If you want to eat less soya, then you should eat soya

There’s a great quote from George Monbiot in the Guardian this week.

Part of the reason [why a plant-based diet is better for the environment] is the extreme inefficiency of feeding livestock on grain: most of its nutritional value is lost in conversion from plant protein to animal protein. This reinforces my contention that if you want to eat less soya, then you should eat soya: 93% of the soya we consume, which drives the destruction of forest, savannah and marshland, is embedded in meat, dairy, eggs and fish, and most of it is lost in conversion. When we eat it directly, much less of the crop is required to deliver the same amount of protein.

Most of the crops we grow on the planet today are fed to livestock. Growing crops for animals is not a very efficient way to get protein because we get less protein out of them than we put in. It would be much better for us and the planet if we just ate the crops ourselves. According to a study from the University of Oxford which was published on 1st June 2018, “animal farming takes up 83% of the world’s agricultural land, but delivers only 18% of our calories”.

Some people like to talk about population control as the answer to our environmental problems but they’re typically only referring to humans and usually humans in other countries. But what about the 10 billion animals we raise and slaughter annually? These animals need to be fed. It’s not sustainable for us to continue doing this.

What are we having for dinner tonight? French lentil soup with tarragon and thyme.  It costs very little to make, probably about £2 in total and can feed a family of four. It’s very easy too: just put it all in a pot and leave it for an hour or so.

4 Replies to “If you want to eat less soya, then you should eat soya”

  1. I eat lots of soya because my wife cooks lots of soya. The texture was an acquired taste but I now enjoy the myriad flavors
    she infuses into the soya. I eat soya confident I am getting the protein I need. We still meat but not very much.

    1. You have a wonderful wife 🙂
      I agree that the texture of vegan food is an acquired taste. It’s not the flavour, like many people think, as this comes from herbs and spices that are vegan anyway. It’s the texture that’s different. Meat is dense and chewy whereas plants are light and mushy.

  2. I wonder if eating locally-sourced soya is better than eating, say, soy beans imported from Brazil, China, or other industrial-agriculture areas? I’ve been buying tofu that’s made right here in my town, but I have no idea where they get their soybeans from. It does concern me that soybean farming contributes so much to rainforest and wildlife-habitat destruction; I didn’t realize so much of it was being fed to livestock.

    I had lentil tacos for dinner tonight. I gave a couple to my Mexican-born landlady, and she seemed surprised at how good they were.

    1. I’m sure eating locally-sourced soya is better for the environment but given you’re already eating soya you’re already making a huge difference compared with someone who is eating the animal that ate the soya. Shipping soya in from far-flung places still has a lower environmental footprint than eating meat.

      Lentil tacos sounds yummy. Lentils are so versatile. You can really make anything out of them.

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