Are plant-based diets environmentally friendly?

Are plant-based diets environmentally friendly?
Updated 13 February 2013

Are plant-based diets environmentally friendly?

Are plant-based diets environmentally friendly?

A nutritious diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables might be healthier for humans but not necessarily healthier for the environment, according to a French study.
After analyzing the eating habits of about 2,000 French adults, and the greenhouse gas emissions generated by producing the plants, fish, meat, fowl and other ingredients, researchers concluded in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that such a diet might not be the greenest in environmental impact.
“When you eat healthy, you have to eat a lot of food that has a low content of energy. You have to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables,” said Nicole Darmon, the study’s senior author from the National Research Institute of Agronomy in Marseille, France.
Growing fruits and vegetables doesn’t produce as much greenhouse gas as raising cattle or livestock, but food production — including the use of farming equipment and transportation — is estimated to be responsible for 15 percent to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in development countries, the authors said.
Scientists have long advised people to switch to a plant-based diet to benefit the environment and their own health.
To more closely examine that premise, Darmon and her colleagues used food diaries from 1,918 French adults to compare the nutritional quality of people’s real-world diets and how much greenhouse gas they produced. From the diaries that were kept for seven days between 2006 and 2007, the researchers identified the 400 most commonly consumed foods. They then used a database to find out how much greenhouse gas was emitted to produce each one, measured as the grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per 100 grams of food. All aspects of a food’s lifecycle were taken into account, including how it was cooked, Darmon said.
“The only step that wasn’t taken into account was the transport from the supermarket to the home,” she added. Overall, about 1,600 grams of carbon dioxide were emitted for every 100 grams of meat produced. That’s more than 15 times the amount of greenhouse gas emitted during the production of fruits, vegetables and starches and about 2.5 times as much greenhouse gas as that from fish, pork, poultry and eggs. That gap narrowed, however, when the researchers looked at how many grams of carbon dioxide were emitted per 100 kilocalories (kcal) — a measure of energy in food.
The most greenhouse gas — 857 grams — was still emitted to produce 100 kcal of meat, but only about three times the emissions from a comparable amount of energy from fruit and vegetables.

Greens also ended up emitting more gas for the calories than starches, sweets, salty snacks, dairy and fats. It was also about as much gas as poultry and eggs.
When Darmon and her colleagues looked at what people actually ate to get a certain amount of energy from food every day, they found that the “highest-quality” diets in health terms — those high in fruit, vegetables and fish — were linked to about as much, if not more, greenhouse gas emissions as low-quality diets that were high in sweets and salts.
Overall, the documented diets were responsible for around 5,000 grams of greenhouse gas emissions per day per person.
Darmon said that’s because people who eat a plant-based diet need to eat more produce to get the amount of energy they’d have in a piece of meat.
Roni Neff, the director of research and policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, cautioned against taking the findings too literally. For example, according to the study’s calculations, people would need to eat about four kgs of fruit and vegetables to make up for a smaller serving of meat.
“I think they’re raising a lot of important questions that need further investigation,” she said.


What We Are Buying Today: BEES

What We Are Buying Today: BEES
Photo/Supplied
Updated 20 February 2021

What We Are Buying Today: BEES

What We Are Buying Today: BEES
  • BEES offers a variety of raw honey products and types, including white clover, twohig, konak and manuka, in small and large jars

BEES is a Saudi brand that supports the production of local and imported honey, and aims to spread awareness about bees and healthy food.
The company works with beekeepers and food producers from around the world to bring the finest products to the Saudi market.
BEES offers a variety of raw honey products and types, including white clover, twohig, konak and manuka, in small and large jars.
Manuka honey is said to possess natural medicinal and antibacterial powers, and is ranked according to a “unique manuka factor,” which indicates its healing properties.
The company’s portable mini honey packets allow honey to be taken anywhere. The 5 gm packets are available in all honey types, and will help you start your day with a healthy dose of sweetness in your tea or hot drink.
For more information visit Instagram @bees.sa or check linktr.ee/BEES.SA


Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects

Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects
A reduction of carbohydrate intake and increase in fats place the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2021

Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects

Experts warn of ‘dangerous’ keto diet side effects
  • “The keto diet can also affect your performance during certain exercises, and you won’t be able to work out as intensely or as often as before”

JEDDAH: The ketogenic diet has become one of the fastest-growing dietary trends, but experts have warned that many of its advocates are unaware of the dangerous side effects the diet can cause.

