Only a month a go I took to this blog to rant about bacon-gate, when the headlines simplified the finding of a correlation between processed meat and cancer into the definitive statement that bacon cause cancer. This week, the media managed to misinterpret research in such a ridiculous manner that I’ve been riled up yet again. The latest ‘scientific finding’ is that a vegetarians diet is bad for the environment. Even the more reputable newspapers have been printed this story driving the internet wild with meat-eating trolls taking pleasure in blaming vegetarians for global warming.
Of course, the public, who are now probably proudly shouting this at their vegetarian friends across the dinner tables, excited to they finally have ammo with which to scorn them for eating lettuce, have almost definitely not read the paper.
The actual finding that has been so overly hyped is that certain vegetables, specifically lettuce, do have a higher environmental food print than some meats. But the researchers compared the environmental impact of three diets, none of which were actually vegetarian. What everyone seems to be missing is that vegetarians don’t eat only lettuce and actually probably eat a similar amount of lettuce to meat eaters. In reality, the average vegan or vegetarian will usually eat more grains, soy and beans, all of which use very low levels of environmental energy. You can’t claim that the impact of lettuce is the same as all vegetables, in the same way that it’s wrong to claim that meat causes cancer when in fact, only processed meats have been associated with cancer.
The media take scientific findings and twist them into stories until they are almost unrecognisable from the initial conclusions. The paper was actually making an incredible important point, that the foods we eat have massive consequences for the climate change. Instead, they have turned this research from a potentially important finding that could have had a positive impact in shaping attitudes towards global warming, into another excuse for us to remain ignorant and resist change.
What really worries me is how readily I believe reports on topics I have little knowledge on. There are dozens of articles I read in areas that aren’t related to food or psychology where I’m clueless as to whether the research is legitimate or not. I may be ignorant but I think April Fool’s day is the only time truly question the headlines. On any other day I probably wouldn’t be suspicious reading that they’d harnessed the energy from Thunderstorms or discovered a breed of flying penguins.
I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record, but if I don’t let my anger out in blog-form, the only choice I’ll have is to take my rants to the streets and I’d prefer not to subject poor passerbys to some crazy lady shouting at them that Brussel sprouts are their friend.
But seriously, Brussel sprouts are your friend, and here’s a recipe to get them tasting of sweetness and umami.
200g Brussel sprouts
3 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps honey
1 tbsps mirin
1/2 tsp chinese five spice
1/2 tsp ginger
1 pinch chilli flakes
1 tsp sesame seeds
bunch spring onion (chopped)
- Whisk together soy sauce, honey, mirin, Chinese five spice, chilli flakes, ginger, salt and pepper.
- Coat Brussel sprouts in the sauce and pan-fry for 15 mins, until tender.
- Top with sesame seeds and spring onions to serve (I forgot to do this until after I’d taken the picture so yours will probably look better than mine did!)