BOOM – Beef & Beans


There is heightened awareness of how dietary choices impact the environment. Many people are cutting back on their consumption of animal products for this reason.

Today a friend posted a chart comparing beef and beans. Those beans surely look like the better choice!

Each time something like this surfaces it reminds me of  Sir Kenneth Blaxter. This great man was an expert on human and animal nutrition and in particular on energy metabolism. His books and papers are key references for generations of students working in this field and in 1984 I had the honor to have him as my Ph.D examiner.


One thing he studied extensively and underlined often is the ability of ruminants to graze on lands that could never be used for crop production. Their ability to harness this scrub energy into highly nutritious food is nothing short of a miracle.

Seeing sheep climbing in the mountains of Ireland and the cows in the alps of Switzerland always underscored his position for me.


Grazing is just part of the story. Traditionally and still in many parts of the world to this day  poultry, pigs and ruminants transform waste food into fine quality materials.

Shouldn’t all this be environmentally beneficial?

Well it might if we still ate grass fed beef and free range eggs but we don’t. We eat animal products that are often intensively reared and fed corn and soy and grains that are environmentally demanding. Add to this the amount of animal products we consume and we begin to see why we need to change.

Each of us have a choice to make. Some may choose to be vegan out of deep concern for animal welfare and this will have a positive environmental impact too.

If we can afford it some others may choose to eat only free range eggs and grass fed beef.

Maybe the easiest first step, given the obesity epidemic is simply to eat a little less of everything!

Share your thoughts and suggestions and for those interested in digging a little deeper here’s some not so light reading.

Blessing # 242 – Debate

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