According to Healthline.com, the ketogenic diet, commonly known as keto, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that shares similarities with low carb and Atkins diets. A reduction of carbohydrate intake and increase in fats place the body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
However, the diet has led to severe side effects for some people.
“The keto diet should only be done under clinical supervision, and only for brief periods of time,” Dr. Ruwaida Idrees, a nutritionist, CEO and owner of Hayati Ghethaei, a catering company, told Arab News.
She added that the keto diet should only be considered in “extreme cases,” because it can do “more harm than good.”
Idrees said: “It can cause damage to the heart, since the heart is also a muscle.”
Consulting a doctor, completing necessary tests and discussing goals with a clinical dietitian should all be considered before starting a keto diet, she added.
Idrees said there are many misconceptions surrounding the keto diet and exercise, adding that exercise can still reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and other health conditions.
People need to be careful about the types of exercises they practice, she said. “The keto diet can also affect your performance during certain exercises, and you won’t be able to work out as intensely or as often as before.”
Fouz Ghannamil, a fitness trainer, told Arab News that the diet appeared to work for many people. “It is good, but my own opinion is that the human body needs more nutrition than just fat and a really small dose of carbohydrates.”
She added: “It has a high portion of proteins which is good, but the fat sources, no matter how good they are, are a bit too much. It is better in my opinion that the portion of fat and carbs is balanced.”
Ghannamil suggested a better alternative for people looking to shed pounds this year — sticking to a diet of “80 percent healthy food and 20 percent junk food.
“Because naturally, your mind will desire junk food that is not natural, however, it has loads of fat in and your body can use it as an energy source.”
She warned people considering a new diet to stick to a balanced nutrition pyramid that contains everything they need: Protein, carbohydrates and fat.
She added that people should avoid diets based solely on numbers rather than personal experience.
Idrees, on the other hand, proposed the Mediterranean diet as a simpler alternative to the keto diet, saying that it has a good balance of seafood and other sources of proteins, moderate portions of dairy and a limited intake of red meat.


What We Are Eating Today: Maui

What We Are Eating Today: Maui
Photo/Supplied
Updated 19 February 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Maui

What We Are Eating Today: Maui
  • Customers can also create their own poke bowls using their favorite ingredients, marinades, toppings, and sauces

A Hawaiian-concept restaurant is bringing the taste of the tropics to Saudi Arabia.
Based in Jeddah, Maui offers an array of classic dishes — with a Japanese and Mexican twist — from the Pacific US state including poke bowls, soups, salads, and juices.
The eatery, that accepts online orders only, has a mouthwatering menu consisting of sushi burritos or sushi wrap sandwiches using seaweed nori sheet instead of flatbread. They are available with five different fillings including fresh raw salmon or tuna, tempura shrimp or chicken, and vegan and vegetarian choices.
Customers can also create their own poke bowls using their favorite ingredients, marinades, toppings, and sauces.
Maui is available on delivery platforms @lugmety, @thechefz_, and @careemksa.


Startup of the Week: A Jeddah-based store offering eco-friendly alternatives

Startup of the Week: A Jeddah-based store  offering eco-friendly alternatives
Photo/Supplied
Updated 16 February 2021

Startup of the Week: A Jeddah-based store offering eco-friendly alternatives

Startup of the Week: A Jeddah-based store  offering eco-friendly alternatives
  • The startup is planning to add wooden utensils, bamboo straws and key charms made from coconut shells to its line of products

