Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, eats some pretty strange dishes. Now, he wants you to do the same in the name of saving the world:
You can change the world one plate at a time. If we can take better advantage of the global pantry and eat from a wider variety of choices we would do more to combat food poverty, our damaged food production system, obesity and other systemic health and wellness issues than any one single act I can imagine. Here are some suggestions, but be creative. It works.
Here are the five foods he suggests we all start stuffing our faces with:
1) Donkey — or really any hoofed protein, like venison, elk, kudu, and buffalo. These animals boast lean meats and could help get us off feedlot beef and factory farmed pork.
2) Little fish like mackerel and sardines. Teeny fishies — with their heads on, Zimmern notes — boast high levels of healthful omega-3 fatty acids, lack the toxins present in bigger species, and reproduce quickly. Plus, we’re literally eating bigger species like bluefin tuna and salmon to death, so those fisheries need a break so populations can rebound.
3) Your own vegetables — because it doesn’t get more local than your own backyard.
4) Game birds like guinea hen, squab, pheasant, goose, turkey, and duck. Factory farmed chickens are some of the most mistreated, disease-filled animals on the market — moving away from them is good for animal welfare and our own health.
5) Offal. Don’t know what that is? Lucky you! But now we’re gonna tell you: Think all the leftover animal bits no one would typically eat, like blood, snouts, spleens, hearts, testicles, and ears (and liver, which is fairly normal). We currently discard 25-40 percent of an animal, and that’s just plain wasteful, Zimmern says. So eat your cow noses, or no dessert.
Many of these suggestions make a lot of sense, especially growing your own veggies and switching to more sustainable fish species. But while Zimmern’s suggestions are well-intentioned, I’m not sure most Americans will embrace ordering up a pig scrotum and donkey sandwich at the deli anytime soon.
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