MIYOKO’S FOOD TRUCK TO GIVE AWAY 15,000 VEGAN GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES IN CROSS-COUNTRY TOUR

VegNews.MiyokosCheeseTruck

The vegan cheese brand will promote its vegan grilled cheese sandwiches—made with Miyoko’s new allergen-friendly vegan cheese and butter—in 17 major cities across the country.

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On March 4, vegan cheese company Miyoko’s Creamery will begin a food truck tour across the United States to promote the brand’s new nut-free vegan cheddar and pepper-jack cheeses (created from oats, potatoes, and legumes) and cultured vegan oat-based butter. Miyoko’s food truck will give away approximately 15,000 free grilled cheese sandwiches made with the new products. The tour will begin at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA and make 17 tentative city stops, including in Los Angeles, CA; Oakland, CA; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Biose, ID; Denver, CO; Austin, TX; New Orleans, LA; Atlanta, GA; Washington DC;  Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY; Boston, MA; Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; and Minneapolis, MN. “We believe our new cheddar and pepper jack are game-changing and will do for cheese what Beyond and Impossible did for burgers by expanding the audience for vegan cheese to omnivores and flexitarians,” Miyoko Schinner, CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, told VegNews. “What better way to prove that than by allowing people to taste the product first-hand—our Grilled Cheese Nation food truck tour is a fun way to get that done while building excitement and anticipation for our April product launch.” In December, Miyoko’s shocked hundreds of unsuspecting cheese lovers at a grilled-cheese sandwich pop-up in San Francisco, where the brand served free sandwiches made with its vegan cheese and butter without telling customers they were vegan. In June, the brand is set to launch the cultured vegan oat-based butter in sea salt and garlic parm flavors and allergen-friendly cheeses in blocks, shreds, and slices.

Burger King’s new plant-based Whopper isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans

Burger King’s Rebel Whopper, which launched in the U.K. January 6, 2020
Burger King UK

Burger King has launched its plant-based Rebel Whopper in the U.K. — but vegetarians and vegans will probably turn their noses up at it.

The new Whopper, made available Monday to those who download the Burger King app, is “100% plant-based” but will be cooked on the same grill as Burger King’s regular beef Whopper burgers.

A disclaimer on Burger King’s U.K. website states: “The Rebel Whopper is plant-based; however, it is cooked on the same broiler as our original Whopper to deliver the same unique flame-grilled taste. Due to shared cooking equipment it may not be suitable for vegetarians.”

The Rebel Whopper is aimed at “flexitarians,” according to an emailed release from Burger King, and is made by Unilever-owned company The Vegetarian Butcher. It is the latest push by the fast-food chain, owned by Restaurant Brands International, to capitalize on the plant-based food trend — it announced in November that the Rebel Whopper would be made available in 2,400 locations in 20 European countries.

In the U.S., Burger King’s meat alternative Impossible Whopper grew restaurant visits, according to early research by Barclays in October. But it has attracted attention for not being vegan-friendly, because it too is cooked on grills where meat is also handled — a November lawsuit from a vegan customer accused Burger King of contaminating its meatless burgers.

Whether plant-based food has been cooked on the same grill as a meat burger makes “no difference” to those trying to cut down on their meat consumption, according to Toni Vernelli, head of international communications and marketing at Veganuary, who was quoted in a press release issued by Burger King U.K. on Monday.

“What does make a big difference to animals and the planet is when non-vegans choose a plant-based menu option, enjoy it and then order it again,” Vernelli added.

Burger King’s Veggie Bean Burger and Kids Veggie Burger are cooked separately, the company confirmed.

The Rebel Whopper patty itself is vegan, with its main ingredients being soy, wheat, vegetable oil, herbs and onion, according to a Burger King spokesperson, and it will be served in a bun with mayonnaise. But it is cooked on a grill that handles meat so it tastes like a regular Whopper, according to the company’s U.K. Marketing Director Katie Evans. “We wanted our first plant-based Whopper to replicate the indulgence and flame-grilled taste of the real thing as closely as possible,” she said in a press release.

Considering a plant-based diet? Here’s what you need to know

Before you jump into a new diet — or any lifestyle change — it's critical to be informed. Thinking about going plant-based? Here's what you need to know.
Before you jump into a new diet — or any lifestyle change — it’s critical to be informed. Thinking about going plant-based? Here’s what you need to know. (BestReviews)

Whether you’re concerned about the state of the environment or are focused on your own health concerns, there are more than a few reasons to consider a plant-based diet.

