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Eat less meat: UN climate change report calls for change to human diet (nature.com)
457 points by sanxiyn 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 547 comments



At least in the USA, this could in principle be fixed by ending the corporate welfare state. Old news, but All major industries like the beef industry get huge tax breaks, free water and other giveaways at the general taxpayer’s expense.

Fixing the corruption (both democratic and republican parties) in our our political would end up helping the environment a lot. That said, we have zero chance of fixing our corrupt political system. It will never happen, the elites have won that war.

One problem with reducing meat consumption is the general low skill level for cooking. Vegetarian food can taste better than meat dishes but you need skill and good ingredients. I have mixed feelings about Beyond Meat: my wife and I love the hot Italian sausage and burgers, but it is really not that healthy.


Corporate welfare is one thing. I'd also like to direct readers to this thread from yesterday: https://twitter.com/unabanned/status/1159272783676891136

- which persuasively argues (with multiple sources) that the US meat industry depends upon massive labor exploitation of undocumented immigrants in order to 1) suppress wages and 2) maintain an otherwise intolerable working environment.

This shows that the problem is not simply corrupt legislation and lobbying, but a de facto symbiotic relationship between the meat industry, federal immigration authorities and border coyotes to maintain artificially low prices.


> which persuasively argues (with multiple sources) that the US meat industry depends upon massive labor exploitation of undocumented immigrants in order to 1) suppress wages and 2) maintain an otherwise intolerable working environment.

That's well-known about the meat industry. The problem with suggesting it as a reason to avoid meat in favor of vegetable-based food is the same is well-known to be true of agriculture generally.


Good point, though when speaking of "intolerable working environments," many employees of slaughterhouses suffer from PTSD and drug/alcohol addiction, and also become more likely to be domestic abusers: https://metro.co.uk/2017/12/31/how-killing-animals-everyday-...


What will happen to veggie prices when we go to a $15 min wage? Do other farms not benefit from illegal labor?


It takes considerably less labor to farm vegetables than to farm vegetables and feed those vegetables to animals and also take care of those animals. So vegetable prices may go up, but considerably less so when compared to meat.


Animals don't eat vegetables. They eat hay and grains that can be dry land farmed on undesirable land with minimal labor.


Crop labor has also seen a lot more automation in general than meat labor over the last several decades. Some crop farms are almost entirely automated (and International Harvester and other brands think that Level 3 self-driving tech alone puts them on a path to nearly full automation in the next decade or so), though obviously things vary based on which crop.

On the other hand, slaughterhouses generally haven't seen any automation and other than size/scale mostly still resemble their counterparts from previous centuries.


Got a source for that? I've never been involved in commercial vegetable farming or large-scale cattle raising, but small-scale ranching is really not that labor intensive in my experience.


Scale seems to be exactly the problem. Industrial scale crop farming is highly automated. There aren't similar automations as you scale up cattle, and slaughterhouse work/butchering includes several skilled labor tasks with no similar skilled labor equivalents in vegetable farming.


Wouldn't the relationship between the meat industry and federal immigration authorities be the opposite of symbiotic? Federal immigration aims to curb the illegal immigration off of which (we reasonably alledge) the meat industry is profiting. Surely this is evident by the inclusion of "border coyotes" in the alleged symbiotic relationship?


It's also true for the agricultural industry in the US in general though.


> I have mixed feelings about Beyond Meat: my wife and I love the hot Italian sausage and burgers, but it is really not that healthy.

I totally get this, and have similar feelings. But I try to remind my self what Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger are competing with: meat. They have similar saturated fat profiles to their "real" alternatives.

I look at these meat alternatives as mostly beneficial for:

1. Meat eaters looking to eat more sustainably, but continue eating burgers and sausages and whatnot occasionally

2. "Cook out" situations where you can bring a good veggie burger and not be a total social weirdo eating grilled corn by yourself. And it's a good conversation starter, and others are usually intrigued enough to try, and impressed after having done so.


Why do you guys think saturated fat is bad for you? Certainly when fried it's much much healthier as it doesn't decompose into cancerous aldehydes. The science on this is very tainted so I would be very careful about assumptions here. Are there other things apart from saturated fat you are worried about?

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3t902pqt3C7nGN99hV...


Literally first hit on Google: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5475232/

"The science on this is very tainted" isn't a particularly strong argument.


Your article supports my argument but your comment sounds like you disagree :-) which is it?


It doesn't support your argument. "Replacing SAFA by cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids was associated with significant CHD risk reduction, which was confirmed by randomized controlled trials."


"In prospective observational studies and randomized controlled trials, higher total SAFA intakes were not associated with higher incident CHD events or mortality, but replacement nutrients were not taken into account."

So I see the conclusion as a mixed bag:

"Although higher SAFA intake might increase CHD risk by increasing plasma LDL-C [70], recent meta-analyses of prospective observational studies [1, 71, 72] reported that when compensating nutrients were not taken into account, SAFA intake was not associated with CHD or stroke mortality, all-cause mortality, or myocardial infarction. Two large, independent, prospective cohorts of US men and women confirmed this result [73]1. In a prospective Dutch cohort, higher total SAFA consumption was related to lower risk of ischemic heart disease, but not to CHD risk [74]. In another Dutch cohort, a positive association was observed between CHD risk and palmitic acid, but not total SAFA intake [75]."

So the study you quote has lots of different outcomes as if the science is very difficult and under different conditions different results are found.


Good evidence is given by the global burden of disease project. Funded by Bill&Melinda Gates, over 2000 scientists aggregated 15‘000 publications into the largest epidemiological study. Addressing 14 health risks concerning your diet into actual life years lost (DALY) respective per region, age, gender. Unsaturated fats is not the biggest contributor, but nevertheless.

http://www.healthdata.org/gbd


Closest thing I could find on that site that matches this description is the second chart on this page. [1] It shows diets "low in poly-UN-saturated fatty acids" as 11th-highest risk factor, contributing to less than 1% of the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost.

I'm not sure that a diet low in unsaturated fats can be conflated with one with high saturated fats. They tend to come from different sources (vegetables, nuts, and fish vs. meat, butter, and eggs, respectively).

Also, please do not make it this difficult to source your claims - the link you provide is to a homepage for an entire decades-long project full of results and reporting. This is incredibly annoying and unconstructive to the discussion.

[1] http://www.healthdata.org/announcement/improved-diets-and-in...


I'm confused by where it says eating saturated fat is bad for you.


As with climate change, there are a handful of bad actors and contrarians claiming that the science is tainted. But for the better part of a century, we've known that saturated fats are linked to heart and cardiovascular disease. It's frustrating that this misinformation is so readily spread, as it literally causes people's early death—including one of the early vocal adherents to it, John Atkins, who suffered several heart attacks and congestive heart failure before having a stroke that ultimately lead to his death.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nhzV-J1h0do

I suppose you’ll disagree with his analysis because the FDA say eat loads of carbs.


Or because Nattia is a hack with close ties with the animal agricultural industry: https://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/the-money-behind-the-...


From the article: "Taubes and Attia advocate a low-carb diet much like Teicholz; however, they have hired researchers who disagree with them to conduct groundbreaking nutrition studies."

They sound like right hacks. I'm not sure if you think the sugar industry paying for studies is great either, which a lot were.


For posterity I'll add in this excellent explanation about why we can't run controlled experiments very easily (in nutrition studies): https://peterattiamd.com/is-red-meat-killing-us/

What about that article makes your point? Olive oil is low on saturated fat and stable to cook with!

Moreover, if you keep your diet low in fried foods (which I do), this is not a concern, since you don't expose the oil to high heat.


We've been trying to cut our meat consumption, but the cooking complexity is exactly my issue. We're lazy but healthy eaters, meaning our regular entrees are a meat and a couple veggie sides. We also do low carb, mainly because it's just easier to limit calorie intake that way. Most of the dinner work is usually cutting and preparing vegetables. When we cut meat, it cuts the main portion of the entree, which can sometimes be filled with baked potato, corn on the cob, some quinoa thing, but it's not as satisfying and gets boring. We don't like buying processed foods, and soups without meat are nearly a no-go for me. But hey, I'm limiting consumption so I guess I'm doing my part.


Yeah, as a vegetarian I can do some awesome things with lentils, but I remember the days when I could rub some spice on a pork chop and throw it on the grill and then have something boxed and starchy on the side and have a pretty decent meal.

Meanwhile, a good lentil stew is a much more involved project. Much less home-made veggie burger patties which have dozens of ingredients and elaborate preparation processes.

Going full vegan is even harder, because cheese is a pretty good shortcut to making hearty food.


I felt similarly to you when i first decided to try eating mostly vegan a few years back. One of my go-to meals was a cheese sandwich. It tastes great, you can't beat the speed of prep and it's not completely unhealthy. But now i realize there are plenty of other fast things that hit the spot that actually i already knew how to make but i never really saw as go-to meals before.

Here are some examples.

I know it's a punchline these days, but i grew up in the 80s eating avocado toast. You want more flavor? Just spread some marmite or vegemite.

The Tex-Mex take is to smash that avo with corn chips and salsa. Miss the cheese? Put some silky tofu. Think of it like queso fresco. Hey, you can also slice it on tomato with vinegar to make caprese salad.

What about beans on toast? If you're not a bread person, something i used to cook in my student days is can of beans, can of creamed corn, garlic, chili, soy, the end. It's hearty. It only takes 10 minutes. I still cook variations on that, sometimes with no corn or different beans. I like using sesame seeds to thicken it up, or pumpkin seeds for a different texture.

I also leverage peanut butter when i am feeling lazy. Spread it on some seaweed rice crackers for savory. You can put it on bread with sliced banana for sweet.

Real peanuts are great too. They are literally the first thing i throw in the wok. Oil. Peanuts. Garlic, ginger, chilis. Then the vegetable or mushroom or tofu or whatever. Or not, because just seasoned peanuts will go fine on top of whatever other vegan thing where you feel you're missing some crispy, oily, goodness.

There really is so much, and i think a lot of it is stuff most people already eat. I think the problem is that people tend to think of incidentally vegan dishes as somehow not being "real" meals, but that's a cultural bias that can be unlearned.


I agree. I am not actually vegan, as I occasionally eat meat (love the taste still), but I try to reduce meat and dairy as much as possible.

Kenji of SeriousEats does a vegan-month every year and claims that he enjoys it because he focuses on dishes that taste exciting, but happen to be vegan.

A particular favorite of mine is this Mapo Dofu that he started out making with meat but migrated to silken tofu https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/02/vegan-food-mapo-tofu-veg...


It's not as hard as you might imagine. Cheese is great because it's an umami bomb. However, there are other umami bombs out there (tomatoes being one!). As many people have said, though, it's all about the knowledge. A miso garlic sauce is insane, and easy to make, but very few people outside of Japan know about it. I'm not really sure exactly where the umami gets in, but fermented hot sauces are also amazing for filling out flavour (it could be the fermentation). To cook good vegan food it's not actually much harder, but you practically have to learn to cook all over again. (Was vegan for 10 years... hopes people enjoyed my cooking as much as I did... no guarantees ;-) ).


I think the trick to reducing food prep labor is larger batches. Maybe that means you eat the same thing 4 or more times in a week. Or maybe that means you freeze some of it for later. But it doesn't really take any more work to make a 3x batch of lentil stew than it does to make the regular sized batch.


> Meanwhile, a good lentil stew is a much more involved project. Much less home-made veggie burger patties which have dozens of ingredients and elaborate preparation processes.

Really? I never thought that to be the case. To me, making a stew of lentils is just as easy as cooking meat. Sure, depending on the type of lentils it may take longer, but then there is red lentils which takes 20 minutes of cooking. It really is simple, I do not see why people make it sound like as if it was magic. Also... what do these meat eaters eat their meat with? Or do they eat meat on its own?


> because cheese is a pretty good shortcut to making hearty food.

Entirely anecdotal, but essentially cutting dairy entirely from my diet has done wonders for me and my wife in more ways that you can imagine. She literally cured her life-long respiratory allergies just from no longer drinking milk / eating cheese. Greek yogurt is fine, for some reason


Rennet?


I’ve been vegan for two years now, and I can unequivocally say that cooking and eating are much easier than when I was constantly having to handle meat, clean up more & cook longer because of worries about food borne illness, etc.

If you do it long enough it gets way easier as your cooking skills and methods adapt.

Some tips I follow:

-I highly recommend a CSA for great vegetables, delivered if possible

-Start a small raised bed garden for greens, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, etc.

-Batch prep veggies and store in bulk (I use cheap rectangular stackable tupperware) for super easy access. Batch prep greens and legumes, store in the freezer, take from freezer to pan.

-When batch cooking, clean veggies with a water and baking soda soak in a large mixing bowl. Just soak for a few minutes and then rinse a couple times

-Using a rice cooker to make grains is much easier than stovetop

-Use walnuts and unsalted nuts (peanuts are great, despite not actually being a nut) with moderation to make foods more substantial, while avoiding processed nut butters and oils

-Use good non stick pans to cut down on oil and cleanup time

-In general, cut back on foods and condiments rich in salt, sugar, fats, and especially processed foods, as they distort your taste palette. It’s a lot like drug addiction...”when I’m not on heroine, life just seems bland!”

-You don’t have to cook veggie meals as thoroughly as meat, experiment with varied levels of freshness and eat raw foods more...less cooking

-simple root veggies are awesome, cheap, hearty, and easy to cook (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots...all can be boiled)

-Frozen organic blueberries, oatmeal, banana, sprinkling of walnuts, delicious :-)


> In general, cut back on foods and condiments rich in salt, sugar, fats

Another way to say this is "eat bland food". Literally.

Salt, fats, sugars, and acids, are what make food taste good. These distort your taste palette? These _are_ your taste palette...


-I highly recommend a CSA for great vegetables, delivered if possible I do not. They are (at least where I am) unpredictable in content which increases the burden of planning meals.


> We don't like buying processed foods, and soups without meat are nearly a no-go for me. But hey, I'm limiting consumption so I guess I'm doing my part.

