Meaty Impact and Innovations

Lately it seems everyone is talking about meat and the sustainability issues that surround it. So I’m going to join in!

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve wrote about it, earlier this year I tried Veganuary, then for Lent I gave up meat and now I’d class myself as Flexitarian (or whatever new trendy name it’s been given this week). Basically I go days, weeks even without eating meat.

A few nights ago Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped broadcast a special on the innovations that are making meat healthier for us and better for the planet. It’s definitely worth a watch, but if you haven’t got the time, here are some highlights…

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Did you know?

Cows produce more methane than cars, planes and trains combined. They release about 120kg of methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. 

33% of cereals grown in the UK are used for meat production.

Most of the world’s soy crop ends up in feed for poultry, pork and cows. The expansion of soy to feed the world’s growing demand for meat contributes to deforestation. 

For 2kg of chicken it takes 4.6kg of feed. For 2kg of pork it takes 6kg of feed. And for 2kg of beef it takes 30kg of feed. That is a lot of crop needed for a small amount of meat!

It takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef but only 1,250 litres for 1kg of wheat.

The innovations for a more ‘sustainable’ meat industry covered were a little bonkers, but it does show that the industry is starting to look at alternative ways in order to protect the planet.

Belgian Super Cows – Apparently these huge muscly cows are bred through natural selection (hmmm) due to an inactive muscle control gene. They produce around 30% more meat than a normal cow and somehow do this through eating the same amount of food as a normal cow.

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Spirulina Algae – Spirulina is an edible microalgae that can be grown in tanks on top of buildings. It’s still new technology but it could be used to replace normal animal feeds freeing up land currently used to grow animal feed to grow human vegetation instead.

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Ostrich Meat – Ostrich’s produce 10 times less methane than cows, they require 3 times less land to graze, can produce 64 tons of meat in a lifetime opposed to a cows 1.72 tons and the water footprint of ostriches is roughly a third of cows.

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If you’re having a BBQ this bank holiday, why not give an ostrich burger a go? Or veggie sausages? My favourite is BBQ’d pineapple. Yum! Whatever you do, have a great long weekend! xxx

My Plastic Free Struggle

Somehow we’re now mid way through the month, and as promised in my previous post here is an update on how my Plastic Free July is going…

Truthfully, it’s not going very well.

I’ve had some successes…

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I’ve been shopping from my local greengrocers and taking reusable bags with me, this massively cuts down on plastic packaging and carrier bags.

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I take my stainless steel One Green Bottle everywhere with me.

I received a Lush delivery with plastic free packaging. Eco-flo chips were used to protect the product, simply run the chips under water and they biodegrade.

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I now buy baked beans in single cans, not multi packs of four which are coated in plastic.

But also some failures…

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I ran the Great North 10k the other week and it was scorching, so I ended up grabbing a plastic bottle from one of the water stations on the way round, drinking it and then tossing it to the ground.

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I’ve been on the road alot this month. Up to Durham, down to Bristol, up to Yorkshire, back to the Midlands… and unless you are very organised it is nearly impossible to not use plastic when stopping at a service station. Even with the best intentions of using my One Green Bottle I struggled to find somewhere to refill.

Dauntingly, round the corner may lie my biggest challenge yet…

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This weekend I am off to a music festival. However I am very determined to try and use as little plastic as possible.

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I will be taking my ‘pimp cup’ and asking the bar staff to serve me my pints in this instead of a disposable plastic cup. I’ve also got myself an Organic Humble toothbrush, which is made from bamboo, to take with me.

Did you know? More than 2 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill sites every year.

How is your Plastic Free July going?

I’d love to hear about your struggles, and even better, your hints and tips!

Weekly Dose of Avocado

At least once a week I have avocado. Absolutely love the stuff. I have it in many shapes and forms. For breakfast, dinner or tea. Sometimes in a smoothie, with eggs on toast, in a wrap, with chili con carne or even just to dip some crisps.

Did you know…?

  • They’re are a fruit, and where most fruit is high in sugar, avocado is high in healthy fats (aka monounsaturated oleic acid)
  • They hold a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals
  • They contain more potassium than a banana!

Tonight I’m having my weekly dose in the form of guacamole with poached eggs on toast.

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Here is the guac recipe courtesy of Rob!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe large avocado
  • 1/4 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 beef tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 red chili, finely diced
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Mash the avocado up with a fork
  • Add the onion, tomatoes, coriander and chili then mix
  • Season with salt and lime juice, and voila! Done.

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Easy, healthy and scrummy! If you want some more avo-inspo head to @bestofavocado on Instagram.

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. I have accepted this challenge!

The single-use disposables such as bottles, bags, tubs that we use just for a few minutes out of pure convenience are made from plastic, something that is designed to last forever…

These plastics:

  • break up, not break down – becoming a permanent pollution
  • are mostly sent to landfill
  • ‘escape’ from bins, trucks, hands to become litter
  • end up in water sources – scientists predict there will be more tonnes of plastic than tonnes of fish by 2050
  • transfer to the food chain – carrying pollutants with them
  • increase our footprint – plastic manufacturing consumes 6% of the world’s fossil fuels

Did you know? Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.

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Throughout July I have challenged myself, and Rob (he has not escaped this) to do the following:

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See here to start your own challenge.

I’ll be sharing on the blog and instagram what I do throughout July to avoid using plastic, it’d also be great to hear (if you accept the challenge) what you end up doing!

#choosetorefuse

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Super Simple Vegan Flapjack

On Sunday I’m hosting a Swap Shop to raise money for Labour Behind the Label (details of the event can be found here) and for the occasion I’m baking a whole load of sweet stuff. One of the easiest pieces, which I’ve just made, is a vegan flapjack.

Here is the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease a 28cmx18cm baking tray, lining with baking paper
  • Put the spread, brown sugar and golden syrup into a pan on medium heat and mix until the spread and sugar dissolves
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the porridge oats and sultanas and mix until they are fully coated
  • Press the mixture into the baking tray
  • Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown
  • Let the flapjack cool in the tray for 5 minutes then turn it out from the tray and let it cool on a cooling rack
  • Cut into squares, and voila! Done.

Cheap, easy and super simple to make. The flapjacks can also last for up to a week in a container. Perfect for my Swap Shop. And the crumbly bits off the side, I can enjoy now!

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What is a Flexitarian?

At the start of the year I took part in Veganuary. Then for Lent I gave up meat.

I enjoyed being veggie so much that I extended my non-meat eating period until a weekend in Berlin where lots of beer weakened my resistance to currywurst (oops). Since then I have only been eating meat on the odd occasion.

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It turns out eating meat ‘on the odd occasion’ is actually a thing. It’s called flexitarianism.

Described as vegetarians with benefits, flexitarians are people whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat. Many vegetarians and vegans consider flexitarianism as cheating, but research shows that the diet just might be one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact and improve health.

Mostly my diet contains no meat but I now allow myself an exception if I really fancy some when I’m eating out or I know that it is good quality.

For example last week I was working in London. On Tuesday evening I had Moroccan food, lots of tasty veggie mezze at Oasis in East Finchley. Then on Wednesday I went to Flat Iron in Soho for one of their famous steaks because I knew it was going to be a) good quality b) ethically sourced from their own herd in Yorkshire and b) absolutely delicious!

Personally I think giving this way of eating a title is abit silly. I can however vouch that having this type of diet certainly comes with benefits.

Benefits of being flexitarian:

  • Less meat = less cost – meaning more money left to spend on good quality meat when you fancy it instead of processed or chemically enhanced
  • Improved health – it’s a win-win as you still get the protein that comes from eating meat occasionally but also have the nutritional benefits from a plant based diet
  • Reduced environmental impact – livestock requires more food, water, land and energy to grow and transport than plants

Next week I’ll post some of my favourite  veggie recipes for you to try. But for now, I’m off work and heading out into the sunshine to kick start my bank holiday weekend with a delicious brekkie from The Farm in Harrogate.

Have a gooden! x

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Bring Back the Bees – Burt’s Bees

Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed a dramatic decline in bees.

Bees make more than honey. They are key to food production because they pollinate crops, a third of the food that we eat depends on pollinating insects.

The main reasons for global bee decline:

  • loss of biodiversity and destruction of habitats
  • increase in pesticides and insecticides
  • climate change

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Burt’s Bees, along with making delicious lipsticks, are dedicated to help prevent the bee decline by donating 10% of all purchases to the British Beekeepers Association. On top of this at the moment they have a limited edition lip balm. Where every balm bought, 5,000 bee friendly wildflower seeds are planted.

The balm is coconut and pear flavour made from beeswax and shea butter. I’ve always been a fan of Burt’s Bees, and this one might actually be a new favourite.

At £3.99, go grab one! #bringbackthebees