Despite common misconceptions, you don’t have to survive on raw celery and plain nuts to do it, either.

In fact, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, can actually be incredibly delicious in addition to being great for the environment. Plus, a plant-based diet can save you some serious cash if you do it right.

So, if you’re thinking of making the switch, here is everything you need for a seamless transition into veganism.

Do your research

With any major dietary change, it’s important to know just what you’re getting into. There are a wealth of resources available to help you learn more about both the environmental and health aspects of veganism.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer: This popular book provides a truly eye-opening look at the food and farming industries that can put your meat-free lifestyle into perspective. It’s a poignant moral examination of our food and lifestyle choices.

Plant-Based on a Budget by Toni Okamoto: It’s also a good idea to invest in some solid vegan recipe books so that you don’t get stuck eating the same boring thing every day. We love the budget-friendly, easy-to-prepare meal ideas in this particular cookbook.

Start small

Whether you decide to go vegan for the environment, animal welfare, or simply want a clean healthy diet, the temptation to dive in immediately in can be overwhelming. To have long-term success with a plant-based lifestyle, it’s important to transition slowly. You can and should still finish any non-vegan groceries in your house, then swap them out for plant-based alternatives when you replace them.

Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bars: You should focus on replacing the small stuff first. Swapping out traditional granola bars that likely contain milk or honey for a vegan snack bar is an easy and attainable goal to start with, and these are a delicious fruity breakfast option on the go.

Clif Bar Best Sellers Variety Pack: If you prefer something denser and with a little peanut butter or chocolate, then this is an excellent protein-dense choice great for after workouts or as an afternoon snack.

Season everything

Many of us think that it would be nearly impossible to sacrifice the flavors of our favorite meaty dishes, but the truth is, you don’t have to. You might be surprised to learn just how easy it is to replace many of your favorite meat-based meals with veggie options if you have the right seasoning.

Takii Umami Powder Magic Shitake Mushroom Seasoning: To give your plant-based burgers an extra meaty boost, try mixing in a rich umami mushroom powder. It has a rich, almost meaty taste that adds depth and flavor to any dish.

Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n Cubes: For chicken-style meals, you can find a number of imitation poultry bullion cubes that you’d never know were vegan. These are super easy to use and they’re gluten-free as well.

Old Bay Seasoning: Did you know mushrooms, either from the supermarket or locally foraged, can easily replace decadent seafood like scallops? Just sprinkle some Old Bay on them and you’re good to go.

Kamenstein 16-Jar Revolving Countertop Spice Rack: Of course, seasoning goes well beyond meat substitutes. In order to elevate every dish you make, you’re going to need a variety of spices on hand. This rack comes with pre-filled jars and is an easy way to get all of the basic spices you’ll need to get started.

McCormick Organic Spice Gift Set: If you don’t have the counter space for a traditional spinning spice rack, then this wall-mountable option is an excellent alternative that includes even more spices and herbs.

Have the right tools

There are a few essential kitchen appliances and accessories that will make transitioning to a plant-focused diet easy, and dare we say, fun.

Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers: One common complaint about vegan cooking is that it’s time-consuming. If you don’t have a lot of spare time to set aside for cooking during the week, then doing a large meal prep day on the weekend will save some serious time. These containers make storing your meals for the week simple. Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender: Next up, you’ll need a good blender. From banana ice cream to nut-based cheese sauce and every breakfast smoothie and creamy sauce in between, you can never go wrong with a Vitamix.

Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper: You’re going to be chopping a lot of raw veggies and a food processor will save you time and effort. Something like this is perfect for making large batches of hummus, pesto, and nut butter as well.

Hamilton Beach Mini 3-Cup Food Processor: If you’re chopping veggies for one, then this smaller version will do the trick for a fraction of the cost.

It’s all about balance

The general assumption is that veganism is healthy, and it certainly can be. However, just because certain foods are vegan doesn’t mean they’re inherently healthy. You can’t live off of a diet of french fries with a side of Oreos, for example.

So be sure that you’re still getting all of the protein and vitamins that are essential to a healthy diet. Black beans, lentils, spinach, quinoa, and bok choy are just a few of many protein-dense vegetables that should be incorporated in your meals.

Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder: If you’re worried about getting enough protein, then adding some vegan protein powder to baked goods, smoothies, and more is an easy way to get your daily requirements.

Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes: B12 is also essential to a healthy well-balanced diet. Since this nutrient is naturally found in animal products, vegans will have to look for alternatives. Nutritional yeast is full of B12 and has a mouth-watering nutty, cheesy flavor. It can be sprinkled on top of popcorn or pasta or used in any number of cheesy recipes for a B12 boost.

Nature Made Vitamin B12: Nutritional yeast alone may not be enough, but luckily there are a number of supplements available that will ensure you’re getting enough of this helpful nutrient.

Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Hunter’s ‘vegan edit’ includes nearly 300 certified vegan products

hunter vegan edit
© Hunter

Along with the iconic Hunter rainboot, the company has a huge collection of items that use no animal materials or animal by-products during the manufacturing process.

Upon first consideration, anyone who avoids animals products might not worry that their Wellington boots were not vegan. But that’s the thing about avoiding animal products – they show up in very surprising places. If plastic bags and bicycle tires may not be vegan, why not rubber boots?

Which is why I love this great initiative by Hunter, the maker of iconic rubber boots. They have created a “vegan edit” in which they’ve singled out all of their vegan products in a special section, to the delight of rubber-boot wearing vegans everywhere. Vegan items also display a vegan symbol (below) in online descriptions and on product tags to make it clear.

vegan symbol© Hunter

“Increasingly, we are being asked which products within the Hunter collection are vegan,” notes the company. “Because of our commitment to using natural rubber, many of our iconic and best-selling rain boots are, in fact, already vegan.”

At this point, they have a whopping 278 products certified as 100 percent vegan, meaning they were all made without using any animal materials or animal by-products during the manufacturing process. The vegan edit has been PETA approved. and includes the classic Original Tall boot, as well as best-selling styles like the Original Short, Original Chelsea, Play and Refined boots.

The company has come a long way from being just makers of wellies – they have all kinds of other apparel and accessories, including many things to keep warm; many of which are traditionally made with things like wool and down. So it’s nice to see plenty of cozy vegan items in the edit as well.

Meanwhile, if you are wondering about all that rubber that goes into the making of all those rubber boots – we are right there with you. The company says they are committed to respecting “human rights, animal welfare and the environment.” Which means, as far as the rubber is concerned, it is all natural and sourced from plantations in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. In a sustainability statement, the company explains that they “recently signed a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) position statement on the responsible sourcing of natural rubber, it commits to sourcing rubber from deforestation-free, environmentally- conscious and socially responsible natural rubber.”

I discovered something else about the company that I didn’t know, which is they started a charity initiative in 2012 called Hunter Donated. Since then, they have donated 116,335 fully functional waterproof Wellington boots to their global charity partners around the world.

“Hunter Donated has provided boots in response to natural disasters in Haiti and Puerto Rico as well as to development organisations in Cambodia and to local farmers in East Timor,” says the company. “So far, we have reached thousands of people across four continents.”

hunter boots© Hunter boots doing the good work.

For more information and to see the vegan edit, visit Hunter.

Burger King Sued by Vegans for Impossible Burger Contamination

BURGER KINGSUED BY VEGANS FOR IMPOSSIBLE BURGER CONTAMINATIONWe Want Burger Our Way!!!

Scientists Are Literally Spinning Up Lab-Grown Meat

When Cypher is selling out his compatriots over dinner with Agent Smith in The Matrix, he muses: “I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.”

In a simulation like the Matrix, ones and zeroes represent every nuance of that steak—the texture, the smell, the flavor. Here in 2019, scientists are still stuck in the lab, racing to reverse-engineer animal flesh component by component, with the goal of one day feeding the carnivores among us in a (theoretically) more sustainable way. To that end, Harvard researchers have taken inspiration from a cotton candy machine to develop a kind of meat scaffold made of thin strands of gelatin that mimic muscle fibers, on which animals cells grow. It’s a step toward steaks, chicken breasts, and pulled pork grown in a factory instead of a field—but before you get too hungry, understand that it’ll be quite some time before slabs of lab-grown meat land on your plate.