I lean toward the carnivore spectrum but there are a couple meatless soups that I enjoy:

* New England clam chowder

* Corn chowder

* Barley mushroom (though it’s even better with meat)

* Gazpacho

And while I’d never order it if given the option for a “real one”, vegetarian pho was surprisingly good.


> New England clam chowder

Are clams not considered meat? Also any good New England Clam Chowder has bacon in it.


This is a weird cultural thing that I encounter every now and then. Some cultures only consider flesh from land animals to be "meat". People from these cultures also often call the diet I would call "pescatarian" "vegetarian".


This rule applies to certain Catholic traditions, eg abstaining from meat on Fridays.

> Gazpacho

Not really an example of an easy to make recipe (lots of ingredients), but Yotam Ottolenghi's green gazpacho (made with green vegetables and walnuts rather than tomatoes) does really well when you are entertaining guests. It's listed in his Plenty. It's one of those cookbooks you can find in many homes around the globe due to its popularity — and it's all vegetarian.


Ottolenghi has some damn tasty recipes. The aubergines/eggplants here are so good that I find it hard to leave enough for lunch the next day https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/jul/20/yotam-ottolengh...


Healthiest way to go about it is to go low-fat, high carb. The body uses glucose for energy most easily. Whole-foods plant based diets, as shown in documentaries like Forks Over Knives, have been shown to let people lose weight and reverse diseases like diabetes. A cooked carb like a potato or rice is like 1 calorie/gram, including the water. Oil is 9 calories/gram. Without oil, sheer food volume and fiber will make you feel full. A huge portion of the world thrives on grains and legumes as staples.


Your body can’t live on carbohydrates alone. You need ~0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight edit: with a sedentary lifestyle.

Legumes tend to have a surprisingly balanced macronutrients at 21g carbs, 8g protein, 0.6g fat, vs a baked potatoes 37 g carbs, 4.3g protein, 0.2 fat.


Do the math for a potato-only diet. 1 baked potato is 171 calories. 2000/171 is 11.7 potatoes. 11.7*4.3 = 50.3. That's sufficient for a 62.5 kg individual by your 0.8 g/kg standard.

Potatoes are also lower protein than a variety of grains and vegetables (which are low in macronutrients in general).


Men on a 2,000 calorie diet are recommended a minimum of 56 grams of protein.

0.8 per kg is for a generic sedentary lifestyle, with increased activity your needs go up. 2000 calories on a 62.5 kg person is a non sedentary lifestyle.


Is there a name for a general protein deficiency?


Generally it's grouped under malnutrition though the severe from is Kwashiorkor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein%E2%80%93energy_malnutr... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwashiorkor

Moderate levels generally shows up as low albumin levels on a blood test aka Hypoalbuminemia a type of Hypoproteinemia, and is associated with a huge range of symptoms. Westerners generally only get this due to Malabsorption.


> Westerners generally only get this due to Malabsorption

Exactly. It's not really a "protein deficiency" as much as it is a "nutritional deficiency". You can easily get enough protein even if you just eat vegetables (for example) as long as you get enough calories.


Can does not mean will. People do dumb things like get 10+% of their calories from sodas.

The tendency to over eat, eat lots of meat, and have a very sedentary lifestyle are the main reasons it’s uncommon in the west. However, it does still occasionally happen to people due to very poor diets combined with active lifestyles. Healing and inflammation related heath issues can also increase people’s needs for protein.

PS: People also very rarely get scurvy via avoiding or over cooking all their sources of vitamin C for months. Occasionally taking a multi vitamin covers most nutritional issues except for macro nutrients.


The body will preferentially use alcohol before glucose. I recommend a 100% alcohol based diet.


The liver processes alcohol, which gets in the way of its normal function.

The liver processes glucose, which gets in the way of its normal ketone production.

I was 200 lbs when I cut out sugar and complex carbs from my diet - no more pasta, potatoes, also no bread. I lost 20 lbs fairly quickly. For carbs I still ate sweet potatoes and brown rice. To fill some of the hunger from lower carbs intake I ate high fat avocados. Fastest weight I ever lost. Dairy was fair game though. It's amazing how bloated bread makes your body. Once I cut bread I never again felt bloated.


> soups without meat are nearly a no-go for me

This way you are missing maybe 90% of the soups of the world. Maybe try some exotic spices - I used to hate tomato soup from our school canteen with passion, but once I tried a properly spiced variant in Nepali Himalayas, things were never the same again (for the better) and I love it these days (I mean the Nepali version)


In context, I meant the lazy soups we make always contain meat and still taste good. I can put like 4-5 ingredients in an instant pot and be done. Are there similar low effort meatless soups, without hunting down exotic spices? I love good Thai and Indian curries and such, always open to new flavors at restaurants, but at home I'm just not willing to go through that kind of effort, as I kind of despise cooking but am too cheap to eat out often.


If you buy the curry paste, Thai-style curries are ridiculously easy to make: you can basically just dump the paste, coconut milk, a bit of water/broth, fish sauce (or soy sauce, or even just salt), a tiny bit of sugar, and whatever vegetables and other ingredients into a pot and cook for 10 minutes. Daal can be similarly easy to make, though you usually at least have to sauté some onions, ginger, etc first before throwing everything into the pot.

If you're okay with seafood, my wife and I really like this[0] Lohikeitto recipe (Finnish salmon soup). If that seems a bit too heavy, I've made a variation where I reduce the butter, skip the heavy cream, and add harissa (or sub whatever combination of warm spices) for a lighter, spicier soup that tastes just as good.

[0]: http://cookingtheglobe.com/finnish-salmon-soup-lohikeitto/


Love buying Thai curry pastes for quick curries. Also I know the grandparent poster asked for easy recipes, but if you want one that's ridiculously involved (~30 min of prep if you're really quick, and ~3 hours of intermittent watchful stirring) but also ridiculously tasty, check out beef rendang. Lovely, very spicy, 'dry' curry with incredibly tender beef.


Hah, I've made this before and didn't know what it was called! I had it at a local Thai restaurant under the name "Kua tender beef", and decided to try to replicate it at home. It's so delicious! I wouldn't call it "ridiculously involved" (I've made phõ from scratch), but yeah, it's a bit labor intensive.


Soup stocks are always going to be easier because of the umami. You can even just get boullion cubes and your are pretty much good to go. For Japanese cooking, ichiban dashi is ridiculously easy -- though the katsuobushi is very, very difficult to make: really you need a professional to do it for you :-)

I have found that with vegan soups, you have to change the way you approach making soup. You don't start with a heavy, umami stock and add a few things to it. Instead, you have to layer flavours. So, it's not necessarily harder, but you have to know how to do it.

One surprisingly ovo-vegetarian soup is garlic soup. There is a good description in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Child, et al, but from memory: Boil a peeled head of garlic. Remove the garlic. Whisk in a home made aoli (sp? -- virgin olive oil mayonaise). Add salt. It's truly a surprisingly good soup. You could probably devise a vegan version, but you need to find a way to emulsify the oil.

A vegan soup that I often have with somen noodles (thin wheat noodles) is soy milk (yes, really) mixed half and half with a light vegetable broth, chili oil, and fried garlic (a trend?). Whisk in a light, sweet miso to taste (or you can use a naturally fermented soy sauce, but I like the miso better). You can also add a dash of sesame oil, or mix in defatted sesame hulls.

I'd write some more, but it's been quite a while since I did any vegetarian cooking and my memory is not that great! But, definitely there are lots of amazing vegetarian soups that are relatively easy to make if you know how.


I find Turkish lentil soups to be pretty easy to make:

https://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2010/11/hearty-red-lentil-sou... https://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2010/09/hearty-and-spicy-red-...

If you don't use chicken stock there isn't much of an umami component. That doesn't really bother me, but Better Than Bouillon or just a bit of Marmite can give it a little umami boost.

Indian dals can pretty easy as well (if you consider them to be soup). The simplest don't need much more than cumin and mustard seeds, which I wouldn't call exotic. There are a huge variety of them and obviously they can get much more complex.

On the slightly more complex side, I also like vegetarian chili and Tuscan white bean soup. I think chili tastes better using whole dried peppers, but if you have chili powder you can throw it together much more quickly.


> I have mixed feelings about Beyond Meat: my wife and I love the hot Italian sausage and burgers, but it is really not that healthy.

Beyond Meat is competing with freezer aisle foodstuff and there it handily wins out in just about every category (price, taste, nutrition), even if objectively it's unhealthy for you.

There's a world of vegetarian options outside of the preprocessed fauxmeats (including the entire produce section).


> I have mixed feelings about Beyond Meat: my wife and I love the hot Italian sausage and burgers, but it is really not that healthy.

Regular veggie burgers and other products (not trying to imitate meat) are usually really good. They should embrace the fact that they can include a vast array of vegetables and spices. Example: Morningstar farms has a chickpea burger I really like. Also it's much cheaper than Beyond products. I share your concern about the Beyond products (and other vegetarian products); if I want a ton of saturated fat, I'd just eat meat. Chicken and fish are healthier than Beyond.

A society that eats less meat (or none) is inevitable given time, for both moral and practical reasons of health, scarcity and environmental impact. We should teach people to cook healthy vegan food that they enjoy. Just providing food options people enjoy without meat will reduce meat consumption without pushing a moral agenda that often receives hysterical responses.

Disclaimer: I eat meat, though I've been eating less for the above reasons.


>We should teach people to cook healthy vegan food that they enjoy.

That just isn't realistic; you'll wind up with a lot of really unhealthy people eating food they hate. Not everyone is good at cooking, and one big reason veganism is so unpopular is because it's so hard to make anything that tastes good with it. Meat is easy to cook, even for people who aren't very good at cooking. And veganism is generally unhealthy, because most people aren't dedicated or good enough at it to get the proper nutrition, so they leave out critical nutrients, whereas with meat it's really easy to get everything you need (like iron).

Expecting the whole populace to get good at cooking vegan food is like expecting the whole populace to become very skilled at C++ programming (including template metaprogramming). It isn't going to happen.

If someone makes vegan pre-made meals that can just be microwaved, that would be different.


Your vision of the world is really quite dystopian.

Cooking is a basic part of human life and has been for millenia.

Comparing it to C++ programming is absurd.

Once the true costs of meat are priced in, people will figure it out. They're not going to just starve, chucking a few things in a pot is not some great hardship.

The viewpoint that cooking is some super difficult thing seems to be prevalent on Hacker News.

If anything, cooking vegetables is far easier than cooking meat, because it's difficult to get it wrong. Meat can go bad far more easily, requires cooking properly, etc. By contrast most vegetables can be eaten raw, or 'chuck it in a pot and boil it and wait a bit'. Add spices and oil. Done.


> One problem with reducing meat consumption is the general low skill level for cooking. Vegetarian food can taste better than meat dishes but you need skill and good ingredients. I have mixed feelings about Beyond Meat: my wife and I love the hot Italian sausage and burgers, but it is really not that healthy.

What? I make stew of any legumes and it does not require more skills than cooking meat.


Good vegetarian food can be easy but some ingredients like tofu require seasoning. Almost all meat dishes can be made with only salt and pepper.

I read some study somewhere, which says eating meat makes you more sexually attractive and your features are developed better if you eat meat.

If there the case, I don't think you can convince people to not eat meat because it's like telling them to stop using makeup or stop making efforts to become mor handsome/beautiful


You want to find a rare issue with bipartisan support? Try raising the price of food and seeing how people like it.


> You want to find a rare issue with bipartisan support? Try raising the price of food and seeing how people like it.

Food stamps are designed to raise the market clearing price of food as a subsidy to agriculture (they’ve since become a means-tested welfare program as well, while retaining the original purpose); they have fairly strong political support, which definitely shows a partisan divide.

The Dairy Price Support Program and other agricultural price support programs likely continue to exist despite having the sole purpose of raising the price of food; were raising the price of food the kind of third-rail you are trying to imply, there would be a bipartisan consensus against such programs that would make it impossible to retain them.


Actually, we started subsidizing farms to compete against the Soviet Union during the cold war, to demonstrate the superiority of "capitalism."

They served their purpose well, but now they're almost impossible to remove.

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/farms-race/


Farm subsidies started during the New Deal. I believe one effect of those subsidies was to maintain a reserve of farm capacity that was used in WWII to provide needed food aid to our allies, including the Soviets.

> One problem with reducing meat consumption is the general low skill level for cooking. Vegetarian food can taste better than meat dishes but you need skill and good ingredients

No, why? Not at all... My cooking skill level is knowing how to use a stove. What good ingredients do you mean? In my experience cooking meat is always the hardest part.


> At least in the USA, this could in principle be fixed by ending the corporate welfare state. Old news, but All major industries like the beef industry get huge tax breaks, free water and other giveaways at the general taxpayer’s expense.

Unfortunately, in my experience when I bring this up the typical response us that I must be a socialist.


In America, saying anything unAmerican is "socialist". So advocating things like much stricter gun laws, more public transit, or ending tax breaks and other giveaways to large politically-connected corporations are unAmerican and therefore "socialist" in American parlance.


Yeah, survival is more important that you having comfort food.


> That said, we have zero chance of fixing our corrupt political system

We do have a chance. It's not going to be long until a critical mass of individuals understand that democracy is a system that legitimizes coercion, and that taxation is theft and generates poverty. We just need one more generation until that happens.

When people reach that conclusion, they will move their money away from fiat currencies and they will move their information into distributed systems (eg. blockchains).

By consequence they will make states and coercion not viable. Without the ability to control currencies, states go bankrupt and can't even pay for people to steal your money.

Welcome to anarcho-capitalism, while I wait for the downvotes.


If putting your money in crypto prevents you from paying taxes, it's you who'd go to jail. If any government saw a dip in taxes, they'd just pass a law requiring an "internet driver's license". Then require your wallet number. Such licenses are already common, outside the US.

So, less anarcho anything. More jail time, and then forced labor, and then one again paying taxes.

Sorry.


From https://skepticalscience.com/animal-agriculture-meat-global-...

