GMOs and Factory Farming – Their effect on your environment, your food and your body

As part of my study of plant-based nutrition with Cornell, we were required to write a PSA (of approximately one minute) in relation to GMOs and factory farming. I thought it might be a bit of interesting content for this blog. My apologies if its a little dry, but check it out and feel free to leave your comments below!

It is not uncommon for the health conscious to be wary of GMO’s, however the repercussions run far deeper than just their effect on your individual health, and often work hand in hand with other various consequences of agribusiness. All of which contribute significantly to climate change and the degradation of the Earth, through various avenues; increased methane gasses from ruminant digestion/manure decomposition, large scale deforestation, and the pollution of water bodies to the point of near-complete toxicity. The FAO estimates that a minimum of 18% annual green house gasses are produced by livestock worldwide, whilst the World Watch Institute estimates that the contribution is actually closer to 51% 

The crops that we use to feed livestock are largely genetically modified (eg, corn, and Soy). The chemical run off from these crops (produced via fertilizer, pesticide excess, herbicide excess) leech into the local water systems, effectively poisoning them. The nitrogen and chemicals that these fertilzers contain has a direct causal link with increased toxicity of the water, as well as algal blooms, which in turn contribute to water de-oxygenation. The EPA estimates that over 50% of rivers and streams in the USA are now unfit to support aquatic life. To make matters even worse, industrialised fishing further assaults the marine ecosystem; with bottom trawling, and long line fishing having huge repercussions; Mr Latham articulates that 70% of the marine life caught via trawling is not the intended catch, and so is dumped as dead marine life: a pointless decimation of an already delicately balanced ecological system.

It is clear that our consumption of the earth’s resources is far outpacing the earth’s ability to replete them. The available water that we use for irrigation of crops, watering livestock, and treating agribusiness is putting extreme pressure on our water supplies; a pressure that desperately needs to be relieved. The toxicity of water and the pollution of the air through green house gasses is progressing at a rate that threatens our very existence – with atmospherical green house gas being retained in the atmosphere for around 10,000 years after release, we are approaching the limit we can exude before the climate of earth changes so dramatically that the human population is wiped out. It was established in Mr Latham’s lecture that a 4degree cooling of the earth was responsible for a complete ice age, and that a 2degree increase from our current climate would result in the complete collapse of human food and water sources, leading to our extinction.

The IPCC predicts a bleak outlook for the future production of crops, and suggests that a global move towards plant-based diets may be necessary to prevent world hunger. Drawing from an interview with Howard Lyman, we can deduce that up until now the focus of agribusiness has been leading us to our deaths, through climate change, environmental pollution and lifestyle diseases, and that in order to recover our health, and our earth, we need to work with nature and move towards a plant-based diet.

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‘Moreish’ Bean Burgers; vegan

If you are a plant-based eater, chances are that more often than once you have been invited to a BBQ and not known what to eat. You want to have SOMETHING to put in your burger bun, but obviously meat is a no-go, and many commercially available meat substitutes are full of fat, oil, salt and preservatives.

Or, maybe you’re just an average person who is looking to improve their health by reducing their meat consumption a bit.

Of maybe you just like goo quality food, like me.

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8 face-palm moments of being plant-based/transitioning to vegan.

  1. Finding out your favourite sauce/condiment isn’t vegan “What do you mean my spicy tomato pesto contains 7% cheese? ITS PESTO :(“
  2. Realising that your favourite fruits are never in season where you live, or prohibitively expensive (read: grapes and berries UGH MY WALLET)
  3. When you realise you eat so much damn food that you try to grow your own organic veggie patch at home, and fail miserably.
  4. When your SO/family/friends have surprisingly strong, negative reactions to your change of lifestyle.
  5. Having to look like a troll because they don’t sell vegan/non-animal-tested makeup in your country.
  6. Having plain beans and rice for dinner (again) because you’re broke from buying expensive fruit and importing makeup.
  7. When foreign restaurants don’t understand the concept of vegan, and so deliver your vegetarian pasta with cheese on top.
  8. When your dog starts begging for cucumber and veggie scraps, rather than just meat scraps.

    My watermelons didn't even make it to the size of tennis balls before the plant died :(

    My watermelons didn’t even make it to the size of tennis balls before the plant died 😦

What sort of face-palm, awkward, or hilarious moments have you experienced since going vegan/plant based? Leave a comment below!

Ginger Garlic Soy Stirfry

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures, by last night I made a huge stir fry for me and my boyfriend. He is on the health food wagon, and so I’m playing with meal plans for the two of us, as well as experimenting a bit more with recipes.

He is a meat eater of note, and so he had a steak to accompany this meal. I had some rice. It was delicious, nutritious and a good way to use up the odd range of vegetables in my fridge. Plus, the added benefit of using no oils at all!

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The Starch Solution

I have downloaded and read 80/10/10 on my kindle, however I have been completely unable to find The Starch Solution online anywhere! My kindle is registered to Australian Amazon, and I really don’t want to change that… Can anyone recommend a place that I can find it online to read? I would order the book in hard copy, however I’ve tried to order from Amazon once here, and I’m still anxiously awaiting delivery.

Oh the joys of living in a developing country – we have no registered addresses really, no public postal system worthy of mentioning. All mail here is done via courier services, and unfortunately Amazon do not send via courier.

Alternatively, if anyone is willing to mail me a PDF version of the book, or provide a link to the breakdown of fundamental points, I would be so grateful!

Super Easy-Peasy Chana Masala

Okay, to start this off, I owe an apology to a very wonderful website out there. I can’t remember the name of it, but that’s where I got this newfound favourite recipe from. After changing computers and losing my search history, I tried to google the recipe to see if I could find the original OP, but alas. I failed. So I’m sorry, mystery woman. You may have well been my vegan soulmate.

Deliciously tasty, and made in about 30 mins from pantry staples. What's not to love?

Deliciously tasty, and made in about 30 mins from pantry staples. What’s not to love?

Ingredients:

1 onion (I diced mine into largish chunks)

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp curry powder

1tbsp tomato paste (or tomato sauce, if you’re out of paste)

15oz can chickpeas, save 3tbsp liquid (I don’t understand anything other than the Metric system, but a typical sized can of chickpeas works perfectly)

1tbsp lemon juice

1/2tsp salt

fresh black pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper (optional)

2 handfuls of spinach (optional – I didn’t have any, so I didn’t include it)

coriander as a garnish (I love coriander, so I added a bucketload!)

Directions:

1. Fry onions until soft

2. Add garlic, curry powder and tomato paste

3. Add chickpeas, liquid, lemon juice, salt and black pepper

4. Stir in spinach if using and add red pepper to taste

5. Serve as is, or over rice. Top with coriander.

Now, I ate this whole lot to myself, without rice, which made for a filling meal. You could easily serve two people with this, if accompanied by rice, or spread over more people if you have an arrange of delicious curries on the table to share.

If you get around to making it, write in the comments to let me know what you think of it! Again – kudos to the magic website that brought me this angel!