C.B. Jeddah is a store where you can find high-quality, handmade coconut and wooden bowls, which are ideal for all kinds of food, from ice cream to soups, salads and even hot curry. The Jeddah-based store ships orders all over the Kingdom.
Shaima Agil, a public administration student, inaugurated the store last month.
The idea came to her when she decided to adopt a more health-conscious lifestyle and went online to look for recipes. “I saw a picture of a smoothie in a coconut bowl, and I was fascinated by how beautiful it was! It was hard to get one here in Saudi Arabia, though, so I thought: Why don’t I buy these bowls myself and try to sell them here? I’ve been always interested in natural, environment-friendly products, so I bought many bowls and created an Instagram account to display them.”
The startup is planning to add wooden utensils, bamboo straws and key charms made from coconut shells to its line of products.
C.B. Jeddah imports its bowls from Indonesia, where coconut palms grow in abundance and where talented local artisans make the bowls by hand.
Agil explained that artisans first split the coconuts in half, drain them of water, carve out the flesh, then craft and polish them gently until they shine.
“Nature gives us everything we need, so let’s be nice and not harm it with industrial waste,” she said.
Environmental sustainability was at the heart of her startup.
“The huge amounts of coconuts used by companies to produce their different products result in much waste. Some countries burn them, which increases carbon and other harmful emissions. That is why reclaiming them and recycling them helps our planet.”
Customers can text C.B. Jeddah via direct messages on their Instagram account @c.b.jeddah.
“Our products are suitable for those who love nature, decorating and food photography. They also make great gifts,” said the founder.


Saudi chef shares his love for gastronomy — and a Valentine’s Day recipe for two

 Saudi chef shares his love for gastronomy — and a Valentine’s Day recipe for two
Saudi chef Faisal Al-Deleigan. (Supplied)
Updated 13 February 2021

Saudi chef shares his love for gastronomy — and a Valentine’s Day recipe for two

 Saudi chef shares his love for gastronomy — and a Valentine’s Day recipe for two

DUBAI: When the Saudi chef Faisal Al-Deleigan was younger, his mother hoped he would pursue a career in either medicine or engineering. “My mom is so strict,” he told Arab News with a chuckle, “nobody was allowed to enter the kitchen because she’s so organized and she’s a good cook.”

However, things did not go according to his mother’s plan — he worked in the banking sector for years until he had a rather extreme change of heart.

Al-Deleigan, who is based in Bahrain, took cooking classes at professional schools in Italy and the UK and eventually quit the corporate world for good. However, he notes that his former banking experience came in handy when setting up his namesake culinary consultancy in 2016. “I still love numbers and I believe they helped me a lot in the way of thinking and business,” he said.

Through his consultancy services, Al-Deleigan offers to train kitchen staff, design kitchen layouts and, most importantly, engineer menus, experimenting with dishes that fuse multicultural tastes and ingredients. The journey so far has been rewarding — “I reached what I wanted: To see my customers smile and that (appreciation) makes me feel very good. Everyone likes food and nowadays it’s part of entertainment,” he said.

This year marks the second occasion that Valentine’s Day is being openly celebrated in Saudi Arabia and despite restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Deleigan has been busy prepping recipes for couples to cook together from his new “Lockdown Menu,” which will be published in international magazines. On what people can expect, he explained: “I’m more into the healthy kind of cooking. Because of the lockdown and lack of exercise, our lifestyle is different now. So, we tried to make it lighter.”

Al-Deleigan hopes that through his unconventional story of breaking the norm, he can encourage people to follow their passion, whether it be performing in the field of art, music or gastronomy. “Everything is different,” he said, “we are a new generation with new hopes and dreams.”

If you haven’t sorted out your Valentine’s Day plans, scroll down for an exclusive healthy and simple recipe for two by Chef Faisal that you can whip up with your loved one today. Bon appétit!

Mango Spinach Salad

(Supplied)

Prep: 10 minutes

Total: 20 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

Lolo roso 140gm

Baby Roca 40gm

Baby Spinach 40gm

Fresh Mango 60gm

Feta cheese 40gm

Sunflower seed 15gm

Grilled chicken 200gm

Extra virgin olive oil 50gm

U.S. mustard 20gm

Lemon juice 15gm

Sea salt 0.3gm

Black pepper powder 0.3gm

Honey 15gm

Garlic powder 0.3gm

Method

Put all the green leaves in a bowl and mix them with honey mustard dressing.

On the plate, drop the salad leaves and on the top, spread the grilled chicken.

Garnish with feta cheese and fresh mango (cut into dice shape) and sunflower seeds.

Prepare the honey mustard dressing. Blend everything for one minute: olive oil, U.S. mustard, honey, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder.