Friday, 12 February 2010


At last there’s a chink of light just bright enough to wipe the smug smirk off the face of some of the more militant tofu-eating vegetarians. I’d like to point out that I’ve nothing against vegetarianism, in fact some of my best friends are vegetarians, but I do get royally hacked off by ‘campaigning veggies' lecturing me in hectoring tones about how I’m despoiling the planet, ruining my health and just being plain selfish by eating meat.

Now research carried out by Cranfield University and funded by the WWF, no less, claims that vegetarianism may not be the most environmentally sound diet after all. The report says that meat substitutes such as soy, lentils and chickpeas are grown overseas and must be imported in large quantities if they are to replace home-grown red meat in the British diet. This will result in more foreign land being cultivated and raise the risk of forests being destroyed to create farmland. Meat substitutes also tend to be highly processed and involve energy-intensive production methods.

If there were to be a significant shift to vegetarianism in the UK it could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK. Donal Murphy-Bokern, one of the study authors and the former farming and food science co-ordinator at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “For some people, tofu and other meat substitutes symbolise environmental friendliness but they are not necessarily the badge of merit people claim. Simply eating more bread, pasta and potatoes instead of meat is more environmentally friendly.”

The study also concluded that some of the guesstimates about how farting cows and sheep damage the environment are fundamentally flawed because campaigners have not taken into account the impact the changes would make to the use of land overseas.

So, yet again, bad science causes another wheel to come off the climate change bandwagon and career headlong into militant vegetarianism. I’d call that a double whammy, wouldn’t you?


  1. And a shift to more vegetarianism would result in more methane, I'm assured, because a sole vege diet produces much more than a mixed diet.
    Err...flatulence is mentioned in the Bible apparently, depending on one's interpretation of same, accoring to an older BBC piece.

    According to some stuff I've read, soya is actually full of toxins, which don't go away unless fermented,like most of the Japanese things:miso and and pretty much all soya sauce and so on. Tofu in it's general form is not fermented. Soya based products can have an effect on essential elements such as zinc, magnesium and calcium as well as indicators for some cancers. All sounds quite unhealthy really.Maybe the health food manufacturers had a good advertising guru.
    I don't think you and I better go on that Tofu diet after all. Could play merry hell with our bones!
    I can confess to having the odd meatless meal here and there, but to go the whole hog (oops )
    I don't think so.
    Soya bean is thought 'peasant food' in China, and represents only a minor percentage of the diet.
    How's the leg/pain progressing?
    Sending vibes,
    Chris of Melbourne.

  2. The leg is being a bit of a bugger but I'm ever hopeful. I had my medical yesterday to ascertain if I am fit for work. It's called a Work Capability Assessment. I had to travel nine miles to a government testing station and spent thirty minutes being assessed. Since I only have a broken leg, osteomyelitis, diverticulosis and two ruptured disks, I'm sure they'll be sending me down the Job Centre next week. No shirkers in Brown's Britain.

    Hope all is well with you, Chris.

  3. Good morning ETM! Sorry to hear that the leg is non compliant - get Whisky back on the case.

    Well I am a veggie but avoid anything labelled "meat substitute" such as Tofu/Soya - I do not want to eat substitutes nor food that I cannot "understand". I do eat fish occasionally so I am a "pescie" I guess. My household is definiately not meat free though with 3 carnivore cats and one man! I do not preach nor contribute methane you will be glad to hear!

    Glad to hear that you have been tested - not sure that your medical problems are listed on their form though ...........good luck there.

    Best wishes from Cats' Mother and the Chelsea Gang send Friday Prawn wishes to Whisky.

  4. I don't have a problem with vegetarians as a rule, and like you, will eat a meatless meal now and again and enjoy it. However, I do have a big problem with vegans. Veganism is down right antisocial. My brother is dating one and it's a real problem finding something to feed her at restaurants or invites to my place. She's not the preachy type,but, I've seen her go without food at a restaurant gathering, more than once, because there wasn't anything on the menu that she could eat.

  5. I don't eat a lot of meat and there are loads of veggie dishes that I enjoy. However, I also have a problem with vegans as I simply don't understand the ethical dimension. When I was in hospital, I spent some time on a ward with a vegan. All he seemed to eat were b-b-q flavour Pot Noodles which are, bizarrely, suitable for vegans. I think his bone problems took a long time to fix because of his nutritional deficit. The hospital food was very definitely not vegan friendly. One of my closest friends is a vegetarian and it's often tricky choosing something everyone can eat when he comes to dinner. We all go vegetarian even thous only 25% of us is vegetarian. It never works the other way round though, does it?

  6. Nuts and olives for starters plus some crudites and dips. Vegetarian lasagna (with veggy cheese, obviously) with lashings of courgette, broccoli and mushrooms and various cheeses. Pudding shouldn't be too difficult.

    Not particularly slimming but certainly tasty!

    Cora (not a vegetarian)

  7. Oh dear. I'm a vegan and this is only the second time that I've commented. My choice is made for a number of reasons, 1- animal cruelty, and 2- severe RA to name two. It is said that vegan/vegetarian diet is helpful in reducing inflamation and (as you know) less pain is better.

    I've never asked my friends to go to a vegetarian restaurant, nor have I expected them to. But being my friends, they try. I can typically find something to eat anywhere and most restaurants are very accomodating.

    I would think that Anonymous made a contradiction about the vegan friend being antisocial. For someone to sit through a meal without eating to be with other people sounds like they prioritize company over food.

    I'm a little offended, I suppose. I did enjoy coming here often to read, but you are entitled to your opinions as I am to mine.

    Speedy recovery and take care. I doubt I'll return now.


  8. I'm really sorry you're offended. I don't make my comments with any malice intended. I hope you do come back to visit.