Testing showed the gelatinous material had a similar texture to real meat.VIDEO: HARVARD UNIVERSITY

So, about that cotton candy machine: The carnival version works by heating sugar in a container and spinning it at high speed, flinging the sugar out and crystalizing it into strands, which form into a cloud, usually colored pink. Same principle behind the machine these researchers pieced together—though theirs spins much faster, at 30,000 rpm. And pardon this next metaphor, but the next component is a sort of toilet bowl. “If you put that cotton candy machine upside down in a toilet bowl full of solvent, you could spin a whole lot of fibers,” says Harvard bioengineer Kit Parker, a coauthor on a new paper describing the work.

microscopic images of gelatin fibers which look like uncooked angel hair pasta and rabbit skeletal muscle which looks...
PHOTOGRAPH: HARVARD UNIVERSITY

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The solvent, a mixture of ethanol and water, keeps the fibers from falling apart as they fling out of the supercharged cotton candy machine. The fibers themselves are made of pig-derived gelatin, which is a product of broken-down collagen. In a regular steak, collagen forms what’s known as the extracellular matrix, or the scaffolding that holds the meat together. How it’s cooked, then, defines its structure and flavor. For instance, you’ve probably had at least one terribly cooked steak that curls up at the edges. “It’s not very tasty, it’s pretty dry,” says Parker. “The collagen curled up instead of transitioning into gelatin.” By contrast, in slow-cooked pulled pork, the low temperatures give collagen the chance to turn into flavor-packed gelatin. And by using gelatin to make these fibers, the researchers can create a tender meat analog.

Speaking of pulled pork, you know how it comes apart into that mass of fibers? That’s because skeletal muscle cells fuse together into long strands. With these lab-spun gelatin fibers, the researchers provided a similar kind of scaffolding, to which they added either cow or rabbit cells. “You don’t want the cells to be like bricks in a brick building,” says Parker. “You want them to be nice and long, like that pulled pork. So having these long fibers, the cells attach to the fibers and they form protein junctions, and then they grow along the length of the fiber.”

photos of red meat fibers an plated gelatin items in petri dish and the fibers pulled in petri dish
Rabbit cells (the white bits) adhere to the gelatin fibers.PHOTOGRAPH: HARVARD UNIVERSITY

The end product is a meat analog whose consistency rivals the real thing. Parker and his colleagues ran a “texture profile analysis”—more or less a little metal hammer that presses down on the material to test its consistency. “Lo and behold, the chewability, or the toughness of this meat, is pretty similar to the other kinds of meat that you might see in the store,” adds Parker.

Now, some big caveats here: The researchers didn’t do a taste test because for one, this isn’t a food-safe lab. Also, this lab-grown meat isn’t cooked, which will transform it in complex, yet to be studied ways. And growing the animal cells—whether in a petri dish, as other lab-grown meat companies are tinkering with, or on these gelatin fibers—is still a tricky process that requires the right temperature, moisture, and nutrient content.

stretched white gelatin behind black ruler
PHOTOGRAPH: HARVARD UNIVERSITY

At the moment, companies can grow animal cells to make unstructured products like ground beef or chorizo just fine, because it’s a mush of meat. But to actually replicate a steak in the lab—hoo boy, that’s going to take some work. Not only does the meat have to grow in nice fibers, you have to incorporate connective tissues and fat—that critical component that makes a rib eye so good and lean chicken kinda meh. If it all comes together and lab-grown steaks eventually are what’s for dinner, they’ll be meticulously engineered foods that somehow look and smell like meat before and after cooking, and then somehow taste and feel like meat in your mouth.

Perhaps Cypher had it right: Ignorance is bliss.

The vegans are coming, and we might join them

Package of lab-grown meat.

Jiraroj Praditcharoenkul/iStock

In replicating the look and taste of real meat, companies are appealing to the mainstream consumer

Some Burger Kings recently introduced a new version of the iconic Whopper with its signature flame-broiled beef patty swapped for a meatless replica that the company claims is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

It’s called the Impossible Whopper, and it’s the latest iteration of the trend of vegan food intended to appeal to the average consumer. So appealing is it, in fact, that the restaurant intends to roll out the new take on its signature sandwich in all 7,200 stores nationwide by the end of this year. White Castle has been selling a slider version of the Impossible Burger in its almost 400 stores since last year. In January, more than 1,000 Carl’s Jr. restaurants started offering a vegetarian burger made by Beyond Meat, which, like the Impossible Burger, tries to replicate real beef. It even appears to bleed. Restaurants and supermarkets also stock the products.

“What this is, is the mainstreaming process,” said Nina Gheihman, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). She researches how veganism, a historically marginal practice, has become a popular lifestyle choice as the demand for healthier, more sustainable food has grown in recent years. “Especially in the past three to five years, veganism has really transformed from this fringe animal-rights movement into a lifestyle movement,” she said.

It has done so by shifting from a strategy focused on convincing consumers to abandon animal products for ethical reasons to using technology to satisfy those meat cravings, Gheihman said.

When it comes to meat, the idea is to get people to give it up without feeling like they’re giving it up. The leaders in this field are the vegan tech companies looking to mimic and replace meat and other animal products using one of two approaches: plant-based or cell-based.

The plant-based “meat” approach, led by companies like Impossible Foods, the one behind the Impossible Burger, and Beyond Meat, both based in California, combines high-protein vegetables like peas and soybeans to replicate the taste, texture, and look of meat. The “blood” in the Beyond Meat burger, for example, is beet juice. The meatlike texture and taste of the Impossible Burger comes from genetically modified yeast that is used to create the burger’s central ingredient, soy leghemoglobin, or “heme.”

The cell-based approach, led by companies like Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, is science fiction made real in a laboratory. Workers take cells from animals like cows, chicken, or turkeys and grow specific products in a culture dish — steak, chicken breast, or turkey nuggets. It is real meat but producing it does not harm animals.

The two approaches differ in strategy, but the underlying key is creating a product indistinguishable from the original.

“What’s happening is that these companies are saying, ‘We’re not going to appeal any more to just vegans,’” Gheihman said. “‘Instead we’re appealing to the omnivores; we’re appealing to the average person. … We’re going to create this thing that you’re already consuming. It’s just going to be plant-based or cell-based.’”

The plant-based strategy has been gaining traction in the U.S. According to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey, 39 percent of Americans are trying to consume more plant-based foods, and it’s showing on their grocery lists. Meat alternatives posted a 30 percent growth in U.S. sales between April 2017 and April 2018, according to Nielsen, while traditional plant-based options like tofu trended down by 1.3 percent in the same period. Plant-based cheese, yogurt, pizza, and noodles showed similar growth to meat alternatives.

Cell-based (or “clean”) meat is still in development, but it’s expected to hit the market as early as 2021. Its potential is promising, with initial testers saying it provides virtually the same taste as meat but without the ethical dilemmas around the treatment of animals or the environmental effects of raising livestock, which, according to a 2006 UN Report, is responsible for approximately 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — not to mention air and water pollution and high energy consumption.

While both approaches show promise in terms of human and planetary health, healthy-diet researcher Frank Hu, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says there is a need to keep a watchful eye on these products.

“The current effort to produce more plant-based protein food like the Impossible Burger and some other plant options, I think that is in a good direction,” said Hu, the Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition. “I think it could have potential benefits in improving the health of humans in the world. Of course, the data on the products like the Impossible Burger or other types of [similar] veggie burgers is still very limited. I think it’s very important to monitor the trends of the consumption patterns in the population and also monitor the health effects of those products, because some of those products, even though they contain high amounts of plant-based protein, may also contain unhealthy ingredients, such as high amounts of sodium or unhealthy fats. Being plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier.”

As for cell-based meat, Hu said it is too a new phenomenon to have reliable data, so its effects on humans are currently unknown. “At this point, there is no data whatsoever because it’s at such an early stage,” he said.

Hu also noted the high production costs of both plant-based meat and clean meat, which currently translate to the consumer but are expected to lower with time.

The vegan trend has not lost touch with its origins in the animal-rights movement, it just embraces them in a subtler, pragmatic way while at the same time tapping into people’s desire for sustainability and good health.

“It’s sexy; it’s aspirational; it’s desirable,” Gheihman said. “And it’s been framed in that way. … I think it really is shifting the perception of the average person. With the rise of social media and documentaries, a lot more people are more informed about what they’re putting into their bodies in terms of its costs both for them from a health perspective and for animals and the environment.”