"Animal agriculture is responsible for 13–18% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally, and less in developed countries (e.g. 3% in the USA). Fossil fuel combustion for energy and transportation is responsible for approximately 64% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally, and more in developed countries (e.g. 80% in the USA)."

I think in the USA, it would be more productive to address the 80% as higher priority than reducing the 3%. I think this veganism initiative is also more driven by morality and political partisanship than by an effort to find a realistic and practical solution to GHG emissions. And this can backfire: I believe that a reason why nearly half the country will not even openly admit there is a problem, is because they fear the consequences of political over-reaction more than the problem itself.


Eating less meat is not veganism. It's not even vegetarianism.

It's not the first time that I'm seeing reactions about this report to focus on veganism. I don't understand where it comes from: the word "vegan" is absent from the article and the IPCC report doesn't recommend a any diet.

I understand debate about this report and the impact of agriculture and breeding, but I don't understand why the debate is centered around veganism.


If you trace the origin of most of these low meat consumption pushes, its often vegan groups with an agenda trying to get the governments ear. Problem is, the recommendations and studies they site don't stand up to real scrutiny. For example they often say you should not exceed the RDA for meat consumption, without realizing that an RDA is the bare minimum to not be nutrient deficient. It is by no means the optimal level of protein consumption and likely a detrimental recommendations for the vast majority. When called out on it, they will pull the GHG card, but at 3% of US GHG emission even that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Then they pull the morality card, without realized that row crop harvest kill vastly more small animals per harvest. Its all rooted in bias, plane and simple. The most vocal are the vegans and they make a convincing surface argument.


There is no RDA for meat consumption.

most row crops are used to feed livestock.


Indeed. It is not an all or nothing kind of thing. I've been eating less meat lately for a number of reasons, but I'm far from being vegan.

The Skeptical Science link doesn't seem to touch on water usage, only focusing on greenhouse gas emissions. Groundwater decline and depletion is another factor that should be kept in mind as people consider their food choices.


unfortunately, many vegans DO make it seem like an all or nothing issue. The amount of people I know who hate on Reducetarianism is infuriating and incredibly "anti-vegan" to use their own language.


it's a knee jerk reaction when people hear "eat less meat" they think "vegans". It's easier to downplay facts and argue against ghosts when you can associate what you don't like hearing with people who are commonly hated.


Is that 3% number associated with meat production in the USA or with meat consumption in the USA? If it's the former, then 3% would be an underestimate of the impact of reducing meat consumption, since the 3% doesn't include the emissions impact of feed and livestock that is imported.


That is true, but I think the point stands. As (mostly) programmers we're quick to understand and make use of practical rules like Ahmdal's law[1] for optimizing software, and know that you always start by looking at the parts that take the longest. Yet in real life we're sometimes tempted to optimize at the fringes first and ignore the obvious biggest contributing factors first.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amdahl%27s_law#Serial_programs


or maybe it's possible to address multiple sources of a problem simultaneously?

I see this "not as bad as" fallacy again and again in various different discussions and it is mainly used to downplay issues by comparing them to something worse. There is absolutely no reason we cannot discuss and address one issue without it taking away from other (possibly more impactful) issues. Some issues have less impact but are easier to to solve, and some have more impact but are harder to solve. We absolutely can (and should) work to address them at the same time.


If one is 3% and the other 80%, any effort put on the 3% is only useful to distract from the 80%. It's wasted time. So ideally you don't do both, you focus on the things that matter.


> any effort put on the 3% is only useful to distract from the 80%

How is it a distraction to address the percentage (however small) that we can have as individuals while the larger problems are solved through legislation/technological advancements? They are not mutually exclusive. It's not like people/organizations/governments can only think about/propose/implement one change at a time. It's like making the argument that nobody can do any work on smaller bug fixes while the main code branch is being compiled. Both contribute to the success of the whole, but neither are mutually exclusive given enough manpower (which the world undoubtably has). You can certainly work on hobby projects at home without it taking away from your work in the office.

when we are at a tipping point for climate change and every bit of reduction in greenhouse gases matters, plus the fact that most of the contributors aren't easily affected at an individual level, there is no reason to not address both simultaneously. How most individual humans currently live is unsustainable, period. If we actually want to ensure the continued survival as a species on this planet, we are going to have to change our individual habits at some point. There is no amount of carbon capture/tax that can undo or prevent the destruction of the planets natural resources. You have to address the underlying unsustainability, not just treat the symptom.


I think it is also related to efficiency, most gain with minimum efforts


That 3% figure prbably doesn't take the global supply chain, deforestation and consumption shift towards western diets in developping and emerging economies into account.

At least in the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change's Global Calculator[1], the food lever seems to be much more powerful than your comment suggests.

[1] http://tool.globalcalculator.org


Woah. I always thought it was more than that. EPA puts it at only 9% https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas...


It's more than that because of land use changes caused by animal agriculture: https://twitter.com/GeorgeMonbiot/status/1159831081798864898...


well, we know that animal agriculture results in deforestation. so it's not so simple.

one would need to calculate both the carbon output of animal agriculture and - crucially - the carbon that will /permanently/ not be captured via loss of land that serves as a carbon sink (Amazon rain forest is the big one) that results as demand for additional animal agriculture increases.


And cross that with our other values like morality or deforestation's contribution to animal species extinction.


With those statistics, it's funny. The solution is buses and green energy, but those cost money.


And the burden is in the developed countries, not in the developing ones.


I would also be curious to find (I can't find any stats) on how much carbon is put back into circulation when people metabolize hydrated carbon a.k.a. carbohydrates. I've done my part to stop consuming carbohydrates and it was not easy.


It’s also worth pointing out that even if you don’t want to reduce the amount of meat you eat, changing the type of meat can have big effects. For example (and ignoring transport to the consumer), lamb produces about 35 kg CO₂ per kg of meat, beef 25kg CO₂ / kg, pork and farmed salmon 8kg CO₂ / kg and chicken 4kg CO₂ / kg.


This

If you really want to have an impact while still eating meat, just stop eating beef/lamb altogether

The amount of food and water needed to produce 1kg of beef meat is just insane

Eat poultry or fish instead

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_conversion_ratio

>Cattle is the worst at something like 15:1. Aquaculture, specifically tilapia and catfish, is good at under 2:1


As already mentioned in another discussion, the ratio they use for farmed fish is "where the first number is the mass of harvested fish used to feed farmed fish, and the second number is the mass of the resulting farmed fish".

Which makes it much less positive than it first appears.


> makes it much less positive than it first appears.

Take in mind that fish food for aquaculture has a small percentage of plant proteins and oils also. Is unclear if this was included or not in the claimed FIFO ratio, so some of this fish could be really soy (or maybe not). Reality is always more complex than a single numerical value.


Yeah chicken is the best farmed animal on CO₂. They burn less themselves because they can cuddle and have it warm. And don’t need to run around. ... in their small cages


not fish. Commercial fishing is killing the oceans (and something like 80% of the plastic in the ocean is fishing industry waste).


this suggests taxing meat as a function of CO2 production, as opposed to price taxation. This would automatically reward local production (the same additional tax for an imported cheaper meat as for a local but more expensive meat, hits the cheaper one harder)


Thank you. Is there a reliable place I can find this information? I have anecdotally been much healthier after incorporating more protein, particularly whole meat (rather than isolated protein) into my diet - fewer illnesses, faster recovery time, better gut health, etc.


You can access health and CO₂ informations on almost all foods here: https://app.eaternity.ch/login


And meat from wild invasive species is even lower.


There's a good case to be made for humans being primarily meat eaters for much of our history and only eating plants as an alternative to starving - we certainly haven't had time to evolve to eat a vegetarian diet. Agriculture has only been around for a small fraction of our history and the skeletal record clearly shows how disasterous it was for our health.

The current 'plant based' fad diet recommendations are backed up by some very poor science and may be seriously unsuitable for humans and for children in particular, nutrition-wise. Animal agriculture is not even a major source of human emissions so to call for changes to our natural diet seems very premature.


> There's a good case to be made for humans being primarily meat eaters for much of our history and only eating plants as an alternative to starving

To really contribute, it would be nice if you came up with some citations to your claim.


Our stomach pH is very low, comparable to carrion eaters and some carnivores.

"It is interesting to note that humans, uniquely among the primates so far considered, appear to have stomach pH values more akin to those of carrion feeders than to those of most carnivores and omnivores" https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...

Our requirements for DHA and B12 indicate a diet rich in both - both found almost exclusively in animal foods

Evolution of the Human Brain: the key roles of DHA(omega-3 fatty acid) andD6-desaturase gene https://www.ocl-journal.org/articles/ocl/pdf/2018/04/ocl1700...

We wean our young for a very short amount of time compared to other apes.

"Our model indicates that carnivory has a specific and quantifiable impact on human development and life history and, crucially, explains why Homo weans so much earlier than the great apes." Impact of Carnivory on Human Development and Evolution Revealed by a New Unifying Model of Weaning in Mammals https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...


We do require B12, but "found almost exclusively in animal foods" leaves out something important. B12 is produced by bacteria, and is found in natural, untreated water sources, as well as dirt. Our bodies are adapted to preserve B12 in a very elaborate way, (because it is a water-soluble vitamin), meaning that we can survive on the trace amounts found in untreated water and the dirt that sticks to vegetables. This is not to say that I'm recommending drinking untreated water or not washing vegetables. Vegans should absolutely supplement.

DHA can be produced by our bodies transforming ALA, which is found in plant sources: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016378271...

Like the article says, there's debate over whether this is enough, as the conversion is very inefficient. As I understand it, ALA and LA compete for the same pathway, meaning that excess of LA intake (an omega 6 fatty acid, abundant in nuts and seeds, and of course oils processed from them) will reduce our body's ability to produce DHA, so a human eating prehistoric diet would likely have a better conversion ratio than on a modern diet. Also, there's apparently evidence that if we don't eat a lot of DHA, our bodies convert more of our dietary ALA to it to compensate: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20861171

But even taking all this into consideration, I'm not very sympathetic to arguments from nature. There's a big difference between saying "primal humans did X" and saying "modurn humans need to do X to be healthy". Even taking everything you said as given, there's overwhelming evidence that meat consumption is a big factor in for modern chronic health problems like heart disease and cancer. Eating whatever you can get your hands on (meat, eggs, fish, insects) makes sense when you just need enough calories to survive and reproduce, but that's not the problem now. We suffer from diseases of abundance. A plant-based diet with B12 and DHA supplementation is much healthier than an omnivorous one.


I'd like to focus on your assertion: "A plant-based diet with B12 and DHA supplementation is much healthier than an omnivorous one."

I'd not bet my health and my children's development on a novel way of eating without fantastic proof. Have you got any?


I challenge your opinion:

I wouldn’t call the world consensus of the IPCC poor science. It is actually the opposite: the best science we have available.

The report goes into depth about the health benefits these diets have also.


The IPCC is now the authority on human nutrition?


I do recommend the studies of the global burden of disease project as an authority for what is healthy [1] Springman, cited on chapter 5 of the report, goes into depth relying on those evidences for modeling the potential diets. [2]

That is what the IPCC references. Great work, published in nature, peer reviewed and pretty solid science.

[1]: http://www.healthdata.org/gbd [2]: https://eatforum.org/eat-lancet-commission/


how about 10 of some of the largest nutritional organizations?[1]

1. https://www.theplantway.com/is-vegan-healthy/


Sounds like a big ol' Paleo-esque Appeal to Nature argument.

> The current 'plant based' fad diet recommendations are backed up by some very poor science and may be seriously unsuitable for humans and for children in particular, nutrition-wise

Care to provide evidence to back that up? Your broad, evolutionary talking points and observations on stomach pH in your other response hardly backs up your strongly worded supposition.

Plant based diets have been practiced by not insignificant portions of the population beginning in the 6th-century BCE with Buddhism and Hinduism[1]. An estimated 20-40% of India is currently vegetarian[2]. Not sure "fad" is an accurate descriptor.

I'm sure you'd have a hard time refuting the unending amount of "poor science" that shows plant based diets are effective for longevity, treating obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure[3]. The AICR recommends a plant based diet to prevent cancer[4], and ten other major Nutritional Organizations recognize the health benefits[5].

"It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes."[5]

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_vegetarianism#Ancie...

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country#India

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/

4. https://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/healthy-or-harmful/v...

5. https://www.theplantway.com/is-vegan-healthy/


>Plant based diets have been practiced by not insignificant portions of the population beginning in the 6th-century BCE with Buddhism and Hinduism. An estimated 20-40% of India is currently vegetarian. Not sure "fad" is an accurate descriptor.

In terms of human history, he's right. 6th-century BCE was not very long ago at all: that's less than a mere 3000 years. Humans have been around for over 2 million years.

Also, he's right about the skeletal record: archaeology shows that humans lost about 1 foot of height when they switched to agriculture. Yes, much of India is vegetarian, but Indians tend to be pretty short, but then when they emigrate to western nations and adopt more western diets, their kids end up dwarfing them.


I am Indian, I am vegan and was brought up vegetarian and I am not short. I am a foot taller than my parents. It has nothing to do with approximating western diets and everything to do with proper nutrition, vegetarian or not.

> everything to do with proper nutrition, vegetarian or not

Exactly. It's like the unending articles that point to negligent "vegan" parents as the cause of child deaths/underdevelopment when they fed them super extreme, restrictive diets that just happen to be able to fit into the rules of veganism. You can get poor nutrition and technically follow the rules of many diets, but that isn't necessarily a reflection on the diets themselves, but on poor nutrition awareness.


> In terms of human history, he's right. 6th-century BCE was not very long ago at all: that's less than a mere 3000 years. Humans have been around for over 2 million years.

3000 years is certainly long enough to take something out of "fad" status. I would challenge you to find another diet that follows specific rules that has been around for longer.

> Also, he's right about the skeletal record: archaeology shows that humans lost about 1 foot of height when they switched to agriculture.

