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A meat-free future

(article, Culinate staff)

We're all familiar with the main arguments in favor of eating less meat: it's better for your health, it's better for the environment, and of course it's better for the animals involved. But according to a new report from the Stockholm International Water Institute, in the future vegetarianism may not be an option; it may be the only way humans eat.

Why's that? As the activist website TakePart summed it up, meatlessness may be inevitable given the planet's growing population and dwindling water supplies:

bq. "The analysis showed that there will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected population in 2050 if we follow current trends," says the report. "There will, however, be just enough water, if the proportion of animal based foods is limited to 5 per cent of total calories."

bq. This isn’t just about a cow needing a cool sip of water. Irrigation for crops is responsible for 70 percent of the world’s water withdrawals. The reason animals are tied with water usage is because they’re eating concentrated crops.

Even if you're not ready to go cold turkey (and as TakePart noted, simply switching to grass-fed beef solves the massive water problem of conventional beef), you may still want to plan ahead. With that in mind, scope out Cooking Light magazine's recent roundup of the best vegetarian and vegan cookbooks of the past 25 years. On the list: Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen, Madhur Jaffrey's Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, and Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers From Deborah Madison's Kitchen.