Organic Plant-Based Food

 


ORGANIC PLANT-BASED FOOD

 

As the name suggests, plant-based foods mainly focus on foods primarily coming from plants. It would be wrong to think that plants are solely vegetables and fruits. It also includes nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. In general terms, plant-based foods drive from plant sources. This food group does not only appeal to vegetarians and vegans. It is a food group we should all choose for a more sustainable environment.

 

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), taking up remarkably sustainable diets at a global level is highly important. Sustainable diets should include minimally processed products and limited consumption of animal products. Besides that, environmentally friendly habits provide a tendency for increasing the consumption of plant products. The demand for animal-based products is increasing day by day. The livestock sector is one of the most significant contributors to the most critical environmental problems. Those effects may cause competition for natural resources, especially land and water, competition between food and feed. Figure 1 may give an idea about the competition about land between human consumption and livestock since we can see this highly unequal distribution of land use between livestock and crops for human consumption by examining this table. Moreover, we should also consider greenhouse gases emissions for the planet. Briefly, greenhouse gases, such as methane, trap the Earth’s heat and causes the increasing temperature, i.e., climate change. One of the largest producers of methane, 14.5% emitting from livestock, is cow herds. Billions of animal products mean millions of livestock animals such as cows. When we learn about the effects of animal-based products on the environment, we should pay more attention to consuming plant-based products to protect the planet.

 



Figure 1.

 

Studies show that plant-based diets are related to lower rates of heart diseases, type-2 diabetes and some cancer types. However, there are some risks of solely eating plant-based products. Diet, including only plant-based foods, will cause inadequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake. To prevent this, diets in which animal-based and plant-based products are balanced can be preferred. On the other hand, risks are readily overcome by choosing the right vegetarian foods and, when necessary, supplements. For instance, soy, quinoa, and nuts are good sources of protein, and iron intake can be yielded by consuming tofu, lentils, and spinach.

 

Furthermore, there are studies to produce plant-based meats. As a first step, plant-based meats are designed for vegans and vegetarians. Its taste does not look similar to regular beef. However, there are companies, producing plant-based meats, and they claim that their products designed to taste, feel, and look like meat. Also, they produce for meat-eaters. Unfortunately, the truth is not as good as it is read. Plant-based meats are highly processed products. These products have been frozen, canned, dried, baked and pasteurized. Besides a lot of processes, they contain additives such as a lot of extra sugar, oil, salt and calories to obtain a real meat taste. On the other hand, all plant-based meats are not highly processed. There are also products based on plant/microorganism. Producers prepare a growth medium to grow muscle stem cells, and then, they produce plant-based meats in laboratory medium. 

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CONTENT: Miray ERTÜRK
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REFERENCES

 C. Cederberg, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF MEAT PRODUCTION | Primary Production/Meat and             the Environment, Editor(s): Michael Dikeman, Carrick Devine, Encyclopedia of Meat Sciences             (Second Edition), Academic Press, 2014, Pages 502-507, ISBN 9780123847348. Retrieved                     from:  https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-384731-7.00170-7.

 Fischer CG, Garnett T. Plates, Pyramids and Planets Developments in National Healthy and Sustainable Dietary Guidelines: A State of Plays Assessment. Oxford, UK: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Food Climate Research Network (2016).

 Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2013) - "Land Use". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/land-use' [Online Resource].

 Shmerling, R.H. (2019). Plant-based diets are best… or are they?. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/plant-based-diets-are-best-or-are-they-2019103118122.

 Thornton P. K. (2010). Livestock production: recent trends, future prospects. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 365(1554), 2853–2867. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0134 .