Why we must cut out meat and dairy

Jonathan Safran Foer: why we must cut out meat and dairy before… https://www.theguardian.com/books/20 19/sep/28/meat-of-the-mat. c#ftian Jonathan Safran Fo€r: why we must cut out meat and dairy before dinner to save theplanet Animal products create more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, but we don’t want to confront this inconvenient truth: our eating habits are a problem

The Guardian

Jonathan Safran Foer

Sat 28 Sep 2019 03.00 EDT

Our planet is facing a crisis. But even when we know that a war for our survival is raging, we don’t feel that it is our war. Although many of climate change’s accompanying calamities – extreme weather events, floods and wildflres, displacement and resource scarcity chief among them – are vivid,

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personal and suggestive of a worsening situation, they don’t feel that way in aggregate. The distance between awareness and feeling can make it very difficult for even thoughtful and politically engaged people – people who want to act – to act.

So-called climate change deniers reject the conclusion that97% of climate scientists have reached: the planet is warming because of human activities. But what about those of us who say we accept the reality of human-caused climate change? We may not think the scientists are lying, but are we able truly to believe what they tell us? Such a belief would surely awaken us to the urgent ethical imperative attached to it, shake our collective conscience and render us willing to make small sacrifices in the present to avoid cataclysmic ones in the future.

In zot8, despite knowing more than we have ever known about human-caused climate change, humans produced more greenhouse gases than we’ve ever produced, at a rate three times that of population growth. There are tidy explanations – the growing use of coal in China and India, a sttong global economy, unusually severe seasons that required spikes in energy for heating and cooling. But the truth is as crude as it is obvious: we don’t care. So now what?

Of course there are some moments when the planetary crisis is acutely felt. Watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was an intellectual and emotional revelation for me. When the screen went dark after the final image, our situation seemed perfectly clear, as did my responsibility to participate in the struggle. And when that film’s credits rolled, at the moment of greatest enthusiasm to do whatever was asked to work against the imminent apocalypse that Gore had just delineated for us, suggested actions appeared on the screen. ‘Are you ready to change the way you live? The climate crisis can be solved. Here’s how to start.”

Among the suggestions were: tell your parents not to ruin the world that you will live in; if you are a parent, join with your children to save the world they will live in; switch to renewable sources of energy; plant trees, iots of trees; raise fuel economy standards; require lower emissions from automobiles.

A[ Gore in An inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Photograph: Participant Media/Paramount Pictures

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There is a glaring absence in Gore’s list, and its invisibility recurs in 2017’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, with one minuscule exception. It is impossible to explain this omission as accidental without also accusing Gore of a kind of radical ignorance. In terms of the scale of the error, it would be equivalent to a doctor prescribing physical exercise to a patient recovering from a heart attack without also telling him he needs to quit smoking, reduce his stress and stop eating burgers and fries twice a day.

So why would Gore deliberately choose to leave this particular issue out? Almost certainly for fear that it would be distractingly controversial and dampen the enthusiasm he had just worked so hard to ignite. It has also been largely absent from the websites of leading environmental advocacy organisations – although this now seems to be changing. It is unmentioned in the celebrated book Dire Predictions, written by the climate scientists Michael E Mann and Lee R Kump. After forecasting existential climate disasters, the authors recommend that we substitute clotheslines for electric dryers and commute by bicycle. Among their suggestions, there is no reference to the everyday process that is, according to the research director of Project Drawdown – a collection of nearly zoo environmental scientists and thought leaders dedicated to identifying solutions to address climate change – “the most important contribution every individual can make to reversing global warming”.

What I am thinking of is the fact that we cannot save the planet unless we significantly reduce our consumption of animal products. This is not my opinion, or anyone’s opinion. It is the inconvenient science. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector (all planes, cars and trains), and is the primary source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions (which are 86 and 3ro times more powerful than CO2, respectively). Our meat habit is the leading cause of deforestation, which releases carbon when trees are burned (forests contain more carbon than do all exploitable fossil-fuel reserves), and also diminishes the planet’s ability to absorb carbon. According to a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even if we were to do everything else that is necessary to save the planet, it will be impossible to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord if we do not dramatically reduce our consumption of animal products.

Why is this subject avoided? Conversations about meat, dairy and eggs make people defensive. They make people annoyed. It’s far easier to vilify the fossil fuel industry and its lobbyists – which are without a doubt deserving of our vilification – than to examine our own eating habits. No one who isn’t a vegan is eager to go there, and the eagerness of vegans can be a further turnoff. But we have no hope of tackling climate change if we can’t speak honestly about what is causing it, as well as our potential to change in response.

