Main image: taken at Navdanya, Vandana Shiva’s seed farm. Credit Katie Hill
Experts gathering for a ground-breaking international conference on food systems are today – on World Pulses Day (10 Feb) – encouraging people to adopt diets packed with pulses to benefit the health of people, animals and our planet – and save money.
As recession hits many parts of the world and the cost of living and food skyrocket, shoppers are tightening their purse strings.
Research undertaken by Aarhus University in Denmark in December found that Europeans were changing their eating habits in response to economic pressures, with nearly 40% saying they are buying less red meat and a third reducing their fish and poultry purchases.
Why to shift diets
Scientists and experts speaking at the Extinction or Regeneration conference on food systems in London this May are advising that pulses are not only highly nutritious and cheap, they are also a sustainable and healthy source of protein.
Shifting diets away from reliance on meat, fish and dairy and towards proteins like lentils, chickpeas and beans would have benefits for health, animals and our planet.
‘A common myth we hear perpetuated is that we need to continue intensive animal agriculture in order to feed the world. However, we already produce enough food to feed almost twice the current world population but much of it is wasted.
‘The biggest cause of food waste on the planet is feeding human edible grains to factory farmed animals. It’s this we need to stop. The Extinction or Regeneration conference will explore solutions including shifting to regenerative food systems and more plant-based diets, including pulses.’
Global CEO of Compassion in World Farming, the conference organisers
Unsung heroes of kitchens
World Pulses Day is a global event launched by the United Nations five years ago to raise awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses – also known as ‘legumes’ – as part of sustainable food production with the aim of enhancing food security and nutrition.
Conference partner, Eating Better, recently launched its ‘Anything is Pulse-able’ campaign to raise awareness of the health, cost-saving and environmental benefits of pulses.
The campaign highlights how lentils, peas and beans are the unsung heroes of kitchens around the world. Used across many cultures, they’re nutritional and culinary powerhouses. Not only are they a versatile kitchen staple, they are also nutrient rich and affordable.