“Ditch red meat and dairy, and don’t bother with local food”: The problem with universal dietary advice aiming to save the planet (and your health)
In recent years there have been increasing calls for “global dietary transition” in order to save the planet and improve human health. One troubling development associated with this is the attempt to delineate in universal terms what constitutes a sustainable and healthy diet. This perspective takes issue with this development, and specifically refutes one increasingly popular dietary narrative which calls for people to avoid red meat and dairy, and which portrays the local food movement as a romantic distraction. In contrast, the paper provides evidence of a range of sustainability and health benefits associated with both local food systems and the agri-food system’s inclusion of ruminants (the suborder of mammals from which humans mostly derive red meat and dairy). Finally, the perspective calls for a pluralist and multi-scalar approach to the multifaceted challenges associated with food production.
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