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Going Vegan in Light of Environmental Factors

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  • 07-08-2019 12:12pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 29


    Hi.

    I want to make a shift away from eating meat and dairy. I have two types of digestive disorders and through a process or elimination I've realised that meat, particularly red meat, and dairy are causing me trouble. Also, cutting down on animal products has allowed me to take a step back and look at the issue in a new light. I'm now becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of animals being raised for slaughter in a part of the world where we have other options.

    For the past number of years I've reverted to a very simple, 'old-fashioned', type of diet. Locally grown and reared/caught produce. Potato, the usual Irish vegetables and meat, poultry and fish. It sounds very unadventurous but this back to basics approach has fostered an interest in ethical (in comparison to my former lifestyle) and sustainable eating.

    I'd now like to take the next step by cutting out animal products and also to expand my choices of food and make this an exciting journey. However I've perused some vegan recipe books and I'm quite surprised at the amount of exotic ingredients. It seems that following these books, or indeed many of the 'going vegan' guides online, would require me to buy a lot of imported goods, likely in single use plastics, from countries that may not have very exacting standards. I don't want to replace my cheese, that's produced and packaged an hour away, with tofu that's flown here from the other side of the world. Ditto avocados. How anyone thinks they're part of an ethical diet is simply beyond me considering the human cost of their production in South America.

    Anyway, I'm just wondering have many people made the switch, and really tried to embrace the huge variety of options available to vegans, while still trying to buy locally as much as possible?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭henryporter


    Hi Orson,

    Good to hear you are thinking of transitioning away from Dairy/Meat - hopefully the switch will help with the digestion issues you are experiencing.

    You are right that a lot of the options that recipe books promote have environmental costs to them and that is indeed part of the challenge for many on plant based diets - we're currently going through the process of growing as much as possible to cut down/out single use plastics (e.g. for spinach, rocket, lettuce, sprouts, kale, cabbage etc.), but it is still difficult to avoid completely.

    Lots of recipes don't need exotic ingredients - a spinach and nut cheese lasagne, or some form of lentil (see below) shepherds pie are tasty and nutritious.

    As for Tofu, it used to be made in Ireland, but now the UK is closest (also Germany and Holland), and granted the core ingredient is from China or Canada (I think Germany grows Soya Beans as well), so that may not be an option for you. There's also a company called Hodmedods in the UK that supply UK grown Pulses and Beans - https://hodmedods.co.uk/

    It's worth remembering that the fallacy of grass-fed dairy and beef is just that - with the increase in the national herd came a big increase in feed imports - over 4M tonnes per annum from China/India/South America, so there's no such thing as local when it comes to what you are trying to replace either (not saying two wrongs make a right, but start the transition knowing that you aren't making things worse).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29 Orson Swelled


    Hi Orson,

    Good to hear you are thinking of transitioning away from Dairy/Meat - hopefully the switch will help with the digestion issues you are experiencing.

    You are right that a lot of the options that recipe books promote have environmental costs to them and that is indeed part of the challenge for many on plant based diets - we're currently going through the process of growing as much as possible to cut down/out single use plastics (e.g. for spinach, rocket, lettuce, sprouts, kale, cabbage etc.), but it is still difficult to avoid completely.

    Lots of recipes don't need exotic ingredients - a spinach and nut cheese lasagne, or some form of lentil (see below) shepherds pie are tasty and nutritious.

    As for Tofu, it used to be made in Ireland, but now the UK is closest (also Germany and Holland), and granted the core ingredient is from China or Canada (I think Germany grows Soya Beans as well), so that may not be an option for you. There's also a company called Hodmedods in the UK that supply UK grown Pulses and Beans - https://hodmedods.co.uk/

    It's worth remembering that the fallacy of grass-fed dairy and beef is just that - with the increase in the national herd came a big increase in feed imports - over 4M tonnes per annum from China/India/South America, so there's no such thing as local when it comes to what you are trying to replace either (not saying two wrongs make a right, but start the transition knowing that you aren't making things worse).

    Many thanks. Some food for thought there, pardon the pun. It's such a minefield. Here I am worrying about imports and I've just ordered work materials online because I simply cannot afford to buy them locally. I'm sure I'll hit similar obstacles with food. It's impossible to avoid.

    That's very interesting re grass fed beef. Our beef is/was from my girlfriend's uncle who runs an organic farm. He's very live to sustainability issues (he's a big factor behind my changes in attitude) so I'd be surprised if he was importing feed, but I can't be sure and in any event your point still stands.