Again - making broad, sweeping evolutionary correlations does not an argument make. You have absolutely no idea what specific shifts in eating, living or working habits resulted in skeletal changes. These are the same weak arguments proponents of the Paleo and Atkins diets make. Could you make a case for dietary changes effecting our evolution at the time? sure. Could you point to vegetarianism as the cause? Good luck with that.

> Yes, much of India is vegetarian, but Indians tend to be pretty short, but then when they emigrate to western nations and adopt more western diets, their kids end up dwarfing them.

Yet again with the generalizations. If we humor this for a moment, there is a much stronger argument for the correlation[3][4][5][6] of poverty levels[1] and height[2] than there is for levels of vegetarianism. In fact, there is data to show the opposite[7][8]. Poor diet in general results in impaired growth, not vegetarianism. I'm not even sure what you could argue would be missing in a vegetarian diet that would effect bone growth as most point to calcium in milk and vegetarians can drink milk...

1. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-of-the-population-l...

2. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/average-height-of-men

3. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...

4. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-children-height-po...

5. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17880-3

6. https://adc.bmj.com/content/archdischild/76/5/463.full.pdf

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1855500

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9023462


Drinking milk is a Western thing, and not normal in India. Also, vegans don't drink milk at all; they're morally opposed to using animals products like that (eggs too), so they want to eliminate that as a calcium source.

There are entire cultures whose diet is plant-based.


naw, just a fad unlike Paleo, Keto, Carnivore etc. ;)


From an evolutionary perspective, we have evolved: we use tools and process nearly anything we eat anyway. Plants are the only thing we eat with minimal preparation, and only some of those.

When was the last time you had raw beef? for me, it was beef tartare a few years ago...

Raw grain? Nope, that's all processed, either by boiling, or grinding and turning into something else.


Sushi!

Homo Erectus was thought to have subsisted on raw meat. There's evidence of intestinal parasites that suggests such a diet.

Apparently, at some point, we decided to cook our meat, which reduced the parasite load and removed the need for low pH comparative to other carnivores.

But not too long ago, humans did eat some raw meats. Primitive hunters sometimes ate raw hearts, and drinking fresh blood was not unheard of. 1,000 years ago, the Mongols would sometimes nick their horses and drink blood to sustain them on long journeys.


Sushi! I knew someone would bring it up. :)

It's also usually prepared in some way, whether it's flash frozen or treated with vinegar.

But, I guess my point is that the evolutionary argument doesn't really make sense in a world where we evolved tools and have been eating processed food for a long, long time.

Also, evolution happens a lot faster than people give it credit for. Something I read somewhere is that the genes for lactose digestion only started remaining "switched on" in adults like 8,000 years ago, and yet a third of the world now has this gene.

That's a really short time! That's not far from when we develop writing (around 6,000 years ago).


Paleontologists believe that it was the shift from fruits and nuts to a high protein diet of meat that allowed our brains to grow dramatically compared to other primates. We are omnivorous, and our bodies require a certain amount of plant matter ideally, but clearly meat is an integral component of a healthy human diet.


Quote a single paleontologist.


Okay, a physical anthropologist, not a paleontologist [1999]: https://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/6-14-1...

A neuro-scientist from Brazil: https://www.livescience.com/24875-meat-human-brain.html

You can do your own internet search for more such information. It's not proven, but is a widely accepted theory.


>Our stomach pH is very low, comparable to carrion eaters and some carnivores.

Hmm... this is how you get into an argument where people talk past each other. You may be correct when it comes to that little nugget of information, but when it comes to the larger context, that piece of information will not make sense to someone who has other contradicting pieces of information. ( for example a vegan who thinks that humans ought to have huge canines to be a carnivore).

Anyway it's unfair of me to critique your style/content of your argument without offering an alternative. How about this?: Ask the person who is into the 'plant based' belief to conduct an experiment of eating only meat for 2 months and then report the results. i.e if both of you agree that most 'science' and 'research' is flawed. Of course it goes without saying that you too should have performed this experiment on yourself.

Side note - I have been carnivore for 6 years ( 99% of my diet is red meat, eggs and dairy ).


I'd consider 9% of all human emissions[1] to be a "major source". Just because it's not the majority doesn't mean it's not important.

[1] https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emis...


I have become an 80% vegetarian - meaning I try to avoid meat completely, but I am not "strong" enough and end up eating a (usually small) piece of meat, once every week/second week.

It took me at least one year to achieve this, because meat is so prevalent in our society. A friend of mine was in India recently and he said he did not miss meat at all since the non-meat dishes were so great. I think a lot of it is just how good the quality of vegetarian dishes is.


I saw a quote I liked recently (on a different topic but applies here too): We don't need a few hundred thousand perfect vegetarians, we need billions of imperfect ones.


Yes, living in Berlin I feel spoiled. When I was in South Korea, most of the time there was nothing vegetarian on the menu, in Berlin you have multiple vegan options and even more vegetarian options.

I believe restaurant options are very important since people learn from those and mimic them at home. We need restaurants to offer more vegetarian and vegan dishes for people to see that they can have a rich (IMHO richer) diet without meat.

I don’t know how to nudge the restaurants though. Lower tax on organic/sustainable food can be one thing, or even better subventions for such restaurants and produce. But most importantly the meat and dairy industry needs to get under real supervision. Governments all around the world have been looking away for far too long.


> I don’t know how to nudge the restaurants though

Visit and ask for vegetarian or vegan dishes. Move on if there is nothing worthwhile; let the staff know if you've liked a particular dish or find the selection too limiting. Demand drives supply.

In the Netherlands the vegetarian option used to be a boring salad with goat cheese. Nowadays not having decent meat-free options means you can't compete with the rest. This is something only the cheaper restaurants aimed at lower socio-economic classes can afford to do (but only for now). The reason for this discrepancy is that this class of people (mostly blue collar workers and their families) tends to lag behind the rest of society a bit as habits shift towards more healthy alternatives (smoking is another example).


Years ago i remember someone making a joke that the best way to promote veganism was to only buy vegan products at Aldi. The point was to avoid this kind of bourgeois trickle down veganism.

It was interesting to me leaving Europe and coming to China. In upper class restaurants here, they put meat in everything, even as a "seasoning" in veg dishes. I think it's seen as an indicator of wealth. At working class restaurants the cheapest dishes are all veg, or have only the barest scraping of ground pork or bone stock. I much prefer to eat out here than i did in Europe (and definitely the North America) where meat and dairy tends to be the default option for blue collar grub. I still don't really understand how that works, economically.


In sweden this is called being a Stockholm vegetarian, and it's very much a thing. I know a bunch of people like you, and they all claim that the hardest thing is to not just go "fuck it" and eat meat like they did before.


That’s funny, because I don’t enjoy meat as much as before any more. Before I couldn’t imagine a life without meat. Now, every time I eat it I feel less satisfied. I don’t I ever go back. But who knows.


I still think I enjoy meat, milk and eggs, but every time I try it (mostly by accident) I am disgusted by the taste.


I'm similar. Only eat meat if I go out at weekends or if there's some left over that needs to get used up. My wife and I almost entirely cook for ourselves and it's pretty easy to make nice vegetarian meals. I do a fair amount of weightlifting and like to get the protein in - quorn, soy, tofu, lentils and eggs are key. I also supplement daily with whey protein shakes and creatine. It's a bit of a hassle and sometimes I find myself dying for a nice bit of lamb or steak, otoh it's good to pay this level of attention to one's diet.


I think this is a situation where we need a Dr. George Washington Carver that not only recognizes that we need to eat less meat but also develops alternatives that the general public will accept.

(Not sure how famous Dr. George Washington Carver is outside the US. He was one of the first famous African American scientists and is known for discovering that rotating crops with peanuts will add nutrients back to the soil and then inventing about 300 uses for peanuts in order to convince farmers to plant them. However, despite popular belief, peanut butter was not one of the uses that he invented.)


I was in Canada recently and tried one of the Tim Hortons "beyond sausage" sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches. From the "beyond meat" people.

Had I not known what I was eating, I wouldn't have known it was plant-based at all. The taste and texture was, at least in fast food terms, just a really good sausage.

I haven't been able to try the beyond burger Burger King is selling, but if it's on par with the beyond sausage, I can't see why I'd ever eat a meat-based fast food burger again. It was really that good, and an easy decision to make given the meat industry's impact on the environment.

People who diss those meat substitutes out of hand should try them with an open mind (i.e. not from a place of "you can't control me" or "I'll never stop eating meat".)


Quick note: Burger King uses the Impossible Burger, not the Beyond Burger. In my opinion, the Impossible Burger isn't any better than a MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime (at significantly higher price). The Beyond Burger though is easily the best meat-free burger I've ever had.

A&W and Carl's Junior are Beyond Burger joints.


A good Impossible Burger served "steakburger style" as in medium rare and "still bleeding", has been the best fake burger I have ever had, but the Impossible is often too easily dried out when folks grill it to medium or much worse medium well, resulting in some of the worst.

Beyond is better in that bad burger place/greasy spoon medium to medium well, so its generally more consistent in places that serve other burgers, but it doesn't beat the Impossible at its best.


You must have caught Impossible on a bad day. Prepared right, an Impossible Whopper is indistinguishable from the real thing


But that's not saying much; the whopper tastes like meat-flavored glue. I believe BK rolled out the impossible burger nationwide yesterday, so I will give it a shot.


As suggested by the other reply, I feel like this is kinda what Beyond Meat is already doing.


We're creatures of habit. The pattern of breakfast, lunch and dinner means I'm usually "hungry" before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I was feeling hungry about dinner time a while back, but I couldn't decide what to eat so I skipped. I woke the next morning and didn't feel hungry at all. That seemed odd to me. So I skipped breakfast and ate lunch only (same portion size as normal) and continued to do so for six weeks. I felt great. Workouts strong, focus and concentration improved. I saved a bunch of time and money.

After that did a 13 day fast (zero food). Day 3 sucked, but the 10 that followed where really eye opening in a wholly positive way. I do a lot of boxing, and I didn't stop during this fast. I thought it would suck but I had tons of energy and lots of speed. At the finishing lime, the first morsel of food (some roast pumpkin) was savored and tasted incredible. It gave me a new awareness and appreciation of what and how much food I need to maintain maximum performance.

I know i could eat a LOT less than I do in a year and be as or more healthy and contribute to a healthier environment. We just have to break the habit. That's really hard given the social culture of eating.


I'm a faster too and have more energy as well. No more energy drain after a big meal. Another advantage of fasting is that you spend less time on food. Our western society involves a lot of time on food(breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks).


Yeah the time saved surprised me also. No more "hmmm what to eat for... " only one meal a day. I was surprised to learn how much time I spend thinking of either what to eat, or eating or digesting it in a food coma :)


I believe you're right. We didn't evolve to eat regular meals, but rather to gorge when there was abundance, then starve/fast during the in-between periods. Probably water was the one thing that we had regularly from day to day.

I've moved to a calorie-limited diet, myself, and the effects on my health have been dramatic. My acid reflux has subsided; it disappeared when I went low carb for a month and has not come back, even though I've added fruit carbs back in to my diet. I'm down over 20 pounds, and hoping to lose another 20 or so, while at the same time working out and replacing fat with muscle mass.

We can be healthier, if we try. Unfortunately, our modern societies, especially here in North America, encourage excessive eating with all of the sad results that are evident if you go out in public and observe the clinical obesity that is commonplace.


Congrats on shedding those pounds! Must be feeling great. I always found it a pain to consume enough vegetables. Then I had my wisdom teeth removed and couldn't eat for a week. I blended a ton of good veggies into a mash to get some nutrients. Even now (many years later) I still blend those veggies. Nutrition hacks! :)


Great comment. I too have experienced great benefits from fasting. Humans evolved under conditions of food scarcity. I think we are actually ‘designed’ to be fasting most of the time.


The scarcity concept is one I really connect with also. A bit extreme, but there's a 30 day water fast (supervised) that's meant to be life changing. From what I recall the believe is that eating as a coping mechanism stores that trauma in the lipids. 30 days burns through it all.


The report states with high confidence that balanced diets featuring plant-based, and sustainably-produced animal-sourced, food “present major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health”.

I think this says it all. The consumption is not as much of a problem as production. They don't mention how much forest is also cut to build farms and it's not like plant growing industry is any better in terms of emissions [1] and water / land poisoning with pesticides and GMO plants. Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against GMO that is done well, but the current direction that's only serving corporate greed instead of bettering farming industry is just disgusting. Without animals we are just as equally doomed as we are with them [2]. I also have a feeling that they're trying to optimize the 1% instead of tackling real problems caused by coal energy, cars, airplanes etc.

[1] https://agreenerworld.org/a-greener-world/it-wasnt-the-cows-...

[2] https://youtu.be/vpTHi7O66pI


> it's not like plant growing industry is any better in terms of emissions

Animal agriculture is enormously more resource-intensive than plant agriculture:

https://twitter.com/GeorgeMonbiot/status/1159831081798864898...

How are we still having this debate?


I didn't read much of the report from which this is sourced from, but it appears that they base their numbers on current farming practices. In the U.S., those practices (for beef, pork, etc.) are, for the most part, horrible and irresponsible. Responsible practices work in concert with and support of the environment, not against it. Cows graze on and replenish lush grasslands. Pigs forage through and replenish forested areas. The animals are allowed to work within the cycle of nature and act as integral parts of healthy land management instead of being removed from it and treated as industrial outputs.

Cows aren't the problem. Pigs aren't the problem. Chickens aren't the problem. Mankind's industrialization of cows, pigs, and chickens is the problem.

So, for me, that's why we're still having this debate.


It's funny how HN is an echo chamber sometimes. Every time I'm reading a thread like this, it's flooded with post from people who have turned vegans or almost reduced meat to zero, and one could think that this is the norm.

Like a few years back when HN was going on about how the whole world would now stop eating regular food, and consume some powder mixed with water, I think it was called Soylent or something. That didn't happen.

If anything, I will only be eating more meat, better quality, but not less and this is probably also the case for millions of other people.


