Alternative proteins: “Let food be thy medicine!"

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Cruelty-free delicious fried basmati rice bearing sauteed cremini mushrooms, kidney beans, green peas, bell peppers, sweet corn, carrots, onions, and scallions. Made with the love of animals and sustaining our environment in mind, Ilunamien Aisedion.

Ilunamien Aisedion is the Executive Director of One Health and Development Initiative (OHDI) based in Nigeria. Ilunamien is a participant of the 2024 food systems e-course. His blog is about the consumption of animal proteins such as meat and dairy. He emphasises the urgency to mind what we eat, and accept the better options of plant proteins that would serve not only our health but also the ecosystem we live in.

In today's world, we are increasingly conscious of our choices' impact on the planet and its inhabitants. From the food we consume to the way it's produced, every decision matters. Can you believe that what we eat, and drink, can make such a huge difference to the world? It's true!

I recently finished the e-course on food systems, which was very interesting and insightful! I learned a lot about the drivers of sustainable food systems and the importance of providing food security and quality nutrition for everyone, now and in the future. I was equally excited that Alternative Proteins were part of the conversation. I found this fascinating because the topic aligns very well with my interests and passions.

Honestly, it's high time we recognize the urgency of accepting alternative protein sources, which include plant-based protein options. Alternative proteins are crucial in creating sustainable food systems. The current overreliance on animal-based proteins is negatively impacting human and animal health, contributing to animal cruelty practices, and wreaking havoc on our environmental sustainability. Let's delve into the reasons why this is a pressing concern.

I’m curious: what do you think about the erratic extreme weather and climate issues we've been having lately? Studies show that human actions are to blame for these environmental issues and more. Relying on animals for protein harms the climate because of the greenhouse gases and the deforestation resulting from animal farming. Also, with more people worldwide (and the population will continue to grow) we need a more efficient way to produce proteins. We all should start looking deeper into alternative options for protein. For instance, if we focus on climate-smart and locally grown plant-based food that's also affordable, we can make sure that everyone has access to good, nutritious food, and our ecosystems are sustained for now and the future.

Furthermore, by cutting back on animal-based proteins, we're also doing our health a solid favour! Due to their healthful properties, alternative proteins can help lower the risk of health issues associated with animal sourced food. It's like they say, "Let food be thy medicine!"

Just so you know, in 2023, our organisation, One Health and Development Initiative, launched an Alternative Proteins Africa project. Our aim is to bridge the information gap and promote advocacy for alternative proteins in Africa. We've been actively raising awareness through various platforms and had the privilege to present at the Africa Proteins Summit 2023, held in Kenya. Our current focus is organising alternative proteins symposiums and raising communities in universities in Nigeria with the support of Thrive Philanthropy. I invite you to learn more about this initiative and alternative proteins. Together, we can make a sustainable difference in our food systems by eating right and promoting it.


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Ilunamien Aisedion

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