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Welcome to What To Eat

by | May 4, 2023 | What To Eat

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Welcome to What to Eat- your Saturday round-up of cuisine current affairs, fabulous food and the odd cocktail.

You may think I’ve used this shot of a near-naked, well-buff Brad Pitt gratuitously- but it was for the joke- honest.

Here’s the thing: I have a biggish problem with the cult of veganism. The fact that ‘ethical veganism’ does not take into consideration the sustainability of production, the human cost of manufacture, severe food inequalities or a broken food system is more than dismaying.

For example, with millions of vegans blindly buying into prepacked, mass-produced, questionably coloured meat substitutes that sit garishly on supermarket shelves, it’s not surprising that global food giants such as Kellogs now own 80% of the plant-based meat market and that the biggest meat companies worldwide are eyeing up this rapidly growing market (forecast to rise from $4.2Bn in 2021 to $28Bn by 2025) looking to invest in other revenue streams (read more here).

With massive industry players backed by corporate cash hoovering up smaller companies at a rate of knots, mass-produced, monoculture crops will be the method of cultivation, which threatens to undermine any ecological gains from reducing our reliance on animals, but will “reinforce these power relations that keep current systems in place’ (IPES Food report).

There are big bucks in veganism, that’s for sure.

But there is an argument that if you care enough about animals to be a vegetarian then veganism is a natural next step. The dairy and egg industry is fairly horrific. Abel + Cole, Riverford and Yeo have the best animal welfare credentials according to Ethical Consumer and in terms of eggs, always go for organic (10sqm of outdoor space rather than the 4msq for “free range”) from a good supplier, i.e. you get what you pay for.

And crucially, is veganism good for your brain? This little BBC Videosuggests not. As a nation, we don’t eat enough fish oil and Omegas as it is and the results of brain scans of breast-fed babies of vegan mothers is frankly terrifying.

I’m all for balance. I reckon we can relinquish our reliance on dairy and animal products without giving them up completely. And I love how inventive we become when looking for alternatives. Will share my accidentally Chinese banquet with you on the 21st.

We eat a largely vegetarian diet midweek and save meat for the weekend. I use Oat milk as well as dairy, love Oat cream and get along quite well with Vegan Feta. I make vegan foods regularly, not because they’re vegan, but because they’re delicious and just happen to be dairy free. (Like next week’s Laksa).

What I’m trying to say, is that if you’re doing Veganuary for all the right reasons, think about what you’re buying and who’s profiting from it. Do your research; make sure you understand the possible dietary risks.

And just eat more veg.

J xx

If you’re warming to the theme…

Grace Dent on Veganism in restaurants

How to Be A Sustainable Vegan Riverford

Ethical Consumer’s Shopping Guide to eggs

PS Our veg is sourced from a Langridge Organics in Feltham, who in turn source from smaller, organic, sometimes family-run farms.