This topic has gained substantial scientific evidence. More people have come to turns that the facts only point to possible solutions for the climate were we substantially eat less meat.

Having you eat even more meat makes you indirectly responsible for people’s death. It might not be right. But in the near future (2-3 years) you might feel ashamed of what you said right now.


You can extend that argument to almost anything. I'm not sure I'm saying you're wrong, either, but simply being alive seems to adversely impact the environment. I don't think you or anyone is saying people should start offing themselves to stop hurting the environment - we all seem to understand there's a continuum and where people put their own personal line ultimately ends up being a personal decision.

I believe I'm healthier eating meat than not eating meat. My blood tests, blood pressure, and weight corroborate that. For whatever reason I could never find a vegan diet that didn't balloon absolutely everything while also sating my unreasonable appetite. I'm not saying this is a good thing (eating meat or eating junk food that happens to be vegan and thinking it'll be appropriate), but I am saying that no amount of quinoa or lentils ever hit the spot or made me feel full, not even when I was legitimately so full I wanted to throw up from all the food in my stomach. I was mentally ravenous, and it was turning me into a vicious beast. I could _nominally_ stay vegan if I ate deep fried _anything_, but that's clearly madness (which, again, showed itself pretty convincingly by all measures available to me).

I'm not going to kill myself to save the environment. I wouldn't expect you to, either. But at the least I can not have children - surely avoiding 1..N generations of 1..M descendants per generation is of FAR greater positive impact than eating burgers and steaks.

All of that said, I'm really holding out hope for lab grown meats, and I only eat meat when my body begins to demand it. It doesn't have to be an always food, is what I'm saying.


Just being alive makes us indirectly responsible for people’s deaths. We could go down that philosophical rabbit hole a long way. People aren’t dying because I ate a steak. That sort of hyperbole isn’t helpful.


I'm fascinated that the solutions to climate change appear to line up neatly with the things that hippies have been saying for years (capitalism needs to be replaced with a state-managed global economy, nuclear power is bad, vegetarianism is good, bicycling is good, plant more trees).

Particularly the nuclear power option. That one makes no sense.

Concrete is a major source of CO2 emissions. In some places, it contributes more than agriculture. Why isn't that being targeted for scientific studies on its impact, and recommendations from the UN on practices? Or has it, and those are just not newsworthy enough to make the BBC take notice?

I'm probably being cynical, but it all smells of hidden agendas.


Why is nuclear power a problem? It's one of the cleanest energy sources currently.


Sounds to me like the parent isn't anti-nuclear, just that there is some agenda downplaying the role of nuclear in fighting climate change.


This report was generated by the IPCC on request of the international community at the COP in Paris, after they pointed out, that no information was available about 1.5 degree target (the first special report), and food and land was missing (second special report). There is a third one coming about the arctic as far as I remember.


the IPCC science team, or the IPCC "advice for politicians" team, who have a sizeable contingent of green activists?


If everyone stopped traveling for fun, that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more.

You’re not going to guilt people into changing their behavior.

A carbon tax fixes this.


> If everyone stopped traveling for fun, that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more.

I'm not willing to agree that it would reduce emissions more than ending meat consumption. It would help, however.

Like most problems, there is not just one solution. Multiple modest to moderate changes in behavior can make a big difference.

- redesign cities to include more and better public transport (less car/truck traffic)

- reduce general product consumption (less global shipping) - we all know there's a lot of worthless stuff that gets manufactured and shipped, such as the low-end products you find in Walmart which break or fail after a short period of time

- create permaculture food forests in and around cities (reducing global shipping of produce)

- eat less meat (reducing production and transportation emissions)

To put it into perspective, it's a bit like getting fit and losing weight. Yes you can radically change your diet, or you can do crossfit every day, but those narrow+deep efforts are usually very unpleasant and unsustainable (in terms of a human's ability to keep with the changes). Instead, some diet changes, some consistent exercise, some lifestyle changes (walking/biking in place of some car drives) tends to result in lasting health benefits.

> A carbon tax fixes this.

Not really. A carbon tax encourages projects like mass forest planting of monocultures. That will result in some problem down the road.


> A carbon tax fixes this.

Not really.

You're conflating the tax with spending the tax revenue. You don't need to spend any of the revenue on carbon sequestering projects. Just implementing a carbon tax that pushed the price of things like air travel up to the reflect the real cost would do a huge amount to reduce the amount people pollute.

If the price of a flight doubled then fewer people would fly.


Actually I'm thinking of the industrial approach to generating carbon credit offsets, then selling those on the market to polluting industries.

Regarding air travel specifically, it's less (and decreasing) in terms of pollution relative to other forms of transportation. One of the sources: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/policy_guidance/env...

Cars in sum produce more pollution than planes (at least in the US), and recent estimates say that the 15 largest ocean freighters produce as much pollution as all cars globally for a year.

So my feeling is that reducing global shipping - eliminating consumption of junk - and reorganizing cities to enable more walking/biking, would have a far greater benefit than focusing on air travel.


To actually reach our climate targets, even better would be a mandatory carbon budget, and trading of contingents. This would mean the price perfectly adjusts to were it should be.


redesign cities to include more and better public transport

Concrete is a massive source of CO2 emissions. Rebuilding cities is really, really not going to help.


Concrete is big but much less in total than car emissions. However, I'm not advocating building new things; I'm suggesting changing the use of existing things: more public transport options, more park and ride locations, more city bike stands, etc.


> If everyone stopped traveling for fun, that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more

Animal agriculture is responsible for 14~18% of greenhouse gas emissions [0]; aviation only ~5% [1].

[0] - https://skepticalscience.com/how-much-meat-contribute-to-gw.... [1] - https://www.transportenvironment.org/news/aviation-2-3-times...


That is globally, in the U.S. it skews much differently.


Traveling isn’t just aviation. Most traveling for fun in the US is via automobile.

> stopped traveling for fun

Uhm... how about stop travelling for business in the world of instant communication?


Based on my business travels mostly related to sales, I don't see any of them shifting online. When it comes to decision making, physical presence matters a lot. This is not some routine weekly status call we are talking about. Courting customers, making them feel good and closing that deal - none of these will ever happen online, unless some magical VR tech comes about.


This is the thing I worry about -- my business requires a decent amount of air travel, and in general business travel is where you hear most of people bopping in and out of town in a single day, whereas vacationing is often for at least a few days.

No question that physical presence is huge, but that doesn't justify it from an environmental POV at all, esp. since most sales are about making owners/investors richer, not making the world a better place.

I think real creative thought about how business travel could reduce impact would be massively impactful. It would probably need regulation, because the sales team that tries to, say, do all meetings virtual will be whomped by the other team that shows up.


And conferences to watch somebody give the same talk that is on youtube or training that is on Pluralsight or scotch.io.


Imagine if every office worker worked remotely how much less driving would be necessary.


That single thing right there is the answer: freedom isn’t harmed, but the benefits are huge. It would solve housing issues because you wouldn’t need to live near work. It would solve transportation issues because commuting would be vastly reduced. It reduces pollution for the same way. It also reduces the need for commercial real estate. It would lower costs to business, so prices go down. Encouraging widespread remote working helps everyone with minimal impact on freedom. If all office workers would stop commuting, we could eat whatever we wanted. We wouldn’t need to spend as many billions on public transportation. The way to encourage this is to provide significant tax incentives for businesses for remote workers. Instead of lowering quality of life by restricting things (such as air travel,) we could increase quality of life by eliminating unnecessary commutes. There also wouldn’t be too much political disagreement because tax incentivized remote working wouldn’t be that controversial and it wouldn’t require the average person to give up anything other than a commute nobody likes in the first place. I, for example could move out of the Bay Area to a cheaper, less crowded area and eat steak without the climate police having a coronary. I could fly my Cessna without the enviro-crusaders losing their minds. Combining remote-first policy along with nuclear energy for electricity and we could substantially reduce pollution with no net impact to freedom or quality of life.

The problem with that however is that many climate activists don’t actually care about the climate as a first priority, they care about wealth redistribution and larger, more powerful government. Climate policy is first and foremost an anti-capitalist masquerade. While that might seem to be a weird assertion, from where I sit, Climate activists also seem generally to share a strong anti-capitalist, anti-market perspective.

Nuclear power and profound incentives for remote work would get us much further than eating a fake-hamburger.


Carbon tax like you said, and also all product should be labeled with some sort of information about the carbon footprint that stems from the production and transportation of this product, so that consumers can compare products in terms of carbon footprint just like they can in terms of nutrients in food.

A challenge to get right for sure, but it could have significant positive impact.


I agree, but I think securitizable carbon credits make a lot more sense than a straight up tax.

Also it’s not just that can’t guilt people into changing behavior, I don’t think we should. Humanity moves forward by solving our problems not through everyone magically changing how they act.


If everyone stopped traveling for fun the worldwide tourism economy would collapse. There are whole countries that rely on tourism to make it through.


Why is the tourism economy more important than the livestock economy?


Because the tourism economy makes keeping natural land viable strategically by selling its beauty to tourists while livestock economy requires land use.


yeah, a carbon tax so that only rich people can enjoy things. how about before demanding common people change their behaviour ban private jets and yachts?


I don't think people will stop consuming meat if you ask them nicely. You have to make decisions that will hurt the meat industry and make it infeasible.

This would likely best be achieved through slowly dropping tax incentives, and transferring them over to alternatives so that people have something equally economical to today's meat.


There is no need to go from one extreme to the other. This is about eating "less" meat.

People do not traditionally eat that much meat because meat used to be expensive and its supply limited.

This is still the case in poor countries.

In developed countries, people started to eat more and more meat as they got richer because we naturally like meat and because of clever marketing.

We now eat too much meat, and also consume too much dairy (adults don't need to drink any milk and many don't digest it well, by the way). If people just stopped eating meat at every meal or every day, consumption would drastically drop without too much of a change in daily life.

One solution would be measures to increase prices but that is a political minefield.


My grandmother told me that before the second world war for a typical peasant family in Belarus the meat meant a single chicken 2-4 times in a month for the whole family. Only on big celebrations few times in a year people could afford to slaughter a pig or a caw. Even eggs were considered expensive. Milk was more available as most families had a cow. The real staple food was potato and bread.

In cities meat was more available as workers typically earned more. Option to eat meat each day was considered a luxury.


Its interesting to hear anecdotal stories like these because they contradict the conventional wisdom nowadays that says you have to eat meat as protein every day - clearly that wasn't the case in prior centuries.


what was the life expectancy? what was the standard of living? trying to call back to 1930s belarus as an example to live from is crazy. It doesn't even logically follow that we should avoid meat because poor farmers in belarus didn't each much.

Where's the logical argument?


Is this just being down voted because of tone?

The premise seems valid: just because you can "survive" off of a low-to-no protein diet doesn't mean it should be espoused.


This post demonstrates the success of marketing "protein is meat". Such that when someone mentions reducing meat consumption, someone else thinks they are referring to a low-to-no protein diet.


Protein in terms of protein / calorie ratio of food tilts protein sources to meat and dairy. Easy way to compare foods and meals is to compare grams protein per 100cal of a given item. Things like meat, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc., top the charts.

So if you want to maximize for protein consumption without putting on fat mass, you tend to look for meat, dairy, and things derived from them (whey protein isolate).


I think you may be missing the point.

The controversy is about whether humans need gargantuan amounts of protein.

Your post is assuming protein is very important, and thus it’s important to maximize protein per calorie.

The post you’re responding to is discussing the fact that any time vegetarian or vegan diets come up, people launch into criticisms that are based on the assumption that humans needs lots more protein than occurs in vegetables.


One issue I've seen when assessing some of the vegetarian or other plant-based diets proposed has been neglecting to account for protein. Most men at least don't enjoy the muscle loss associated with eating a low-protein diet, which is what the implementations I've seen often look like.

That said, Americans are predominantly overweight and obese. A diet high in protein but low enough in total overall energetic content is an excellent recipe, when paired with weightlifting and a few days of cardiovascular activity, for improving musculature and eliminating fat.

A scientific example demonstrating this point, entitled "Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial": https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/3/738/4564609


That is true. But people rarely develop allergies to meat based protein. The same cannot be said for plant based proteins.


I find posts about vegan/vegetarian lifestyles to heavily vote in lockstep. People don't like it when someone points out that something that seems to confirm their bias actually contains no logical argument.

Tone is something you read into things, as much as is written into them. If someone is responding because of a perceived tone, it would be wise of them to consider if they're being as aggressive as they accuse the other side of being.

Also, I dont mind being downvoted, I just wish someone would provide a logical argument in response.


[flagged]


> Vegan diets are being proved by lots of studies at being pretty shitty for you.

As far as I can tell, this is completely false. Vegan diets do a lot of things well: reduce salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake, for example. Vegetarian / vegan diets improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and other things.

Here's some citations of studies and papers that demonstrate vegan diets are better for you:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/

Several more listed at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-diet-studies#sect...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26508743 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25684089 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23695207 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16164885

The consensus of scientific evidence seems pretty clearly in favor of plant-based diets. The evidence is as clear as the world being round or climate change being real.


Truth is that there's very little consensus on this, it's all politics at the moment. You have pro-vegans and pro-meat/keto tribes, and they all have their claims and proofs. My own purely anecdotal experience is that actually both approaches work just fine, if done in a sensible way.


The only politics is when you look at dozens of studies on NIH and say "it's all politics" and counter with your anecdotal experience. This is like denial of climate science. Stop doing it. I'm not part of any tribe but the science tribe. Eating meat is unambiguously worse for the environment and worse for your health than non-meat diets. The scientific theory and studies on the subject are clear.

And I eat meat. Chowing on a burrito al pastor as we speak.


There are no studies that show that a diet where one consumes animal products occasionally like 2-3 times per months is worse for health then pure plant diet. This is even when one does eat meat, one eats it a lot. Apparently body is able to recover from any negative effects of animal products within 10-14 days. And one avoids a potential for deficiencies like B12, iron, K2 that one may run on a pure plant diet unless one is careful. And even for environment it can be better if the animal products on those days come from slaughtered caws that are grass-feed on land where growing grains etc. is impractical.

So the problem is really not the meat, but it’s amount.


> You know that lifestyle where everyone was poor, sickly and died at a younger age, that's a totally better lifestyle!

That’s not because of lack of meat.

> In that lifestyle you may eat the clean meats on special occasions, but you eat the less desirable parts on a regular basis. Mostly in soups and stews because it stretches the food for longer. You save the bones and make soups out of them. Oh and you ate a lot of fat. Like smearing pig fat on bread. Technically pork was the cheapest meat. Only one purpose animal. Hens give eggs and fertilizer. Cows give milk, fertilizer and pull carts/plows. Kill them only when they're useless. Plus you may get meat from a butcher on special occasions.

This sounds like eating less meat?


> Vegan diets are being proved by lots of studies at being pretty shitty for you.

Citations needed.


You went and did a whole thing there, eh?


When my grandmother was dying in the hospital we sat and talked. I aske what their meals had been like back in the 20s. Every part of every dish has animal protein or fat in it. The turnips were seared un lard, the turnip greens had bacon in them. The biscuit was made with lard too, and yes there was always some pork chicken or beef on the plate. Roots and leaves are healthy and should be most of the volume of our food, but grass fed animal fat is great for getting the remaining calories and animal protein absorbs so much better than pea or rice.


In this traditional rural diet "extra protein" (in addition from what protein you get from potatoes and grains and legumes) is mainly supplied by dairy and eggs.

However, slaughtering a pig or two once a year in the autumn also doesn't imply eating pork once a year, for a single family a single pig provides a quite large amount of various cured/smoked/dried meat products that are consumed over the winter, so you still have some meat products (not in large quantities though) on most days.


Not for poor people, those better situated would eat it more often. More importantly, people were not eating just steaks, but all parts of animals, so (in case of my grandparents in Yugoslavia) they'd eat a chicken or pork on Sundays and holidays, but on other days they'd perhaps have a cooked meat and bone marrow from a soup, or fried liver, or stew made from Sunday's leftovers. Also eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products, that were affordable to everyone.


I think we should be pointing to science - which to date it hasn't been adequately done relating to diet, to see what diet is optimal, and how that varies per group whether that's by blood type, DNA/ancestral data, or other - while taking in the particular sensitivities of each individual as part of the research vs. making the reference points based on a structure of scarcity of what was available based on what people could afford; also having an idea of a person's current health state, how healthy their GI tract is and overall system needs to be taken into account as to how they may or may not respond to different diets - including not limited to how we're only just beginning to understand how gut bacteria and within the whole GI tract can strongly impact outcome.


what do you think the standard of living in balarus before the second world war was, and do you think people would accept it now in belarus let alone the the US?

Its odd to call back to 1930s eastern europe for an example of how to live. There are many arguments to make against meat etc but 1930s belarus is not one that logically follows.


>adult don't need to drink any milk and many don't digest it well, by the way

Never understood the obsession with drinking milk on its own (though I never liked the taste of it myself either). There's plenty of calcium to be found in other sources: kale, leafy greens, almonds, fortrified grains, beans/pulses etc.


This is a very niche reason, but one of the classic diets for beginner weight lifters who want to gain weight is to add a gallon of whole milk a day to their existing diet.

For people that are trying to consume more calories and protein, I don't know of an alternative that combines comparable calorie & protein density, low cost, ease of consumption, and zero preparation time.

More generally, I think that one of the big challenges with plant based diets is a lack of easily available calorie and protein dense foods. (I'm not saying its impossible to get enough calories and protein as a vegan, even as a bodybuilder. Just that it is not nearly as easy.)


I haven't heard of this and I know a good number of weight trainers. Doesn't this give people massive squirts? Can anyone digest a whole gallon of milk in a day? Gross


Even weight lifting is changing, with one of the top weight lifters being vegan: https://www.greatveganathletes.com/patrik-baboumian-vegan-st...

Dairy in particular can be source of inflammation. One of the benefits of the vegan diets for athletes cited is a fast recovery time after workouts.


> with one of the top weight lifters being vegan

That's not exactly true, he's just some buff guy that is strong. He doesn't even look big compared to bodybuilders, regular protein eaters at the gym are his same size.

His 'record' deadlift was 360kg, worlds strongest men all pulled 420kg+ this year. Arnold was in that class back in the 70's.

EDIT: After some research people are saying his european world records were all accomplished before he became vegan in 2011.


>> with one of the top weight lifters being vegan

> That's not exactly true, he's just some buff guy that is strong. He doesn't even look big compared to bodybuilders, regular protein eaters at the gym are his same size.

So, because he's a strong buff guy, while "not looking big compared to bodybuilders" (category in which he has not been competing since 1999), and as "regular protein eaters at the gym are his same size", it's not "exactly true" that he's one of the top weight lifters ?

> His 'record' deadlift was 360kg

GP never said "top deadlifter". None of his records are about deadlift. Not sure why you mentioned it.

> EDIT: After some research people are saying his european world records were all accomplished before he became vegan in 2011.

2012 Doesn't count?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrik_Baboumian


I think you are referring to Mark Rippetoe’s suggested diet in his book Starting Strength. In which case, it is worth mentioning that this is suggested for skinny, 18 year old males and to be followed for the duration of the training program (months)


I got a free sample of pea protein powder with some whey one time. It was truly disgusting!


Unflavored pea protein is pretty bad, but there are a ton of delicious vegan protein powder options out there.


>Never understood the obsession with drinking milk on its own

It's something that's been consumed for millennia. There are societies based on pastoralism where milk is a huge part of the diet. I'd hardly classify it as being an obsession.


>It's something that's been consumed for millennia. There are societies based on pastoralism where milk is a huge part of the diet. I'd hardly classify it as being an obsession.

Obsession is probably the wrong word, but I'd still be curious as to the history behind it (and how long it continued into adulthood). Especially given its association with and place in a juvenile diet.


You're missing one solid reason to drink milk: some people like it. Most of the stuff we eat today is actually not about nutritional needs.

And your argument can always be reshuffled. Swap milk with any one of the items you listed and one by one you can disqualify all of them from consumption. Variety is a good thing, meaning something should be eliminated because it's no good, not because there are alternatives.

There's no requirement or recommendation to cover your daily needs with the least varied diet.


Of people I know who have reduced animal consumption, drinking cow milk and having it on cereal is one of the first things to go.

In the early days soy milk was about the only alternative. Now there are so many dairy-free milk alternatives to try. The proliferation of grocery shelves is a testament to their growing popularity.


One of the strangest things to me about lunch in the Netherlands: adult men drinking milk with their meal, this meal sometimes consisting of a chocolate hundreds and thousands sandwich O_o


That is hilarious because I love to drink milk with sweet pastries and my girlfriend also thinks drinking straight milk is disgusting. It's hard to explain why, but I think the main reason is that I am not super into sweets and milk seems to counteract the sweetness. I also get heartburn frequently and milk tends to help my stomach not feel terrible like it would if I ate a sweet pastry by itself.


At least that's better than drinking buttermilk and a cheese sandwich :)


People aren't obsessed with it, it's just good. You ever had a cold glass of whole milk with a slice of chocolate cake? It's good for your soul.


I have, I wasn't much of a fan :P

(Cow) milk just seems to have an unpleasant aftertaste to me. I get on well with oat milk, though.


Given the extreme we are in yes, going to the other extreme would be a good thing. And even then, not enough. This is just one of the multiple changes that humanity need to bring about. I don't think people should be prohibited from eating animal products, but those who have the will to remove it completely from their diets would definitely be having a much higher positive impact on the environment.


It would be helpful, obviously, but it is not necessary and not realistic.

Trying to go to an extreme is counter-productive because people won't follow.

Convincing people not to eat meat at every meal or every day has a much higher chance of delivering significant results quickly.


A challenge that I could see with convincing people to adopt a more plant based diet is that there is a carbon cost associated with shipping food across the country, but in many parts of the US a plant based diet might be much less appetizing if it is restricted to local crops. For example, much of the country wouldn't have access to citrus fruits, bananas, pineapples, or avocados.

Maybe a solution would be to tax food based on how long it was shipped but to exempt fruits and vegetables from the tax.


This isn't exactly true. The greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, say, bananas, pales in comparison to emissions from even local grass fed beef.

Shipping things that spoil quickly or need refrigeration, obviously, will be less efficient. But on average, plant-based food sources will be significantly more efficient, even if shipped further, than meat ones.


Well, solution would be to tax carbon, not the specific field. I don't see the reason and disagree to accept meat tax without banana tax. Carbon footprint should be taken into account the same way fuel cost is taken.


Na, that's a red herring. We can reduce our meat consumption and not replace it with anything. Americans are over consuming food, we can definitely reduce meat intake without needing to replace it with foods shipped in from out of county.

Also, most of the US population is around the coasts. Shipping a bit of food inland to the people there isn't that big of an impact.


Eh, best to start with stop wasting food, then go with proper calorie count diet. Food waste in America is pretty bad. The gov already does PSAs to try bringing attention to the matter.


> Americans are over consuming food

Overconsumption is generally less than 10% of their caloric needs, so they can't just drop a large source of nutrition.


Apparently, Americans throw away the equivalent of a third of the calories they consume, and interestingly a lot of fruits and veg. [1]

Reducing waste would dramatically help the environment.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/18/american...


So you’re just asking humans to consume fewer calories? Good luck with that.


>and also consume too much dairy (adults don't need to drink any milk and many don't digest it well, by the way)

How much is "too much"?

We don't need to drink tea or coffee either; do you propose getting rid of those too?

For those of us who have no problems digesting it, what exactly is the problem with eating yogurt or drinking milk? Sure, consuming too much of those probably isn't good, but you can say that about literally any food.

For people who don't digest it well, then of course I'd suggest not drinking it. The same goes for any other food: if you're allergic to peanuts, don't eat them. If you're allergic to shellfish, don't eat them. If you're allergic to bananas, don't eat them. If you're lactose-intolerant, don't drink milk unless you really like the taste and want to add lactase enzyme.

I do agree that Americans in particular eat way too much red meat, but I think some people give dairy a hard time when I don't think it's that much of a problem compared to many other things. Most adults don't drink a lot of milk anyway; usually "dairy" for adults means eggs, cheese, yogurt, etc. I don't see the health problems with dairy the way I see with red meat either. For improving public health, we should instead be reducing how much red meat people eat, plus also reducing or eliminating stuff like HFCS, refined sugars, refined flour, alcohol, etc.

>One solution would be measures to increase prices but that is a political minefield.

What they should do is just eliminate the tax breaks that unhealthy industries enjoy.


> One solution would be measures to increase price, but that is a political minefield.

It's only a political minefield because of corporate influence (dictation?) in politics.


Exactly this.

I will never go vegan or vegetarian but I mostly limit meat to only dinner and in smaller portions. My grocery bill is much smaller, it's healthier, and better for the environment overall.

Pushing a full-blown switch to veganism as the only solution is not pragmatic.


> There is no need to go from one extreme to the other.

Global warming due to greenhouse gas is a reason to go to the "other" extreme?


> One solution would be measures to increase prices but that is a political minefield.

What's another solution?

People will keep slaves if it's legal.

Stopping the use of tax payer dollars to help people eat meat seems not that much of a minefield compared too?


Make much higher welfare standards for farm animals a requirement - making meat much more expensive, reducing consumption.

Sounds like a win win to me.


And if you don't want to wait for the government to require this you can already start today.

Buy only locally farmed organic meat. Don't go to fast food places or restaurants that don't specifically declare that their meat is organic and local.


> Buy only locally farmed organic meat.

No. Don't buy meat. Buy beans. Buy tofu. Hell, buy Beyond Burgers. We don't need meat. It's bad for the planet, bad for your health and it goes without saying, bad for the animals.


A Beyond Burger is not exactly good for your health but I would agree with buying items other than meat is better.


Agreed.


Trouble with organic is that those cows live longer, hence cause about 60% more Methan emissions, till they are slaughtered.


> Trouble with organic is that those cows live longer

Interesting. Do you have a source? I don't see a good reason for this off the top of my head.


At a guess cows that are grass fed and not given growth hormones grow much slower and thus take longer to reach 'slaughtering' weight.


Good point, thanks. The 60% number cited above does seem oddly specific, like it would come from a concrete source. Though as others in this thread have pointed out, methane seems to be less of an issue than it's sometimes made out to be.


The 60% is indeed what we studied for cows here in Switzerland. It is clearly related to the amount of time they live longer (18 instead of 11 month). You can check the source here: http://www.eaternity.org/blog/smart-chefs-research-results


Or just reduce your meat consumption.


Speaking as someone who took the same stance as the commenter you're replying to, reduced meat consumption was indeed a side effect in my case without it being a conscious choice - mainly due to cost and inconvenience.


I think that is a good point. Also taxing "especially unfriendly environment products" would be great


Yeah. Modern factory farming practices are the reason why meat has become so cheap that its consumption per capita has at least tripled since the 50s.


I agree. Few years back I bought some tofu sausages to try out how they taste. They tasted interesting but not like real sausages. Definitely not a good replacement. Even if I made myself eat them because of moral reasons, ignoring how they taste, many people would still avoid them. As long as meat tastes better than its alternatives, people will use it. We need to bring good meat alternatives to the masses. The theoretical advantage that artificial meat has is the lower amount of resources needed. Over time, because of this it can get much cheaper than real meat, at least if you don't factor in skewing of the market due to government subsidies. Then, if they truly have comparable tastes, people will naturally choose those alternatives.

This seems like the best strategy: If you force people to become vegan by law without giving good alternatives, you just make them angry at people who want to stop climate change. If you nicely ask them, some will switch but most won't. So I believe the best way forward is to invest into meat alternative startups and help them make their product as widely used and as cheap as possible.


Meat taste comes mostly from salt and souses. People who tried home-made sausages or grilled meat without any of those complained that it tasted like nothing. The problem with tofu sausages is that one just cannot add that much salt as to meat without making it feel too salty.

