Vegan food and carbon footprint

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Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby michael » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:41 am

genuine question and interest here:

need a bit of education :

not vege/vegan myself and no enviro sychophant; but nevertheless,i do favour vege food and am mildly green.

The argument that vegan food, reduces the carbon footprint over and above meat eaters, is mildly compelling,interesting, and maybe a good conversation item

what i don't understand however is WHY that is the case.

How will eating a quorn pie (which i like and prefer over a chicken burger )specifically have a lower carbon footprint than eating meat.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby camel » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:54 am

It's quite complicated but I revolves around many things, including amount of water and land to produce food and total carbon footprint etc. Feeding animals, particularly livestock is very intensive. The UN noted the risks posed by animal agriculture and at the time highlighted that it contributes more to global warming than all forms of transport combined if I remember correctly.

Along with the obvious animal welfare and environmental impacts of animal agriculture it is also recognised that it contributes to world poverty / starvation. For example in countries where there is limited arable land, farmers often produce grain to sell to western countries to feed cattle, rather than crops for people in that country to eat, because they receive a higher price. Unfortunately only a limited few reap the economic rewards.

There is also other impacts such as the over use of antibiotics which is contributing to bugs becoming resistant to them. You can also add in that these often then contaminate our water systems along with other contaminants.

I've not been vegan that long and I'm sure others will be able to explain more succinctly.

Anecdotaly me and my friends who have gone vegan have also noticed a lot of health benefits from more energy and losing weight to managing long term illnesses like Asthma, psoriasis, IBS etc.

Sorry a bit off the original question. If you are genuinely interested then a watch of "cowspiracy" which is a documentary film answers the carbon footprint well.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby stanman » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:59 pm

camel wrote:It's quite complicated but I revolves around many things, including amount of water and land to produce food and total carbon footprint etc. Feeding animals, particularly livestock is very intensive. The UN noted the risks posed by animal agriculture and at the time highlighted that it contributes more to global warming than all forms of transport combined if I remember correctly.

Along with the obvious animal welfare and environmental impacts of animal agriculture it is also recognised that it contributes to world poverty / starvation. For example in countries where there is limited arable land, farmers often produce grain to sell to western countries to feed cattle, rather than crops for people in that country to eat, because they receive a higher price. Unfortunately only a limited few reap the economic rewards.

There is also other impacts such as the over use of antibiotics which is contributing to bugs becoming resistant to them. You can also add in that these often then contaminate our water systems along with other contaminants.

I've not been vegan that long and I'm sure others will be able to explain more succinctly.

Anecdotaly me and my friends who have gone vegan have also noticed a lot of health benefits from more energy and losing weight to managing long term illnesses like Asthma, psoriasis, IBS etc.

Sorry a bit off the original question. If you are genuinely interested then a watch of "cowspiracy" which is a documentary film answers the carbon footprint well.


That is an interesting post, camel.

There is no doubt that there is a link of some sort between diet and many aspects of health. I am not going to bore you and others with my medical history but until a few years ago I had a worsening inflammatory arthritis requiring an increasing variety of more and more potent drugs to try and control it - they didn't work too well either. I thought I was destined for life in a wheelchair.
A eureka moment then occurred (after endless talking to a variety of medical colleagues who generally were at a loss to know what to do) when I went on a special diet - (details not relevant to a footy forum but it's not entirely vegan!). Over the next couple of years my joints improved dramatically and I slowly stopped taking the anti-arthritis drugs. For the past 4 years on the diet my joints have been fine, and no drugs at all!

Enough of me. Why should this be? There is increasing evidence that the trillions of bacteria that live in the gut can have a profound effect on health, and perhaps lie behind a huge variety of chronic diseases in susceptible people. It is a hot area of research these days, but includes general fitness and well-being, obesity, many immunological disorders (like arthritis & psoriaisis as you say) mental disorders, anxiety, depression, various liver diseases, some cardio-vascular disorders etc..... etc... etc.....

The population of the various gut bacteria is called the "gut microbiome". There is firm evidence that the gut microbiome is heavily influenced by what we eat.
One has to wonder whether the benefits of a vegan diet claimed by our own Scott Laird, and for example by Sergio Aguero, are related to dietary-induced changes in the gut microbiome, in turn reflected in better well-being and enhanced performance. I am not up-to-date with research in this particular aspect of the topic, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is a link!

Lecture and rant over!
An internet search for "gut microbiome" will give more information. Or PM me.
It is a fascinating and rapidly advancing area in medicine these days.

Short and straightforward video about the gut microbiome:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=YB-8JEo_0bI
Last edited by stanman on Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby camel » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:42 pm

Thanks Stanman. I'll have a look in to that - sounds very interesting.

Interestingly I looked at my Strava (running app) data the other day. On average I run a mile 1 min 15 secs faster since going vegan. Same training, same equipment etc. Not overly scientific, but suggests performance improvement even at (very) amateur levels.
Last edited by camel on Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby michael » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:46 pm

thanks for the replkes-and yes i will watch cowspiracy.

I suppose what i struggle 'getting my head around ',is how animal farming creates a bigger carbon footprint, than all the cars/planes etc in the world and their emissions.
i appreciate that agriculture uses machinery/vehicles/transport moving food around-but i still find the concept difficult to 'believe' (and i want to believe/conVINCE myself )

i'll look at the stats you mention
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby michael » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:48 pm

camel wrote:Thanks Stanman. I'll have a look in to that - sounds very interesting.

Interestingly I looked at my Strava (running app) data the other day. On average I run a mile 1 mum 15 secs faster since going vegan. Same training, same equipment etc. Not overly scientific, but suggests performance improvement even at (very) amateur levels.



thats probably more meaningful and relevant than hearing the same from professional sportsmen (although maybe you are naturallyone of the fitter ones anyway Mr Camel ?
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby camel » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:18 pm

Looking around my office now I'd say I'm probably fitter than most, but not as fit as I should be.

I didn't set out to run faster or anything either. I just wanted to keep in shape. The biggest difference in how I felt in terms of energy etc was cutting out dairy. It was hard work to do it to start with, more so cheese as I quite like almond milk etc. But it's been worth it and I don't look back now.

I should point out that if you asked me a few years ago if I'd ever go vegetarian or vegan I would have said no way. But now I'd definitely encourage people to ask themselves "why not try it" based on my own experience. The food is pretty good now too.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Timb » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:01 pm

Interesting question and many points and studies out there. And all a question of how seriously do you take it all?

I read an article that more veg less meat means less climate damaging hot air out of your backside. So that's one...

Same with cows. Less cows less greenhouse gas, they were on about that again on the Liberal Elite TV Show Countryfile last Sunday. ...

There seem to be more rashes allergies skin problems gluten problems than ever in history. Not sure whether preservatives in food or general over engineering of products is the cause.

Mainstream meat is factory produced and kept in the production line with antibiotics but they seem to be running into a few issues.

The big multi national meat companies are seriously looking at new products to replace meat made from insect protein and the like (you think Quorn is Bad) the meat industry as it is now may not be sustainable even in the medium term if resistance to antibiotics continues to rise.

Health wise? Stress was bad for you but now some is good (I agree).

Coffee was bad for you and now 4 cups a day is good.

Alcohol. Well I reckon it's good for you especially as a stress reliever :-)

We as a family don't eat meat in takeaways much any more and me and wife never cos we know how rubbish it is. Aubergine with chilli and black bean is much tastier.

Red meat we eat now maybe once a week if that. Veggie most days especially with a courgette glut at the moment.

Do we feel healthier? No benchmark to compare to but I reckon yes BT eating healthier and less meat.

I yearn for decent bacon especially when I fry a pack of bacon as a treat and then, first it shrinks and half it's weight in water comes out and steams it, then the white smeg oozes out, and then when it's finally finished steaming and started frying you're left genuinely wondering how bad this might be for you?

And then of course there's the doctor telling me and some other mates of a similar age "Eat less meat and dairy products. Fats etc"

So for me it's definitely less meat. Do I feel healthier? Depends how unhealthy I'd actually have been if I hadn't taken the doctors advice at the same time that FGR took meat off the menu.

I don't fancy insect protein sausages and burgers. But I'm looking forward to the family BBQ this Sunday. Everything in moderation, well, almost everything.

Looking forward to the food on Saturday.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby stanman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:52 am

Yes Timb, for most of us moderation is the way forward.

At a personal level, it's this sort of stuff in a recent scientific/medical publication -----
http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1957
------ that encourages me to continue to moderate meat consumption. Not much chance of me though, at greater than 3 score yrs +10, of going "the whole hog" (sic!). But good for the family, especially grand-kids, in encouraging development of their lifetime habits.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Tommo » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:41 am

Timb wrote:
Alcohol. Well I reckon it's good for you especially as a stress reliever.


Haha. I'd like to believe that too!
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Chrisgump11 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:28 pm

Methane from herds of grazing animals has always been down as a big concern re greenhouse gases

In my school days, vegetarians were rare and often picked on. Thankfully diversity has blossomed and will continue to do so. Whether through cost, disease scares of health consciousness, we all seem to be eating less red meat, not sure about poultry.

Having 'vegan days' or eating less meat and dairy may just be equivalent to being 'less pregnant'. For some, you are or you are not. But for others, gradual change is a step in the right direction. I don't think I will ever become vegan, but I consciously eat far less meat and dairy products over the last decade. If I did, it would not be the lifestyle change it would have been in my younger days
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Pitchfork » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:57 pm

Most of my friends eat less meat and vegetarians are growing in number. Vegans are still fairly rare but more and more outlets are catering for their tastes. As others have noted, care for the environment, health and animal welfare all come into the decision making to reduce meat intake. Bottom line, cooked well with fresh ingredients, it is a damned tasty, nourishing meal.

I'm sure carnivores will remain in the majority for quite sometime. But my children's children's children (that was a great record from the Moody Blues), in other words two more generations, will perhaps have a majority of vegetarians.

FGR is doing a great job raising awareness about the rationale for a vegan diet on the back of our football success.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Greeners » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:03 pm

Hi
Is the Q pie available at the outlets or only in the CE etc.?
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Silver Surfer » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:33 pm

What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Foggy » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:38 pm

Silver Surfer wrote:What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?


Broadly speaking a vegan won't eat anything that involves an animal, whereas a vegetarian will eat things that come from an animal but don't require its death to be produced, such as eggs and milk.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Greeners » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:52 pm

Hi
What's the difference between involved and committed?

Well, think of a Bacon and Egg sarnie.
The chicken is involved but the pig is committed.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Silver Surfer » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:18 pm

The problem I have with vegan is the over reliance on things like quorn. For me the basis of a healthy diet is to eat food that is natural, local and in season. I eat more than 50% vegetarian, and a lot of that is vegan, but I am partial to some pheasant or rabbit in season, and Old Spot bacon is wonderful. I doubt if I will ever prefer synthetic gunk that is grown in a vat to proper food.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby voodoobluesman » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:29 pm

I'm with you SS.

Local, seasonal and ethical beats chemical that's been transported half way around the world in my opinion.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby Timb » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:07 pm

Agreed.
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Re: Vegan food and carbon footprint

Postby camel » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:39 pm

As a vegan I tend to not eat too much quorn either. I prefer other alternatives. For example the best chilli I've ever had used lentils instead of mince meat.

I think someone mentioned the numbers of vegans in the thread above. Apparently vegans are 1% of the UK population but the number has grown over 360% in ten years. The past twelve months also saw a 90% increase in searches using the word vegan.

I can't find the figures to prove it but I've seen them before, that show the proportion of vegans per age groups and it shows it's more and more popular in younger age categories. So as someone above says, in generations to come it may be even more numerous. There was a comedy mockumentary by Simon Amstell on BBC3 last year which takes a poke at that notion.

Its a shame it's so hard to measure the impact DV has had on veganism. I imagine the mainstream coverage he generates has done something. That and the awareness of renewable energy and sustainability. I imagine the past week has made him feel the seven years previous were more than worth it.
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