Eating for a few billion

“Meat Free Monday”, “flexitarian” “bio-dynamic”… what’s going on? Diets can be faddish and fast – Dr Atkins, Dukan to name a few – but a new food sensibility is emerging, influenced by concern for, believe it or not, issues larger than our own personal motivations.  In fact, the realisation we need to share the earth’s bounty with a few billion others, is proving to be a mighty positive motivation.

As movies such as Food Inc., books by Michael Pollan such as Omnivores Dilemma and Australian initiatives such as the Kitchen Garden Foundation enter the public mindset, we increasingly realise that the “we” in “we are what we eat” is the sum total of us, and that food doesn’t begin its journey in the supermarket.  The water, fertilizers, land – the animals and nature supplanted by our traditional Western diet – are all part of the food cycle.

As evidenced by the international embracing of Meat Free Monday (also known as Meatless Monday) and adoption by many cities in the US, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa – examples being San Francisco, Washington, Cape Town, Tel Aviv, Ghent and Sao Paulo – and high-profile chefs such as Kylie Kwong embracing ethically-sourced and organic foods, plant-based meals are establishing new traditions. Flexitarian (occasional meat eating) is flexing its muscle.

A move away from meat has health motivations but the environment is also a big winner as the less meat – and in particular red meat – and dairy we consume, the more the environment benefits.

Eating has become a political, ethical and environmental act but the best part of it is that eating for the planet and being aware of its capabilities and limitations benefits your health as well.


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