Guest article looking at Soya and alternatives. By Michelle D’Arcy Jewell from The Vegan Hub, Shrewsbury:
Vegans are often told that the are a big contributor to environmental problems because of the amount of soya that they eat.
Firstly there is no denying that growing soya is harming the environment. Masses of rainforests have been cut down to make way for plantations. But over 80% of this is used for animal feed and only 6% for human consumption. So vegans can’t be blamed for the concerns about the increasing number of soya crops.
Reducing the need for soya
Part of the problem is that there is no easy way to increase the yield so the only way to produce more is to use more land. However, if soya is consumed directly by people it is a lot more land efficient as you don’t need to feed it to animals first.
If someone eats the same amount of beef they would use 32 times the amount of land than if they get it from soya. In addition if you choose organically produced, then no fertilisers or pesticides are used, reducing the environmental damage caused. Organic Brands include Taifun and Tofoo.
Protein can be sourced locally
For protein intake soya is the best source giving over 10 grams of protein per 100 calories, but there are more environmentally friendly options that you might want to choose. Quinoa gives nearly 4 grams and is grown in Shropshire and peas give over 6 grams. Wholewheat bread gives 5 grams and sunflower seeds 3 grams. You can also get protein from oats, green vegetables and potatoes. So even if you wish to avoid soya altogether there is no reason why you should have a lack of protein.
Michelle D’Arcy Jewell – The Vegan Hub, Parade Shops, Shrewsbury