Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


1 Comment

Why Philpott’s vendetta against almonds is cracked

5235758112_e30b80da45_z

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.


3 Comments

Look at this almond milk drinking hipster

imgres

I feel like the anti-almond milk article Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters that was published in Mother Jones and making the rounds on social media last week was intentionally crafted to get a rise out of people. If the author, Tom Philpott, really wanted to educate people about the downside to almond milk I don’t think he would have led with a title like that (or maybe he had nothing to do with the title and Mother Jones is just trying to rustle some hipster jimmies). Regardless, I’m sure some jimmies were rustled. I’ll take the bait.

I’m far from a hipster myself, but I still feel like I have to defend the consumption of almond milk, to a degree. I think that Philpott raises some very valid and important points. Almond milk is not as nutritious as cow’s milk, or even soy milk. It’s very low in protein. Our sudden love for almonds is also an environmental concern. I’ve heard that bees are trucked from all over the States for the almond pollination in Cali every year. Consuming almonds as milk is also certainly not the most nutritious way in which to consume them. But…

Philpott neglects to address those who cannot consume cow’s milk. He touches on lactose intolerance. However, not everyone who consumes almond milk is a lactose-intolerant hipster. There are a number of reasons that people do not consume cow’s milk: milk allergy, veganism, poverty (milk is expensive!), religion, personal preference. These people deserve an alternative to cow’s milk. Almond, soy, rice, hemp, coconut, flax, and quinoa milks all provide reasonable alternatives for cooking, cereal, and drinking. It’s not like cow’s don’t have a huge environmental footprint themselves. I think the key here, as with everything, is to consume a variety of foods.