Feed the little ones PB&J and save the planet
Something like that, at least.
When I first heard about the PB&J Campaign, I nearly dismissed the idea out of hand, because the campaign’s goal appears to be to make vegetarians out of us all.
We are avowed carnivores in our house, and I have happily eaten veal and lamb. (Look, it’s hard for me not to inject a Homer Simpson drooling noise here, so let’s just leave it at that.)
Even so, it’s hard for me to argue that perhaps, as a society, we should eat less meat.
There. I said it.
This is the crux of the campaign:
Everything we eat comes from plants, whether we eat the plants directly or through an animal intermediary. The basic problem is that animals are inefficient at converting plants into meat, milk, and eggs. Relatively little of what they eat ends up in what you eat because animals use most of their food to keep them alive â€“ to fuel their muscles so they can stand up and walk around, to keep their hearts beating, to keep their brains working.
That cow, pig, or chicken has to eat a lot more protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients than it yields in meat, eggs, or milk. The result is that it takes several pounds of corn and soy to produce one pound of beef, or one pound of eggs, one pound of milk, etc. This holds true even if weâ€™re measuring calories or protein; it takes several times the calories or protein in livestock feed to produce the calories or protein we get from the meat, eggs, or milk.
That made me think.
For every pound of beef, eggs or milk, we’re using several pounds of food that could be eaten by others elsewhere around the world.
And peanut butter and jelly’s sure pretty nutritious.
I’m talking about real peanut butter — not Jif or Skippy, with gobs of high fructose corn syrup or piles of sugar. I buy the Costco brand, which has nothing but peanuts and salt and only requires some mixing the first time you open the jar (not every time).
And if you’re allergic to peanuts, there’s almond butter, soy butter and lots of other kinds of nut or other replacement butters you can try. My dad became allergic to peanuts late in life and replaced peanut butter with almond butter and is perfectly content (and my dad is the ultimate in picky eaters).
Every time you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you shrink your carbon footprint. Look, I can’t vouch for the stats cited by the PB&J project, but it seems to make some sense that it would take less energy to raise peanut and jelly plants (haha, just a little mommy food humor there. Everyone knows that jelly doesn’t grow on trees, it grows on supermarket shelves!) than to raise, say, cattle.
I’ve always been a big PB&J fan, and I also love to eat peanut butter on celery as lunch or a snack, sometimes, on weekends. Rafael loves it, too, and whenever I have it, he pulls up a chair next to mommy, crunches away on those green stalks, asking for more peanut butter.
Look, I’m never going to be a vegetarian and I highly doubt my children are, either.
But it doesn’t hurt to have a PB&J every now and again.