That acquired taste can be reset if for 2-4 weeks one avoids any product with added salt or sugar. Then tofu and many other products including plain meat without any additives will taste much better.


Impossible Foods directly disagrees with you (they say it comes from heme) and they have food scientists working for them.

Tofu dogs never taste like meat, ever. If you wait 2-4 weeks you're just creating a new habit, not approximating meat in any way.

Your comment, while potentially a healthy choice, certainly isn't an accurate description of meat taste. And meat eaters everywhere can recognize this because we have all tried the other products and it doesn't taste close, even after 2-4 weeks.


This is simply not true. I often it "raw" meat without adding salt or any sauce. There are some meats which taste pretty to close to nothing but this isn't even close to the case for most meats.


There is a famous recipe of winning a cocking competition. Just add more salt and sugar. So for quite a few people that defines a taste. But if for some reasons one do not exposed to that, then I suppose food without salt or sugar tastes normally.


you can repeat it as often as you want, its not true. You're pretending meat is water and doesn't have anything of its own to flavor it, and that's just not true.

You won't convince people by lying to them about the flavor of things you want them to buy. They'll label you a liar and move on.


Something tasting better is not the same thing as the original tasting like nothing. Meat with good seasoning tastes better then no seasoning but that has absolutely nothing to do with you claiming meat tastes like nothing.


I know this saying. It also includes fat: butter for sweet and lard for savory.


Tofu sausages are indeed terrible. Try seitan, quorn or some other kind that has a bit more effort put into it.


Our studies have shown, that about 10% are first movers (willing to give up benefits, to become climate friendly eaters) and 80% will go with the default when it is acceptable. The last 10% would still need to be coerced actively by some kind of restriction.


10% is a lot. It's enough to swing an election. And no idea what the 80% would think. Also, I'm interested in global solutions, not ones that are effective in one country only. Globally, there are varying degrees of support for fighting climate change. Especially third world countries want growth and say it's the responsibility of developed economies to fight it because we have polluted so much historically. The goal is to make it impossible for Bolsonaro to sell his meat to any country in the world.


How about we make it impossible for Trump or Merkel or Abe or Xi Jinping to sell their coal-powered production to any country in the world?

The question is rhetorical and is meant to show that 1) this proposal is not a “global solution”, as punishing a single country would hardly make any difference; and 2) you’re personifying a country’s exports, associating them to an administration you disagree ideologically with, to make it sound evil, and that is not rational nor productive.


I just meant Bolsonaro as an example. Part of the goals of his government is to expand the meat industry and people in that industry love him. This has nothing to do with disagreeing or not disagreeing with him.


TL;DR: In my opinion meat analogues will not convert meat-eaters to vegetarians, problem is that switching to vegetarian diet requires rather big cultural change on our eating traditions.

I hear where are you coming from, though IMHO it's a problem with lack of knowledge/tradition/culture of producing vegetarian/vegan meals.

If you would say that you're vegetarian to my grandparents, they'd imagine that you eat vegetable salad all the time, with occasional baked potatoes for hot meal, they cannot imagine a meatless meal.

From my experience people tend to think that there must be a 1 to 1 replacement for meat foods: steaks, sausages, cutlets, burgers, meatballs, etc.

IMHO usually great vegetarian dishes (tasty, easy to make, not expensive, etc.) are mostly different set from meat dishes. It requires a cultural shift, which is insanely hard to change in general western population, where it's common and expected to have ham/bacon sandwich for breakfast, meatballs and spaghetti for lunch, steak for dinner, and beef burger or ribs on a bbq on a weekend.

You need a completely different set of dishes to change that meat eating tradition and IMO tofu sausages, cheap soy steaks and other meat analogues will not convert meat-eaters to vegetarians (fingers crossed for Impossible meat projects to change that).

Anecdotal example from the same thread on Indian vegetarian cuisine: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20652404

P.S. I very much agree with you on this:

> The theoretical advantage that artificial meat has is the lower amount of resources needed. Over time, because of this it can get much cheaper than real meat, at least if you don't factor in skewing of the market due to government subsidies.

Subsidies are really skewing prices of animal vs plant based products.

Where I am from pork is around 5-6€/kg, chicken 3.5-5€/kg, beef 10-30€/kg, milk 0.5-1€/l.

Whereas soy-almond milk 1.5-3€/l, soy meat analogues 5-15€/kg, mushrooms 3-15€/kg, etc.

There is no substantial price difference (mostly), which is spectacular to me. How it's possible to sell 1 kilo of chicken breast for 3.5€ is spectacular to me, when freaking beans cost around 3-4€/kg. How do they grow that chicken, when it's clear as a day that it requires probably an order of magnitude more resources compared to growing beans. I wouldn't even go how government is bending backwards for milk producers with tax incentives to keep prices "competitive", and I have no idea how pork is not 20-50€/kg, when every other year there's some disease, which requires to kill and destroy all pigs in farms in 500km radius.


> You need a completely different set of dishes to change that meat eating tradition and IMO tofu sausages, cheap soy steaks and other meat analogues will not convert meat-eaters to vegetarians (fingers crossed for Impossible meat projects to change that).

This is exactly what I was reffering to. The current alternatives are not motivating enough for people to switch, but with good meat alternatives like impossible/beyond meat we should see trend changes.

It feels to me that the approach "just change your culture" has been tried out and has mostly failed because most people in the west have not switched. It requires a lot of political/moral conviction for people to switch. Good meat replacements will I think change this and make it easier for people to eat less meat while keeping their culture.


I agree that people think you need meat alternatives because they lack the knowledge of how to make a plant based meal.

I agree with GP that most people don't care what a meatless meal could look like, culturally they just want meat each meal and will only consider an "impossible" substitute.

If we must change our impact on the environment, maybe it doesn't matter that people have a cultural desire to wait on impossible standards for substitutes and to continue harming the environment in the process. I don't know how important it is to change now, but if it critical then I'd be fine with something like rationing meat or some creative ideas towards forcing drastic change.

Also, maybe your grandparents can't imagine meat only once a week, but my grandparents certainly can, not because of current habits but from the great depression. They grew up on farms and had animals but they had more plants and usually ate the plants, only rarely they would slaughter animals for meat. Most meals were plants and that was the most normal thing in the world.

I assume meat at every meal is an extremely recent phenomenon and I think culturally we can easily move on from it, if we take the necessary measures.


Thanks for this well thought out comment. It's sad that it's getting downvoted. I agree that the replacement strategy isn't going to get us anywhere. It's a novelty. It's like people going on fad diets. They'll do it for a few months, feel accomplished, and backslide into their old habits. Going plant-based is a lifestyle change, it's something to own and be proud of, just like having a healthy workout routine.


The spaghetti example is weird since you can already get pasta with lots of different sauces, with vegetarian options easily available.


> I don't think people will stop consuming meat if you ask them nicely.

Illuminating the moral quandary of meat consumption helps. It worked for me. Nobody had to ask me nicely, they just needed to help me to think about it and be self-reflective.

Even if you believe there to be ethical meat consumption (a notion I find dubious in modern life), people can reduce consumption and have a big impact. Modern commercial meat and dairy production is a horrible process and most people are so insulated from it that you get used to thinking meat is just this product that comes from a factory.


But most people don't see a general ethical issue with eating meat. We are omnivores after all. Hell, our hunter gatherer ancestors ate more meat than we do. Though, higher quality. It's the same with seeing a wolf eat a deer. Think they care? Same with a chimp finally catching a monkey and eating it (now those are horrifying videos to see, especially since chimps love eating monkeys). Snake to a mouse. Fox to a hare. Cat to a bird. Shark to a seal. Cheetah to a gazelle. Osprey to a fish. At that, a lot of herbivores also kill and eat other animals (ground nesting birds being the popular victim). Mostly for the calcium in their bones. But still.

But if broccoli could scream would you stop eating it? Circle of life. Just the way it is.

However I do agree, there are a lot of commercial farming practices that need to be ended. Even if it means higher prices.


A lot of people have a problem with eating dog meat.

Wolves that eat deer don't also breed them to the point where they contribute to climate change. Hunter gatherer folk don't breed them to a point where they are a significant factor in climate change.

As carnivores wolves don't really have a choice to not eat meat. You do, though. With a couple of different choices at the supermarket or simply ordering different choices on the menu, you can help cut down our global emissions.


> A lot of people have a problem with eating dog meat.

It's now illegal in USA.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/09/13/eati...

Though I don't think it should be illegal unless slaughtering other animals is illegal too. I think our disgust with the idea of slaughtering dogs highlights our arbitrary ethical inconsistencies when it comes to eating meat.


To be fair, a lot of western civilizations consider dogs to be a higher life form than people.

Hunter gatherers ended up doing that once they figured it out. Civilization didn't magical come about. Hunter gatherers decided to start animal husbandry as a way to keep a surplus food supply. Then they became "civilized".

I heard that choice arguement before. No. I've done the vegan diet for about 1.5 years. That's when depression, anxiety, bone and muscle problems popped up. My bloodwork was shit and I felt like doom and gloom. I snuck off from my girlfriend, who forced me into it, with a friend and he peer pressured me to drink a glass of milk and eat a steak. I did shit myself silly that night, but it felt like I was actually awake and the brain fog was gone. We broke up a few months later because I made a lovely red thai curry with murdered chicken instead of tofu.

By the way, look up how many ground nesting birds and rabbits die during grain and soybean harvesting. Those combines are just pure murder.

Don't you think the current age of high depression and high anxiety is oddly correlated to the recent rise of "meat bad, tofu good", is a bit interesting? So no, I don't have a choice. From personal experience. Difference is, I never made existential excuses for the depression, anxiety, fatigue and brain fog. I did it for tail...which really wasn't worth it.


> By the way, look up how many ground nesting birds and rabbits die during grain and soybean harvesting. Those combines are just pure murder.

Most soybeans grown are consumed by livestock [0]. A lot of wheat is also fed to livestock [1]. We'd need a lot less if we as humans ate it directly instead of eating the animals that eat it.

I don't know what your diet was like, but this is not my experience (7 years in), and it is the position of the American Dietetic Association that vegan diets, when planned well, are healthy [2].

Now, let's say that even with good planning, you are still unhealthy on a vegan diet. That does not mean you couldn't be healthy on a vegetarian diet, or a diet that has drastically reduced meat consumption. The less meat we eat, the better for the environment.

[0] https://www.drovers.com/article/usb-promotes-us-soybean-meal...

[1] https://news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-m...

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864


Circle of life, nature and all that. You know what else is natural? Rape. Our ancestors practiced a lot of rape.

Just because it is "natural" doesn't make it right. Nature is a cruel bitch, remember.


> But most people don't see a general ethical issue with eating meat.

Again, this is in the scenario where we accept meat consumption is indisputably ethical. The way we get our meat is arguably a much bigger problem.

> But if broccoli could scream would you stop eating it?

Yes?


If all fruits and vegetables screamed and all animals scream, what would you eat?

If you're going to say starve to death, ha! The one thing westerners underestimate is starving and what it does to you. See how long you can go without eating. I've done a 5 day fast, with intents for a 10 day. Yes, I failed on that.

Take a wild guess what you crave the most. And it ain't plant fiber. Its muscle fiber. We live in the land of plenty that allows choices. Part of the exact problem we are running into. It's easy to say meat bad when you get fruits, veg and grain imported to you. Stuff you didn't really work to get. Because, out of personal experience, farming is hard ass work. And I dare anyone to try zero emissions large scale farming. Grab a scythe and harvest grain. Have fun with that.

What I'm getting to, it's always been a fact of life. It takes less effort to raise pigs and live off their flesh than it is to take care of a few acres of grain, veg and fruit.

What I can't stand, people not in the agriculture business or lifestyle pretending to be the ultimate authority. Grow all your own food, then you can have an opinion. Until then, don't pretend like you know what you're talking about. It's easy for anyone to wave their hand and say "everyone should live in this method because I say so".

"But if I spend all my time farming, I wont have time to do xyz"

Yea, that's the reason why our farming systems are as they are.


> If all fruits and vegetables screamed and all animals scream, what would you eat?

This is a red herring, though. They don't.

> It takes less effort to raise pigs and live off their flesh than it is to take care of a few acres of grain, veg and fruit.

This is dubious, but my point is not that I farm, but that I find commercial farms more ethical than commercial meat production.


How would you survive if everything eadible could scream? Also, not sure why the screaming part is important. Plants are alive, too and they do feel pain. They just can't express this, similar to autists.


You'd still choose plants, because otherwise you're eating animals that themselves must feed on plants. Even from a coldly mathematical perspective you cause less suffering eating plants than animals.


Wouldn't you then have to eat predators, so they can't kill other animals? Predators are guilty of causing suffering, plants are innocent.

> How would you survive if everything eadible could scream?

That would certainly change the conversation. But given that there is dubious support for plants "feeling" pain in a sentient way, I don't see much reason to entertain it.

That said, my diet is mostly fruit, nuts and seeds anyway.


There's dubious support for animals "feeling" pain in a sentient way, too. I can't see why your empathy stops at plants.

> Nobody had to ask me nicely, they just needed to help me to think about it and be self-reflective.

My theory is that you have to be ready / have to already, deep down, made that decision and then just needed a little push. Since this is a major topic in many societies with vegetarians and vegans proselytizing, I doubt that the majority of meat eaters aren't aware - they just don't come to the same conclusions or like it too much to quit.


>Even if you believe there to be ethical meat consumption (a notion I find dubious in modern life

Why is that dubious ? Ethics is personal. For me, consuming meat is ethical. Unless I'm forced to not eat meat then I won't stop.


> Ethics is personal

You may want to consider the broader implications of using this reasoning.


which broader implications you are concerned with ?


Your post from two days ago is an example:

> While i understand it sucks for you but for many people factory including me, factory farming is awesome and animal suffering is not important at all.

A rapist could make a similar case about how awesome the vagina feels. That the woman doesn't like it is not all that important. If you think about it, it's just some body parts touching, women really blow it out of proportion. And hey, animals do it. Why should the government limit my freedoms?

For some reason, meat consumption (i.e. slaughtering, factory farming, etc.) is one of the only topics where it's more or less socially acceptable to say "well, I like it, and that's all I care about. Ethics are personal btw."


>Why should the government limit my freedoms?

Government consist of people, because to this group of people, its in their best interest, its ethical for them to not allow rape.

Does the government care about this rapist freedom ? No, in their perspective its wrong.

So whichever side that can force other to comply (persuasively or physically) get to decide the ethics.

In the case of rape, the government get to decide whether you can rape.


Individual ethics being absolute.


Absolutely! I think you hit the nail on the head. I went to an Israeli restaurant the other day, and (I'm guessing?) all the meat was kosher (read: expensive). Their menu prices seemed to be exactly how they should be. Vegetarian options were in the ~$7 range, and meat dishes were in the $35 range. This kind of pricing still makes meat dishes accessible to anyone that wants them, but gently nudges behavior in a more sustainable direction.


I hate when I go to Qdoba and the same bowl with Impossible meat is $9.99, while beef or chicken is $7.99. So now I have to pay more and eat less healthy?


I’m sure the vegetarian bowl without meat substitutes is cheaper.


Can you point me to some sources that say plant=based meat is less healthy than animal based meat?


Nutritionists vary on the following aspects, as the research isn't definitive, so I'm not going to give an opinion, just list the facts: the new meat alternatives have less protein, more sodium, more carbs, and more saturated fat. Take that as you will.


That's not entirely true - veganism has made massive strides in the last few years simply because more information is becoming available about the environmental, ethical and (arguably) health issues surrounding our heavy meat consumption.

Millions of people are already voluntarily reducing their consumption and now virtually every restaurant in the UK has vegan options, making it easier for more people to switch.

I live in the outskirts of a relatively small, low-income industrial city and there are signs outside small shops and restaurants everywhere promoting their new vegan menus. A traditional pub near me has no fewer than 14(!) plant-based main courses.

I'd love to see tax incentives that reflect the damage that the meat and dairy industry are doing (ending the massive government subsidies would be a good start), however the changes I've seen in the UK give me hope that the grassroots level can sway public opinion without forcing people to change via legislation.


Local perception versus global reality: Meat consumption is still growing.

This can easily get clouded if you live in a place where you feel a new vegan place opens all the time. But this is very unevenly distributed. The UK is a place where vegan eating is strong, likewise Germany, Sweden and certainly a few other places. But even in very similar countries also in middle Europe - e.g. Denmark, France - vegetarianism is still very unusual.


Sadly, I think the only thing that will make a big impact in changing people's consumption will be related to antibiotic resistant mass-contamination events.

A few back to back meat recalls in the US got me to try vegetarianism 8 years ago. The animal welfare element only developed after I started learning about the new diet I was on.

It also helps to promote stories of very healthy vegetarians (especially pro athletes). My favorites were Carl Lewis, Herschel Walker, and Venus Williams. There are many more out there.

The key is to find decent, not too complex recipes. Dropping a slab of meat on the grill is so easy and results in such a tasty primary component of a meal; but making an interesting vegetarian meal requires more effort (at first). Once you know some good recipes, you get to the point where the only time you miss meat is when you're at a festival and you smell barbeque :).


From the article: “But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat, and if politics would create appropriate incentives to that effect.”


For the most part I now only eat meat, eggs, cheese, some nuts, and non-starchy vegetables. Mostly meat, and mostly very fatty meat like Pork belly. At 40 years old i've never been healthier as an adult - I don't buy the argument that meat is bad for you.


Check out pcrm.org for some medical arguments why it's bad for you.

But even if you think it's not bad for you, it's bad for:

- the environment - bad for people having to work in slaughterhouses killing and gutting animals all day - bad for the animal


Same here. People should experiment for themselves. Give a 30-Day meat-based diet a try.

http://meatheals.com/ https://justmeat.co/


Informing people might work for some [0]. That's how I reduced my consumption by 90%. If you truly want to do good and people are able to inform you that X is bad then you'll do your best to stop doing X.

Also, good meat is expensive and cheap meat taste like shit so it's a good move for your wallet.

[0] growing amount of people saying "I want to fight climate change but can't do anything myself"


Shift subsidies from meat to vegetables perhaps.


Which subsidies is meat getting? The ones that go to the agriculture industry responsible for feed?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_subsidy#United_St...


Sure, why not?

From the same wikipedia page, a bit above what you linked, there's also this chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Meat_Atlas_2014_subsidies... showing how many billions are spent on animal product subsidies.

Unfortunately I had no luck finding the actual OECD reports, though (aside from the " Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2019" report, but that seems to just compare each country to the global average, rather than talking about different types of subsidies)


"[...] animal products and feed", straight from the image. Sadly, no distinction. I would assume that it's mostly subsidies to feed. I am unable to find any sources on subsidies to meat directly.

I'm all for removing subsidies to monoculture agriculture.


> I am unable to find any sources on subsidies to meat directly.

Yeah, I searched around a bit (even outside of the US) and I'm having difficulty finding any proper data to back up or refute it. That's a pity, would have been nice to know either way. The best I found was data on subsidies given to individual farmers in my country (I'm not in the US), but unless I scrape the site and aggregate and categorise the data, its not really useful (and doing that is too much work for me).

> I'm all for removing subsidies to monoculture agriculture.

Absolutely. I don't even mind animal products receiving subsidies, I'm not vegetarian and certainly not vegan, but I do hope that non-animal products get a large chunk of the subsidy pie, personally.


Corn, wheat and soy are the monoculture agriculture.


Sure, I'm in favour of moving subsidies away from these too. Corn is largely used for animal feed (and also unhealthy stuff like HFCS) and the modern diet is much too overloaded on corn, wheat and soy and its making us unhealthy. Wheat or wheat derivatives are also added as a filler to many foods, which, as someone who has family members who have celiac disease, is pretty frustrating. There are plenty of non-animal products that it might make sense to encourage. As I said, I'm not against subsidising animal products, but I suggested reducing it because the UN said we should eat less meat.


I heard that corn farming is subsidized in the US, which is also used to feed cows?


This is starting to happen in the EU already: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49281111


Methane tax IMO


"Combining isotopic evidence from ground surface measurements with the newly calculated fire emissions, the team showed that about 17 teragrams per year of the increase is due to fossil fuels, another 12 is from wetlands or rice farming, while fires are decreasing by about 4 teragrams per year. The three numbers combine to 25 teragrams a year -- the same as the observed increase"[1]

The 'cows farting' story is not a major methane source.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-led-study-solves-a-met...


What you're citing here is numbers for previously unexplained emissions, not total emissions.

I.e. there was major uncertainty that scientists were measuring more methane than they expected, and these scientists tried to figure out where it comes from.

The only thing your argument says is that for methane emissions from meat production apparently scientists had a pretty good idea about the numbers.


I don't have a source at hand, so grain of salt and all that... I read somewhere that grass-fed cows also produce a lot less methane than corn-fed cows.


Better dial down on the fiber intake, then!


And have regular blood tests and take your vitamins to keep your biochemistry at the right state.


Whenever I worry about someone bioengineering a plague for humans to save the planet, the pragmatist in me realizes they could just do the same against cows and only end up being remembered as half evil.


What gives you the right to control what people eat?


We already do that.

You can't legally eat the meat of other humans in most (all? not sure) countries. You're not allowed to buy the meat of certain animals in certain countries, due to cultural norms (dogs) or due to protection of certain species.

It's an absolutely normal thing that laws regulate or forbid things that have negative effects on society.


[flagged]


> turn us into weak, dispirited, sanctimonious saps.

Citation needed


If it damages the world or society, then why not? Would you say that I have the right to eat pets? Humans? Animals (or plants) that are on the brink of extinction?

There are plenty of valid reasons to restrict what people are allowed to eat.


By pets what do you mean? Is it ethical for me to have a cat, when cats are obligate carnivores that not only have to eat meat but also independently kill billions of birds a year? Is it not okay for me to eat a chicken but it's perfectly ok to own a python or boa and feed it live mice?

Cows are not killing the planet. They are one of the few things you can raise that doesn't require pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They and other ruminants are important parts of grassland ecosystems.

The megafauna that existed on planet Earth just 200, 500, and 12,000 years ago were far more numerous than the number of livestock cows today.

This reductionist mindset about the environment that doesn't even attempt to quantify trade offs or factor for the important role livestock plays in crop production is beyond tiresome.

We also happen to need meat for healthy brain function. We need lots of Omega-3 fatty acids the kind that animal foods only provide and plants are not as healthy as they're made out to be. They have tons of oxalates, phytic acids, and inflammatory agents that harm human health in large doses. Not to mention the absurd amount of carbs we already consume from plant based foods.


> This reductionist mindset about the environment that doesn't even attempt to quantify trade offs or factor for the important role livestock plays in crop production is beyond tiresome.

I'm not the one who wrote the UN report on climate change that recommends reducing meat consumption. Maybe take it up with the UN instead.

> Not to mention the absurd amount of carbs we already consume from plant based foods.

Speak for yourself. I eat a plant-heavy low-carb diet (I do eat fish, eggs and meat too).

But... you're not replying to what I was saying and that is that there are perfectly valid reasons to restrict what people are allowed to eat. I didn't say anything about not eating cows or whatever, you took my comment out of context, which was simply "There are plenty of valid reasons to restrict what people are allowed to eat." The first paragraph was simply giving examples of reasons that various people might have to do so.


> I'm not the one who wrote the UN report on climate change that recommends reducing meat consumption. Maybe take it up with the UN instead.

Appeal to authority.

> There are plenty of valid reasons to restrict what people are allowed to eat.

Name one. Sounds very tyrannical to me.


> Appeal to authority.

Uhhh.. the person implied that I was saying cows are killing the planet, I simply stated that I never said that, the UN did, so take it up with them instead of me. Why are you are you taking what I said out of context?

> Name one.

Are you just replying without reading the thread? My very first message named a few. I never said they were good reasons, but they are reasons nonetheless.


> Cows are not killing the planet. They are one of the few things you can raise that doesn't require pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

True in theory. Not in practice. Unfortunately most beef we eat doesn't come from grass fed animals. And if we were to convert the entire industry to grassing only, we wouldn't have enough land to produce the same quantity of meat. Which would imply exactly reduced meat consumption.


Yes it does. Beef cows spend the majority of their lives in pasture. Very little of it is spent on a feed yard. It's not even always profitable to send a beef cow to a feed yard for finishing so it's not always done. Even there, most of their diet is a mix of hay and grain. Think of it, grass is free while grain must be paid for, so it doesn't even make economic sense. The manure collected and composted at feed yards serve as fertilizer for crops. And no, we don't eat enough meat. We are eating way too many carbs and artificial foods that are destroying our health. Meat is one of the healthiest things you can eat.


>Is it ethical for me to have a cat, when cats are obligate carnivores that not only have to eat meat but also independently kill billions of birds a year?

Properly-kept housecats stay inside and don't kill any birds. I suspect the vast majority of those bird deaths are caused by feral cats, not pets (though of course, most ferals probably are or descend from pets that were abandoned or escaped). Our society could be doing a better job with dealing with feral animals like this, because they are bad for ecosystems; they're basically invasive predators.

Bird-killing aside, the environmental impact of pets is actually pretty staggering. It's probably worse for dogs too, since they're much larger animals on average.

>The megafauna that existed on planet Earth just 200, 500, and 12,000 years ago were far more numerous than the number of livestock cows today.

Citation needed. Yes, there were millions of buffalo on the American plains 1000+ years ago, but a quick Google search shows there's over 94 million cows in America today. Also, from what I've read, there are more plains now than in the past, because forests were destroyed by humans to make grasslands.


It's depends on which society. It certainly damage the society who perfer to eat meat.

Right is something that you or someone else has to fight for it. If you prefer to eat meat you have to fight for your right, likewise with the non meat eater.


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Could you provide a example of the history you'd like people to learn about by reading "a history book"?


Yeah.. I have no idea what that person was referring to. Besides, just because people in history did stuff doesn't mean we should now.


The same people who currently hold the right to destroy this planet and make it uninhabitable for all future generations.


Do you mean we should ban McDonald's ads and food marketing in general? Because that sounds like a great idea.

Which makes me think. I wonder how much meat would people eat naturally, if they were note exposed to an image of a BigMac on every corner.


I believe the government already has the right and power to control what people eat. People form the government, and people (ideally) choose the people to hold that power.

In part I, too have the right to control what people eat through voting.


Great, that means we can vote to require meat at every meal. Don't like it? Too bad, so sad, we have the right to control what you eat.


Yes, its going to be not easy but at very least if you are meat eater, you should fight for the law to ban meat to ever become reality.


You cannot force people to eat something.


Then you can not force people _not_ to eat something.


There’s an established precedent in (American) law that it’s generally okay to forbid an action but it’s not okay to mandate an action. For example, you can stop people from driving without a license, but you can’t make everyone get a license.


I hate to point it out, but ObamaCare is an example of the reverse: you're mandated to purchase health insurance, or else pay a hefty penalty fee.


Yeah, and that’s part of why it was so controversial. On top of that, op seemed to be suggesting making it illegal - as in go to jail - not having a penalty, which is substantially different.


Which dystopia do you live in then a Marxist approach isn't going to work.


Like with everything else, power and influence. If the meat eater somehow let the vegan to win then well they get to control what people eat.


Mother nature.


Got it - when democratic means don't work, switch to coercion and extortion.

Wonder why people have such negative views of environmentalists.


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A matter of philosophy. Which is more important: the continuation of civilized human society, or democratic ideals?

Personally, I'm not actually sure. The human race, like all things, is ultimately doomed so surely some consideration for values outside those of mere survival is necessary.


Apparently the Indian way is death by lynching on suspicion of cow slaughter with govt doing a 'wink wink' I was looking the other way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_vigilante_violence_in_Indi...

The govt's behavior is not motivated by climate.


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