish. And as I indicated above, it is one thing to recognize that someone may choose a particular lifestyle or diet; it is another to have them trying to force that choice on you!