Carribbean Rce and Beans - Detail - ©

Eat More Beans To Lower Greenhouse Gasses

We all know that some people have – let’s call it an emissions issue – when they eat beans. But there’s another side to that story. Researchers say they’ve proven that growing Beans produces much less greenhouse gas (GHG) than growing Beef. Massive cuts in GHGs are possible…

Carribbean Rice and Beans - © africanbites.comCaribbean Rice and Beans – with Garlic, Tomatoes, Scotch Bonnet Peppers,
Onions and Creole Seasoning. Who needs Meat?

Yes… If we only ate Beans as a primary protein source rather than Beef (and other meats), we could avoid as much as 75 per cent of current agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.So say a consortium of scientists from a number of U.S. universities in a new paper.

The team, headed by Loma Linda University (LLU) researcher Dr. Helen Harwatt, suggests that one simple change in American eating habits would have a large impact on the environment: if Americans would eat Beans instead of Beef, the United States would immediately meet approximately 50 to 75 percent of its GHG reduction targets for the year 2020.

“Given the scale of greenhouse gas reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, are we prepared to eat Beef analogs that look and taste like Beef, but have a much lower climate impact?” she asks. “It looks like we’ll need to do this. The scale of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed doesn’t allow us the luxury of ‘business as usual’ eating patterns.”

Harwatt notes that one in very three Americans is currently buying some sort of Meat substitute on a regular basis, be it Beans or Meat ‘analogues’ – veggie protein versions of familiar Meat products such as Burgers, processed Meats and Ground Meat. And that’s a good start. But there’s still a long way to go before he U.S. matches Asian cultures, which regularly eat Beans and Bean products (Soy and Tofu, anyone?), often to the exclusion of Meat but usually in company with much smaller amounts of Meat than American diners are used to.

If you’re going to try going Meatless, remember:  Beans alone don’t provide a complete protein like Meat does. You need to eat your Beans with a Grain to make up the slack. Rice and Beans three or four times a week – with a little Meat and lots of veggies – would go a long way to addressing the greenhouse gas problem…

~ Maggie J.