There's a new book about to hit the shelves that promises not to whittle away your waistline, but to minimize the environmental impact of your food consumption.
Global Warming Diet is by American chef Laura Stec and climate change expert Eugene Cordero. They say it's not good enough for our food to be tasty and healthy, it's got to be gentle on the environment too.
The buzz phrase lately is "carbon footprint" and apparently the food we eat makes a pretty big one. The book advocates eating more locally grown, organic food. Seasonal eating is best, as is less packaging, buying in bulk, and growing your own food.
The authors say it takes 12 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to make a one-pound hamburger. You've got to remember when you eat beef, you're feeding a lot of cows to lead up to that. That's a lot of corn, which they say is a very carbon-intensive crop, requiring a lot of fertilization.
This is "back to the land" in it's most literal terms. It's a beautiful fantasy, but I think we'll need baby steps on this one.
The Omnivore's Dilemma is a REALLY amazing book that sounds similar to Global Warming Diet. It's thick and overwhelming at first, but once you get started, it's a real page turned worth every minute. I read it and felt the need to preach about it to everyone I passed on the street. I truly changed my life and I think the world would be a better place if everyone read it. Really.
Sounds a lot like Diet for a Small Plant, which came out over 20 years ago. The premises would leave all of us vegetarians, without the huge bounty of fruits, nuts and exotic vegetables that we all enjoy today.
While seasonal eating has its benefits, who amongst us hasn't craved raspberries in the winter? Also, the premise of these books would deprive anyone outside of Florida and California citrus fruits, as well as not shipping wild salmon all over. Sometimes, our local jurisdictions just can't provide all the variety and gourmet options people love.
I find it somewhat ironic that one of the top arguments for vegetarianism is that we should stop eating cows because cows eat a lot of grains that humans could otherwise eat. So...if that is the case, is the implication that we should kill off the cows instead? Or not let the cows live in the first place? I'm scratching my head here on that one... :-)