National Nut Day is back for 2012 with another day celebrating all thing nuts.
Liberation Foods, makers of Harry’s Nuts, will again be running the day on Monday 22nd October, which is also the same day as that of the US National Nut Day. To celebrate this year, the focus is on how switching to nuts can help the environment.
Eating nuts as an alternative to meat and highly processed vegetable foods helps the environment through less land resources and helping the greenhouse gases. However, more importantly, nuts and nutty legumes, such as Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts and walnuts, are a good nutritional food and alternative to meat.
Dr Donal Murphy-Bokern,who is an independent agri-environmental scientist and author of several studies on food system impacts, has said
One of the keys to sustaining our planet is for those of us in the richer half of the world to switch some meat consumption to relatively unprocessed plant-based products such as nuts. For every calorie consumed, the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of the meat and dairy component of our diets is nearly four times that of plant-based components. Cattle and sheep release large quantities of methane gas as they digest their feed. And livestock generally require 4 – 8 kg plant protein in their feed for every kilogram of protein produced. The overall result is that much more resources are used in meat-based diets, and very significant pollution problems are caused to our air and water by livestock farms.
Also, when considering the swap, meat and nuts both have the savoury taste that the Japanese describe as umami, the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Dr Murphy-Bokern commented:
Just as we seek some sweetness in diets, it is reasonable to speculate that people naturally migrate from one ‘umami’ taste to another, so when cutting down on meat they are likely to transfer to nuts or another umami food. Using plant-based ingredients high in umami is a feature of traditional cuisines which are low in meat. Reducing meat consumption by half in the average ‘western’ diet is not difficult – and nuts are a high protein and environmentally friendly option.
It is not just about eating nuts as a snack and ingredient for cooking, it is also about their positive impacts on the environment and you, which include:
- Highly nutritious – a source of vital fatty acids, omega fats, protein and many vitamins and minerals.
- Good for the environment – switching our main source of protein from meat to nuts whenever we can helps to reduce carbon emissions. In addition the trade in Brazil nuts helps to preserve the Amazon rainforest.
- Good for the soil – legumes such as peanuts bring vital nitrogen to replenish the soil as they grow.
- Good for our health – the UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer says 18,000 premature deaths from heart disease would be avoided every year if we cut our meat consumption by half. Nuts are a good value form of protein which can help us do this.
Harry’s Nuts are also of course Fairtrade, which helps farmers and gatherers to get a guaranteed fair deal.
National Nut Day is supported by The Vegetarian Society, The Vegan Society, Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming and more, as well as chef, broadcaster and food writer Allegra McEvedy, foodie and home expert Aggie MacKenzie and Harry.