Disease Proof

Eating for the Planet...

Okay, I’ve heard of “low-carb” diets—which are nonsense—but what are “low-carbon” diets? Kenneth R. Weiss of The Los Angeles Times explains:
"No hamburger patties?" asked an incredulous football player, repeating the words of the grill cook. He glowered at the posted sign: "Cows or cars? Worldwide, livestock emits 18% of greenhouse gases, more than the transportation sector! Today we're offering great-tasting vegetarian choices."

The portabello burger didn't beckon him. Nor the black-bean burger.

"Just give me three chicken breasts, please," he said -- and with that, swaggered off to pile potato wedges onto his heaping plate.

Although this perhaps wasn't the most accepting reaction, it resulted in the desired dietary shift as Bon Appétit Management Co. rolls out its new Low Carbon Diet in 400 cafes it runs at university and corporate campuses around the country. Chicken, it turns out, has a lower carbon footprint than beef…

… Bon Appétit has begun to reverse the trend of super-sized meals. Burgers on many college campuses, for instance, have been downsized from one-third to quarter-pounders, with prices adjusted accordingly.

Helene York, a Harvard- and Yale-educated MBA, is part carbon cop -- "I spent a lot of time beating up our suppliers" -- and part mom, reminding customers that their mother was right: You should eat more vegetables. You shouldn't waste food.
Look at this graphic. It pretty much lays it on the line. Foods like beef are rotten for the environment. Check it out:

(Click to see it more clearly.)

I guess us nutritarians are already eating low-carbon diets—yippee! Actually, we’ve seen this sort of thing before. Remember this:

We already know these animal products are eroding our health, but apparently they’re walloping our environment too. Maybe that’s why so many people are growing kitchen gardens. From The New York Times:

It’s something you have to experience yourself, after doing something as simple as planting basil in a window box, or salad greens in one big pot and a no-fail cherry tomato plant in another.

Kitchen gardens are as old as the first hunter-gatherers who decided to settle down and watch the seeds grow. Walled medieval gardens protected carefully tended herbs, greens and fruit trees from marauders, both human and animal. The American colonists planted gardens as soon as they could, sowing seeds brought from Europe.

Call them survivor gardens.

Now, they are being discovered by a new generation of people who worry about just what is in that bag of spinach and how much fuel was consumed to grow it and to fly it a thousand miles.

Roger Doiron, a kitchen gardener in Scarborough, Me., produced so many vegetables last year that there are still a few rutabagas in his root cellar. “Our seed order was $85, and we did not buy a single vegetable from June through January,” he told me by phone earlier this month. He hadn’t planted peas yet, he said, but the spinach he planted last fall was greening up.
I’m not much of an environmentalist, but it does make me feel good that my food consumption isn’t straining our planet—know what I mean?
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Llouise - April 23, 2008 10:49 AM

Great blog!

I also am back into gardening. I don't have the perfect setting at the moment, and had been doing the ol' "When I..." thing; but decided not to wait for some ideal situation to back into the swing. I've got lots of greens growing on a small balcony right now, and am growing super-nutrient microgreens indoors too -- easy-peasy!

Michael - April 23, 2008 1:40 PM

I just signed up for a CSA at a local farm only 2 miles from my house. In a couple of weeks I start getting a large quantity of fresh, organic, local produce once a week for the next 6 months.

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