It is hard to talk about our need to eat fewer animal products both because the topic is so fraught and because of the sacrifice involved. Most people like the taste of meat, dairy and eggs. Most people have eaten animal products at almost every meal since

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Jonathan Safran Foer: why we must cut out meat and dairy before… https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sepl28/meat-of-the-mat

they were children, and it’s hard to change lifelong habits, even when they aren’t freighted with pleasure and identity. Those are meaningful challenges, not only worth acknowledging but necessary to acknowledge. Changing the way we eat is simple compared with converting the world’s power grid, or overcoming the influence of powerful lobbyists to pass carbon-tax legislation, or ratifying a significant international treaty on greenhouse gas emissions – but it isn’t simple.

I certainly haven’t found it to be effortless. In my early 3os, I spent three years researching factory farming and wrote a book-length rejection of it called Eating Animals.I then spent nearly two years giving hundreds of readings, Iectures and interviews on the subject, making the case that factory-farmed meat should not be eaten. So it would be far easier for me not to mention that in difficult periods over the past couple of years – while going through some painful personal experiences, while travelling the country to promote a novel when I was least suited for self-promotion – I ate meat a number of times. Usually burgers. Often at airports. Which is to say, meat from precisely the kinds of farms I argued most strongly against. And my reason for doing so makes my hypocrisy even more pathetic: they brought me comfort. I can imagine this confession eliciting some ironic comments and eye-rolling, and some grddy accusations of fraudulence. I wrote at length, and passionately, about how factory farming tortures animals and destroys the environment. How could I argue for radical change, how could I raise my children as vegetarians, while eating meat for comfort?

I wish I had found comfort elsewhere but I am who I am. Even as my commitment to vegetarianism, driven by the issue of animal welfare, has been deepened by a full awareness of meat’s environmental toll, rarely a day has passed when I haven’t craved it. At times I’ve wondered if my strengthening intellectual rejection of it has fuelled a strengthening desire to consume it.

Confronting my hypocrisy has reminded me how difficult it is to even try to live my values. Knowing that it will be tough helps make the efforts possible. Efforts, not effort. I cannot imagine a future in which I decide to become a meat-eater again, but I cannot imagine a future in which I don’t want to eat meat. Eating consciously will be one of the

‘Rarely a day has passed when I haven’t craved meat’ Jonathan Safran Foer. Photograph: Christopher Lane

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Jonathan Safran Foer: why we must cut out meat and dairy before… [https://www.theguardian.com,/books/2019lsepl28lmeat-ofthe-mat]https://www.theguardian.com,/books/2019lsepl28lmeat-ofthe-mat.

struggles that span and define my life.

We do not simply feed our bellies, and we do not simply modify our appetites in response to principles. We eat to satisfy primitive cravings, to forge and express ourselves, to realise community. We eat with our mouths and stomachs, but also with our minds and hearts. All my different identities – father, son, American, New Yorker, progressive, Jew, writer, environmentalist, traveller, hedonist – are present when I eat, and so is my history. When I first chose to become vegetarian, as a nine-year-old, my motivation was simple: do not hurt animals. Over the years, my motivations changed because the available information changed, but more importantly, because my life changed. As I imagine is the case for most people, ageing has proliferated my identities Time softens ethical binaries and fosters a greater appreciation of what might be called the messiness of life.

There is a place at which one’s personal business and the business of being one of seven billion earthlings intersect. And for perhaps the first moment in history, the expression “one’s time” makes little sense. Climate change is not a jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table, which can be returned to when the schedule allows and the feeling inspires. It is a house on fire. The longer we fail to take care of it, the harder it becomes to take care of, and because of positive feedback loops – white ice melting to dark water that absorbs more heat; thawing permafrost releasing huge amounts of methane – we will very soon reach a tipping point of “runaway climate change”, when we will be unable to save ourselves, no matter how much effort we make.

We do not have the luxury of living in our time. We cannot go about our lives as if they were only ours. In a way that was not true for our ancestors, the lives we live will create a future that cannot be undone. The word “crisis” derives from the Greek krusls, meaning “decision”.

Future generations will almost certainly look back and wonder why on earth – why on Earth – did we choose our suicide? Perhaps we could plead that the decision wasn’t ours to make: as much as we cared, there was nothing we could do. We didn’t know enough at the time. Being mere individuals, we didn’t have the means to enact consequential change. We didn’t run the oil companies. We weren’t making government policy. The ability to save ourselves, and save them, was not in our hands. But that would be a lie.

Our attention has been fixed on fossil fuels, which has given us an incomplete picture of the planetary crisis and led us to feel that we are hurling rocks at a Goliath far out of reach. Even if they are not persuasive enough on their own to change our behaviour, facts can change our minds, and that’s where we need to begin. We know we have to do something, but “we have to do something” is usually an expression of incapacitation, or at least uncertainty. Without identifying the thing that we have to do, we cannot decide to do it.

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Forest fires in A[tamira, Para state, Brazil[ … ‘Our meat habit is the leading cause of deforestation, which releases carbon when trees are burned’ Photograph: JoSo Laet/AFP/Getty images

Climate change is a crisis that will always be simultaneously addressed together and faced alone. The four highest impact things an individual can do to tackle the planetary crisis are: have fewer children; live car-free; avoid air travel; and eat a plant-based diet. Most people are not in the process of deciding whether to have a baby. Few drivers can simply decide to stop using their cars. A sizable portion of air travel is unavoidable. But everyone will eat a meal relatively soon and can immediately participate in the reversal of climate change. Furthermore, of those four high-impact actions, only plant-based eating immediately addresses methane and nitrous oxide, the most urgently important greenhouse gases.

Some argue that plant-based eating is elitist. They are either misinformed, or knowingly taking the favorite emergency exit of privileged, performatively thoughtful people who don’t want to change what they eat. It is true that a healthy traditional diet is more expensive than an unhealthy one – about $SSo (f44o) more expensive over the course of a year. And everyone should, as a right, have access to affordable healthy food. But a healthy vegetarian diet is, on average, about $ZSo (f6oo) Iess expensive per year than a healthy meat-based diet. In other words, it is about $2oo (f16o) cheaper per year to eat a healthy vegetarian diet than an unhealthy traditional diet. Not to mention the money saved by preventing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer – all associated with the consumption of animal products. Nine per cent of Americans making less than $3o,ooo per year identify as vegetarian, whereas only 4% of those making more than $75,ooo are. People of colour are disproportionately vegetarian. It is not elitist to suggest that a cheaper, healthier, more environmentally sustainable diet is better. But what does strike me as elitist? When someone uses the existence of people without access to healthy food as an excuse not to change, rather than as a motivation to help those people.

Different studies suggest different dietary changes in response to climate change, but the ballpark is pretty clear. The most comprehensive assessment of the livestock industry’s environmental impact was published in Nature in October 2018. After analysing food-production systems from every country around the world, the authors

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Jonathan Safran Foer: why we must cut out meat and dairy before… htps://www.theguardian.com/books/2019lsepl28lmeat-of-the-mat…

concluded that while undernourished people living in poverty across the globe could actually eat a little more meat and dairy, the average world citizen needs to shift to a plant-based diet in order to prevent catastrophic, irreversible environmental damage. The average US and UK citizen must consume 90% less beef and 6o% less dairy.

No animal products for breakfast or lunch would come close to-achieving that. It might not amount to precisely the reductions that are asked for, but

Impossible Foods To Make Its Supermarket Debut Next Week

‘Get ready to enjoy Impossible Burger where food tastes best – at home’
The meatless patty will hit selected stores this month (Photo: Instagram / Impossible Foods)

The meatless patty will hit selected stores this month (Photo: Instagram / Impossible Foods)

Plant-based startup Impossible Foods is to make its supermarket debut on September 20 – after a key ingredient received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.

The ruling – which cleared the use of soy leghemoglobin, aka heme, as a color additive – meant the company would be able to sell its products directly to consumers instead of only to restaurants.

‘Smells like palm trees’

Impossible Foods has kept secret the first location to stock its meat-free burgers, writing on Instagram: “Guess what city you can find us on shelves? Here’s a hint: Smells like palm trees.

“Get ready to enjoy Impossible Burger where food tastes best – at home. Stay tuned to find out where we’re headed first.”

Vegan controversy

Impossible Foods itself consider its meatless patty to be plant-based rather than vegan.

This is because in 2017 heme was fed to rats in order to test its safety. More than 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.

CEO Pat Brown reacted to the controversy, publishing a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing.