Should Europeans be Encouraged to Eat more Sustainably
I guess this comment refers to the EU more than anywhere else, but if you have the time, please read it. Informed perspectives and comments always help one way or another.
I follow this website called Debating Europe. It is a platform that allows mainstream EU consumers to hear the answers and opinions of EU leaders, policy makers and experts.
While much of the world may believe or think that the EU has a super safe food system in place, unfortunately this is nowhere near reality. (We are not talking about things like salmonella, cholera, E. coli, etc)
We are getting fatter and it is not the fresh air that is making us fat. Fat and obese people are unhealthy for themselves, their friends, their family and the social system that they may depend on. But, like any other disease, we never abandon our responsibility to help sick people - who knows, I may be sick one day and need help.
So, the question is ... what exactly is our responsibility?
Then someone, via Debating Europe, asked a very good question ... should Europeans be encouraged to eat more sustainably?
First and foremost, we need to accept and recognise that we really do have a problem with food related diseases and upgrade ourselves from only thinking pathogens.
EU people simply need to be informed (or inform themselves) a little better and they will make the choices that are right for them. These are some of my personal opinions (and are probably far from perfect) which I believe highlight the difficulties that EU people encounter when trying to "know" what the healthy choices are.
- vegetable is a healthier source of long term protein than meat. There is no rocket science here. Even cows know that but clear access to this information does not exist
- the pretty picture of the cow grazing in the meadows at your local supermarket is a lie. Most EU meat is produced in cages and fed genetically modified maize and soya, of which 75% or so, is imported from the America's (so much for food security). Cows don't naturally eat maize and soya, they eat grass. (so much for animal welfare)
- blaming a cow that humans mass produce for greenhouse problems. Really? Is that how EU people take responsibility for their actions?
- food tax does nothing except separate the rich from poor. What's next? Tax good air and bad air
- corporate food policy influence in Brussels, skewed food industry sponsored science, food industry and food regulation revolving employment, EFSA's so called "transparency" policy, and many other government/food industry grey areas totally undermine Europe's "precautionary system" that we all think works so well. EU's "High Fructose Corn Syrup food products are healthy for you" is recent testimony. 15 years of HFCS data from the US says otherwise
- bee killing chemical manufacturers (Bayer and Syngenta) are presently suing the EU because these chemicals have recently being banned. Why should the EU people be held to ransom for their environment and personal health by these companies?
- apples don't shine. It is the wax that they are dipped in that makes them shine. Washing them with water does not remove the wax. Like eating wax with your apple?
- carrots are originally white, not orange. When last did you see a white carrot in your supermarket? Most of us don't even know what the food of our forefathers looked like
- the nutrient values in many fruits have dropped in the last 50 years. Why? Because to make them "pretty", they need to be hybridised or GMO'd and the sacrifice for pretty looking fruit is, amongst others, nutrition
- heard of the Mediterranean diet? It's not a diet, it's a marketing term - people have made fortunes by using this term and selling cook books. How many lives has it saved or prolonged? There is no proof whatsoever that the Mediterranean diet is healthier than any other diet. (If rubbish is repeated enough times, it is eventually deemed as fact). The origination of this term has a great story behind it though!
Every EU person wants to and believes they are making the right food choices. For example, mainstream meat consumers think that not much has changed in the last hundred years of meat production and meat industry wants the consumer to continually think that way. (hence the picture of the cow happily grazing in the meadows on your local supermarket wall)
The reality is that meat should cost 10 times more today if it was made the same way as 100 years ago. Once we understand how industry and government have managed to keep meat prices 10 times lower than it should be, then we will understand better and make the right choice to eat meat or not (or a lot less of it). To achieve this 10 times saving, sacrifices have to be made and it is these sacrifices that are making us and our food sick. If you continually insist to buy cheap food, you are fuelling this problem because it is your money that sustains it.
Hamburgers are perceived as being unhealthy by the health conscious people. If it is made by the likes of Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, etc, you probably have a reason to be concerned. But if a burger is not made with pink slime, sugar, HFCS, canola oil, food enhancers, trans fats, fake salt, hydrogenated raw materials and so on .... should it still deserve its "bad" reputation?
Big industry is corrupting our food in a bid to sell it cheap ... and we unknowingly (or knowingly) support this corruption every time we buy from them.
Russia has just placed a moratorium on GMO food. Why? Because global science does not and cannot fully understand the full implications of cross geneing proteins in the food chain. If the EU thinks that their food science is right and the Russian food science is wrong, then EU consumers should prepare themselves for more food that is questionable, unsustainable, contaminated and unhealthy for us and our precious environment.
I need to leave a healthy food environment and knowledge base (and alternative options) for my children, my fellow EU friends, family and citizens. It is really important that we, the EU people, educate ourselves and get this right.
Encouraging is a waste of time and money. The hard truth is the answer. Hard choices will reduce our gut line not sitting on the couch pretending there is nothing wrong with the EU food system.
So ... back to the question - Should Europeans be encouraged to eat less meat?
I don't think so. We are not the problem, we are the victims - and, yes, we should take some responsibility because blaming other people for our food disease problems will not solve them.
We are sick and obese because the foods that we eat are allowed to be sub-standard by our governments and regulators, and, because we are not properly informed.
Do you really think that by stopping to eat meat tomorrow will solve EU's food related diseases?
What about sugar in soft drinks, what about HFCS in almost everything, what about glyphosate on practically everything that grows, what about the BT toxin in Mon810 GM maize that is grown in EU?
Come on EU ... cherry picking is not the answer.
(I wrote this off the cuff from memory - my figures may not be spot on ... apologies)
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