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UN Urges Global Move to Meat and Dairy-Free Diet

Vegetable Tagine

Vegetable Tagine

UN Urges Global Move to Meat and Dairy-Free Diet

Yet another article reporting UN urging global move to meat and dairy-free diet! Keep the reports coming it’s the only way forward.  Adopting a vegan diet is the engine of economic growth, new industries would emerge and flourish.

Governments and Industry will as usual do nothing.  This change will be down to individuals who are passionate about contributing towards this desperate situation being turned around.  On my part, I continue to educate through my workshops and cooking classes. Bill and I continue to see wonderful growth with our Macrobiotic Coaching Programme.   Our students come from many countries to study with us and this validates that around the world there are indeed people making the shift and an increasing number now teaching others to do the same.

If you care about a healthy planet for your children and grandchildren please read and forward this article to family and friends or post on your social media sites.  There are literally thousands of delicious plant based recipes on my blogs, in my books and my on line course to get you started.  Enjoy my vegetable tagine served on a bed of couscous.  Quick and easy to make and tastes amazing.  Recipe below.

‘Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change, UN report says’

The UN says agriculture is on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth.

A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today.

As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programmes (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.

It says: “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: “Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.”

The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.

The panel of experts ranked products, resources, economic activities and transport according to their environmental impacts. Agriculture was on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they said.

Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: “Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products – livestock now consumes much of the world’s crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilizers and pesticides.”

Both energy and agriculture need to be “decoupled” from economic growth because environmental impacts rise roughly 80% with a doubling of income, the report found.

Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP, said: “Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation.”

The panel, which drew on numerous studies including the Millennium ecosystem assessment, cites the following pressures on the environment as priorities for governments around the world: climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter.

Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.

Last year the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed the world’s surging population. The panel says that efficiency gains in agriculture will be overwhelmed by the expected population growth.

Prof Hertwich, who is also the director of the industrial ecology programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said that developing countries – where much of this population growth will take place – must not follow the western world’s pattern of increasing consumption: “Developing countries should not follow our model. But it’s up to us to develop the technologies in, say, renewable energy or irrigation methods.

Sweet Vegetable Tagine

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

3 large onions, thinly sliced, half moons

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large carrots sliced in half

½ butternut squash cut into thick slices

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices

1 courgette sliced in half

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add the garlic, onion and cinnamon. Heat on low for 10 to 15 minutes stirring to coat the vegetables with the cinnamon. Cook until fragrant and crisp. Set aside.

In a tagine or heavy based pot, place the carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and courgette in sections. Add about an inch of water, cover and place on a very low heat for approximately 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  I place a flame deflector under the tagine to spread the heat evenly.   Add a little more water if the tagine seems too dry. Serve on a bed of couscous and top with the onion saute.

Summer Couscous Delight

3 cups couscous

4 ½ cups filtered water

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

Add the salt and oil to boiling water. Spread couscous evenly in the bottom of a large casserole so that it is in as thin a layer as possible. Add the water and cover tightly with a lid or clingfilm. Wait until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes), then fluff with a fork.  Store left over couscous in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Some Other Ideas!

One of the advantages of couscous is that you can add all sorts of ingredients to it: Chickpeas, cannellini beans or borlotti beans add texture and extra protein for vegetarians. Add lemon juice, loads of flat-leaf parsley, mint, coriander, olive oil and pepper for a salad.  Add roasted vegetables with cooked brown lentils for a great main course for a buffet or a packed lunch.

I adore creating delicious dishes from couscous. Couscous is best teamed with saucy dishes like tagines. It’s made from semolina wheat and is rich in vitamin A, a source of potassium and low in calories. This recipe however does not use a sauce so feel free to add a sauce of your choice.  I prefer to taste the sweetness and succulence of the vegetables with just a topping of onions on top.

For a delicious and simple couscous salad recipe, make the couscous as described above. Let it cool, and then toss it with canned organic chickpeas, finely chopped spring onions, fresh mint, lemon infused olive oil, and sea salt. Other nice additions are raisins, pine nuts, black and green olives, and flat leaf parsley.

 

In good health

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