  • Registered Users Posts: 755 ✭✭✭davidjtaylor


    I'd say go for it, OS, and you'll learn as you go along! In other words, don't worry about the environmental aspects at first, just try to address your digestive issues and, having successfully dealt with them (!), then focus on individual issues. As an example, many brands of organic tofu use beans grown in the EU.

    After not eating meat for nearly thirty years, I'm still tackling those kinds of issues. You never stop learning, and it's fun.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,232 ✭✭✭jh79


    If you are concerned with environmental factors don't buy Organic fruit and veg. Has a larger carbon footprint, lower yield etc and offers no nutritional or health benefits over conventional fruit and veg.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,091 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tar.Aldarion


    I'd just buy whatever you can locally, farmers markets, local goods from grocery stores and whatever else you feel your diet needs can be supplemented. Few shops in Dublin are no waste now which is cool.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29 Orson Swelled


    Thanks, everyone!


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭realmoonunit


    I've just polished off a good Shepard pie, made in the exact same way, just using lentils instead of meat. We typically make 5 meals a week from scratch with as local as possible ingredients. Super healthy and as small a foot print as possible. Local sourcing is key imo. We are moving to waterford and I have already sussed out my weekly veg box. We will make what we get into the dishes for the following week.

    P.S. good on you for standing up and taking some responsibility.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,887 ✭✭✭✭Riskymove


    I've just polished off a good Shepard pie, made in the exact same way, just using lentils instead of meat.

    Gardener's Pie?
    Legumer Pie???


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭realmoonunit


    Riskymove wrote: »
    Gardener's Pie?
    Legumer Pie???

    Good Shepard works fine for me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 755 ✭✭✭davidjtaylor


    I've just polished off a good Shepard pie, made in the exact same way, just using lentils instead of meat. We typically make 5 meals a week from scratch with as local as possible ingredients. Super healthy and as small a foot print as possible. Local sourcing is key imo. We are moving to waterford and I have already sussed out my weekly veg box. We will make what we get into the dishes for the following week.

    P.S. good on you for standing up and taking some responsibility.

    Sounds like you're doing a lot right. Good luck with the move and let us know what the veggie box is like. Are they organic suppliers?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭realmoonunit


    https://billetto.ie/e/ballybeg-greens-weekly-vegetable-box-tickets-364701?fbclid=IwAR3IFrHuTSM8A9UwlBRBrhNXhGgvrmM4ERaH9iHPhEXUtwcfrMlLgf2uUq8

    Cant get more local than that really, I believe a lot is organic, however I am not 100% that it all is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Hi.
    ...For the past number of years I've reverted to a very simple, 'old-fashioned', type of diet. Locally grown and reared/caught produce. Potato, the usual Irish vegetables and meat, poultry and fish. It sounds very unadventurous but this back to basics approach has fostered an interest in ethical (in comparison to my former lifestyle) and sustainable eating...

    With regard to sustainable / ethical eating - An important thing to remember about extensive agriculture is that both animal and arable / horticultural produce are often intrinsically linked and both can have significant impacts for the soil and the environment.

    Whilst intensive feed lot style animal production as seen in the US are of significant environmental concerns - there are similar issues with regard to intensive arable and horticultural cropping.

    A study in the UK on the carbon footprint of bread showed that the largest contributions from this process came from the use of artificial fertilisers and the actual processes of soil cultivation which are responsible for huge losses of carbon to the atmosphere.

    http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2017/03/whats-the-environmental-impact-of-your-toast/ *

    In commercial arable and horticultural agriculture synthetic fertilizer are used to give high yields. The stopping down of extensive animal agriculture could result in soil organic matter become rapidly depleted. The study above* recommends the replacing of manufactured fertilizer where possible with manure etc. With extensive and high welfare cattle and sheep farming - these processes help lock away considerable amounts of carbon whilst also maintaining soil fertility and health

    The European Environment Agency have detailed that where possible there should be a reduction in arable production so as to reduce carbon emissions from this sector and details that Irish grazed grasslands as a valuable carbon sink.
    The most carbon-rich soils are peatlands, mostly found in northern Europe, the UK and Ireland. Grassland soils also store a lot of carbon per hectare...

    The fastest way to increase organic carbon in farmed soil is to convert arable land to grassland...

    On farmland, ploughing the soil is known to accelerate decomposition and mineralisation of organic matter. In order to keep carbon and nutrients in the soil, researchers suggest reducing tillage

    https://www.eea.europa.eu/signals/signals-2015/articles/soil-and-climate-change

    Interestingly other reseach has shown that intensive arable cultivation of wheat and other crops for human consumption mean that soils are becoming rapidly depleted and we are seeing an ever decreasing timeline to complete soil degradation - with some studies suggesting that for the majority of such soils that the world’s soils face exhaustion and depletion in as little as 60-100 harvests.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/13/uk-farmers-to-be-given-first-ever-targets-on-soil-health

    I believe overall the point is that sustainable agriculture requires that animals continue to be part and parcel of agricultural production in order to ensure soil health and continued production of all types of food. Even where someone doesn't include animal products as part of their diet - it should be recognised that extensive animal farming has a very important role to play in maintaining soil health for the purposes of feeding a growing human population.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    ....

    It's worth remembering that the fallacy of grass-fed dairy and beef is just that - with the increase in the national herd came a big increase in feed imports - over 4M tonnes per annum from China/India/South America, so there's no such thing as local when it comes to what you are trying to replace either (not saying two wrongs make a right, but start the transition knowing that you aren't making things worse).


    I will hold you up on that. Most of what you give there regarding beef and dairy is both inaccurate and misinformation.

    The bulk of the diet of irish beef and dairy cattle is fodder - whether that is grass or silage etc.

    Firstly there are times when cattle are indeed fed additional legume or grain based foodstuffs This is mostly of a supplementary nature .

    The figure you gave for imported animal foodstuffs is for all farmed animals including those raised indoors such as poultry and pigs. With regard to countries supplying same - Brazil for example exports the bulk of soy etc to China which uses it to supply its own domestic agriculture. Ditto India.

    Many farmers here also grow their own supplementary animal grade feed for use during the winter when many animals must be housed for health and welfare reasons and to avoid damaging soils during cold and wet weather.

    Secondly over the last 40 years there has not been an overall "increase in the national herd". As of December 2018 - CSO figures show the number of cattle of all types is approx 6.5 million - well below the number of cattle (7.6 million) in Ireland when we joined the EU in 1973. If you wish to argue variations in these figures over time I'll be only to happy to do so..

    So no the facts are that there was no big increase in feed imports from China/India/South America for the purposes of increasing "the national herd" (sic). A larger amount was imported in 2018 which was primarily due to the exceptional drought conditions.

    As for food being sourced locally - yes indeed there is a very good case for sourcing food as close as possible. Both for the reduction of food miles and avoiding cheap imports from countries with few if any environmental or ethical standards but also to support local jobs and industry.

    Its important to know such facts so that people know that they aren't making things worse or making decisions based on misinformation


  • Registered Users Posts: 755 ✭✭✭davidjtaylor


    https://billetto.ie/e/ballybeg-greens-weekly-vegetable-box-tickets-364701?fbclid=IwAR3IFrHuTSM8A9UwlBRBrhNXhGgvrmM4ERaH9iHPhEXUtwcfrMlLgf2uUq8

    Cant get more local than that really, I believe a lot is organic, however I am not 100% that it all is.

    Brilliant. Looks great, you're lucky.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭henryporter


    gozunda wrote: »
    So no the facts are that there was no big increase in feed imports from China/India/South America for the purposes of increasing "the national herd" (sic).

    You must have recently discovered the use of 'sic' as it's all over your posts like a rash - anyhow if "the national herd" is good enough for https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/frank-omara-is-reduction-in-the-national-herd-needed/ then it's plenty good enough for debate here. With that sort of nonsense you're only making a bit of a show of yourself.

    As for lies, damned lies and statistics the CSO seems to disagree on your figures: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-syi/psyi2018/agri/cl/


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    You must have recently discovered the use of 'sic' as it's all over your posts like a rash - anyhow if "the national herd" is good enough for https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/frank-omara-is-reduction-in-the-national-herd-needed/ then it's plenty good enough for debate here. With that sort of nonsense you're only making a bit of a show of yourself.
    As for lies, damned lies and statistics the CSO seems to disagree on your figures: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-syi/psyi2018/agri/cl/

    Lol.
    The use of 'sic' is to denote what has been said. see:
    https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/definitions/sic/
    believe it is fairly common. Though funny to make a song and dance about it. But hey *shrug*

    If you actually read the comment you misinterpreted - it was in reply to your previous claim that there was a "big increase of feed imports"(your words)because of an increase in the national herd.

    And frankly my dear - that is bs. Your linked article and CSO figures (figures you linked show 2017 data btw) do not show that there was any increase in imported feeds linked to any growth in cattle numbers in Ireland .

    Please read my detailed reply above. If you want clarification of any of the details - I am more than happy to go over it again with you.

    Separately - regarding cattle numbers.

    December 2018 CSO data

    From the last offical CSO livestock survey completed December 2018 - there were 6.5 million cattle (of all types) accounted for in the country.

    https://www.cso.ie/en/statistics/agriculture/livestocksurveydecember/

    In the period from 1973 to 2018 the number of cattle has risen and fallen.

    CSO data show that Cattle numbers reached a high of 7.6 million in 1998

    As of December 2018 this figure had dropped to 6.5 million as detailed in the link above . A significant decrease.

    Edit:

    I knew we had this discussion already!

    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=110924350&postcount=552


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭henryporter


    gozunda wrote: »
    Lol.
    The use of 'sic' is to denote what has been said. see:
    https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/definitions/sic/
    believe it is fairly common. Though funny to make a song and dance about it. But hey *shrug*

    If you actually read the comment you misinterpreted - it was in reply to your previous claim that there was a "big increase of feed imports"(your words)because of an increase in the national herd.

    And frankly my dear - that is bs. Your linked article and CSO figures (figures you linked show 2017 data btw) do not show that there was any increase in imported feeds linked to any growth in cattle numbers in Ireland .

    Please read my detailed reply above. If you want clarification of any of the details - I am more than happy to go over it again with you.

    Separately - regarding cattle numbers.

    December 2018 CSO data

    From the last offical CSO livestock survey completed December 2018 - there were 6.5 million cattle (of all types) accounted for in the country.

    https://www.cso.ie/en/statistics/agriculture/livestocksurveydecember/

    In the period from 1973 to 2018 the number of cattle has risen and fallen.

    CSO data show that Cattle numbers reached a high of 7.6 million in 1998

    As of December 2018 this figure had dropped to 6.5 million as detailed in the link above . A significant decrease.

    Edit:

    I knew we had this discussion already!

    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=110924350&postcount=552

    Usual modus operandi from you there - the usual mix of authoritarianism, ridicule and nonsense.

    FYI [sic] is a method to indicate an error as being quoted without change, not just to quote.

    I’m sure I could waste my time arguing with you and finding more facts for you to dispute but quick frankly it’s too tedious - you have your opinions and I have mine. Same goes for motives - mine are to avoid harming animals and trying to be part of the group that wants to prevent the inexorable destruction of the planet and yours as clearly evidenced by your contributions are the polar opposite.

    I’ll leave you with two quotes...

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    “Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool” Charles Simmons


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Usual modus operandi from you there - the usual mix of authoritarianism, ridicule and nonsense.
    FYI [sic] is a method to indicate an error as being quoted without change, not just to quote.
    I’m sure I could waste my time arguing with you and finding more facts for you to dispute but quick frankly it’s too tedious - you have your opinions and I have mine. Same goes for motives - mine are to avoid harming animals and trying to be part of the group that wants to prevent the inexorable destruction of the planet and yours as clearly evidenced by your contributions are the polar opposite.
    I’ll leave you with two quotes...
    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” Daniel Patrick Moynihan
    “Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool” Charles Simmons

    Happily the CSO facts and figures I detailed stand for themselves - your reply in the face of that is simply comedy material tbh.

    Firstly unless you are an ascetic who fully
    subscribes to the tenants of Ahimsa in Jainism - then you too are guilty of 'harming' animals as any other human on this planet..

    Secondly whatever your beliefs (and tbh I really dont care one way or the other) claiming some imaginary superiority over and above others as you consider yourself "part of the group that wants to prevent the inexorable destruction of the planet" (sic) gives no license in a discussion to resort to vacuous claims no matter which way you look at it.

    Lastly I have to say if the last quote is a reflection of your posting style then the description of ridiculeness suits it well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭PhilOssophy


    jh79 wrote: »
    If you are concerned with environmental factors don't buy Organic fruit and veg. Has a larger carbon footprint, lower yield etc and offers no nutritional or health benefits over conventional fruit and veg.

    Agree, and don't fly (you can eat meat for 5 years for the same carbon footprint as 1 flight to New York).

    While eating less meat is never a bad thing, if it is sourced locally does it have a smaller carbon footprint than something made in China and shipped here?

    If you are eating soya-based products as a replacement for meat, don't forget the carbon footprint of it being shipped from South America.

    And if you find you are taking vitamins, they probably have a worse carbon footprint than anything.

    My point here is, it is always a good idea to eat less red meat, but for me it is only 1 part of your carbon footprint and you need to consider the overall make-up of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,539 ✭✭✭✭_Brian


    I think as more and more information is available “not eating meat and dairy for environmental reasons” is stacking up less and less.

    They can be done in ways that significantly sequesters carbon into soils from the atmosphere. And do less damage to soil microbiology than cropping veg and grains.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 755 ✭✭✭davidjtaylor


    If you are eating soya-based products as a replacement for meat, don't forget the carbon footprint of it being shipped from South America.

    Most organic soy products sold in Ireland use crops grown in Europe. It will often say on the label and most companies are happy to divulge the information anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭henryporter


    gozunda wrote: »
    Happily the CSO facts and figures I detailed stand for themselves - your reply in the face of that is simply comedy material tbh.

    Firstly unless you subscribe religiously to the tenants of Ahimsa in Jainism - then you too are guilty of 'harming' animals as any other human on this planet..

    Secondly whatever your beliefs (and tbh I really dont care one way or the other) claiming some imaginary superiority over and above others as you consider yourself "part of the group that wants to prevent the inexorable destruction of the planet" (sic) gives no license in a discussion to resort to vacuous claims no matter which way you look at it.

    Lastly I have to say if the last quote is a reflection of your posting style then the description of ridiculeness suits it well.

    None of what you quote stands up for anything other than your militant myopic stance against vegans. It's questionable that you have interpreted anything correctly from the links you provide based on your inability to stop using 'sic' incorrectly contrary to the clear guidance given in the link you provided:

    "Sic is a Latin term meaning “thus.” It is used to indicate that something incorrectly written is intentionally being left as it was in the original. Sic is usually italicized and always surrounded by brackets to indicate that it was not part of the original. Place [sic] right after the error."

    This sort of ad hominem nonsense that your posts keep descending into doesn't bother me in the slightest - laugh away - I'm laughing myself (sic) in response.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,089 ✭✭✭henryporter


    nd if you find you are taking vitamins, they probably have a worse carbon footprint than anything.

    Which is consumed most of the population - there are vitamins and minearls added to milk, cereals, bread, fruit juices, margarines etc. - See http://thecai.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/FORTFOODaug08.pdf for example


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    None of what you quote stands up for anything other than your militant myopic stance against vegans. It's questionable that you have interpreted anything correctly from the links you provide based on your inability to stop using 'sic' incorrectly contrary to the clear guidance given in the link you provided"....This sort of ad hominem nonsense that your posts keep descending into doesn't bother me in the slightest - laugh away - I'm laughing myself (sic) in response.

    :confused:

    If anything - I am laughing out loud at that quite spectacular bizarre rant. Please explain how CSO facts and figures are a "militant myopic stance against vegans."(sic) and yes that deserves a big fat 'sic' - as it is about as incorrectly written as is possible. And no the use of 'sic' does not have to solely relate to grammatical omission etc*. Happily it also relates to that which you have written as it is entirely without meaning or logic. But there you go.

    The fact is the claims you made above regarding agriculture were incorrect and do not stand up to scrutiny. That you resort to attacking the poster, and the correct use of 'sic' is risable indeed. But thanks for the laugh.

    Here is the original comment which you clearly haven't read or just don't understand..

    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=110974786&postcount=14

    *
    The Latin adverb sic ("thus", "just as"; in full: sic erat scriptum, "thus was it written")inserted after a quoted word or passage indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed or translated exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous, archaic, or otherwise nonstandard spelling. It also applies to any surprising assertion, faulty reasoning or other matter that might be likely interpreted as an error of transcription.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,091 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tar.Aldarion


    Attack the post not the poster.


  • Registered Users Posts: 755 ✭✭✭davidjtaylor




  • Registered Users Posts: 8,232 ✭✭✭jh79



    Study doesn't show that the detected levels in the urine posed any risk. Also modern analytical techniques are very sensitive and can detect tiny amounts.

    Using biomarkers is a common trick in research if the team isn't confident of showing an actual clinical effect.


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