Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Why Philpott’s vendetta against almonds is cracked

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Image Breakable Almond by philografy on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Boy, does someone over at Mother Jones have a hate on for almonds. In case you haven’t seen it, Tom Philpott’s latest “California goes nuts: It takes a gallon of water to produce one almond. And that’s not the most insane fact about the hedge-fund-fueled race to plant thirsty trees in the middle of a catastrophic drought” is one in a series of pieces attacking almonds and those who love them. You may recall his article telling ignorant hipsters to lay-off the almond milk. Perhaps he’s found something that “works” and decided to stick with it? As long as we keep reading his articles about almonds, and almond products, he’ll keep writing them.

You know, I get his point, California is in the middle of a massive drought. Should we really be driving consumption of a crop that relies on huge quantities of water to survive? The thing is, nearly all of the food we eat relies on huge quantities of water. Philpott states that one little almond requires a gallon of water. One apple needs 1.75 gallons, one pound of chicken, 500 gallons of water, one hamburger, 633 gallons, one glass of milk 54 gallons. And it’s not just the food we eat, it’s everything. A ton of steel used to make one car requires a whopping 32, 000 gallons of water (1)!!! We should probably all be thinking more about the environmental impact of everything we purchase.

But is it really the almond’s fault that we’re in this mess? Is it your fault for choosing almond butter over peanut butter for your morning toast? The almond is just a scapegoat. After all, as Philpott states himself, the largest importer of all of these California almonds is China. I don’t have any data on Canadian consumption of California almonds but I doubt that you switching from almonds to walnuts is going to have much of an impact on almond production and the drought in California. Instead of making people feel guilty for enjoying some chocolate covered almonds it would be nice if journalists were using their platforms to educate people about the problems with our current food system and to encourage them to lobby the government to stop creating a system whereby large-scale industrial crops are the most profitable. Start encouraging the government to take immediate action to curb climate change and protect the environment so that we’ll all be able to enjoy almonds into our old age.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

One thought on “Why Philpott’s vendetta against almonds is cracked

  1. Wow, if he is concerned about the water usage then why not look for a solution? Plants like humans need water even the air fern depends on water in the air. One of my favorite quotes (author unknown) is “Don’t find fault, find a remedy!”

    Like

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