The Vegan Avocado

A Ridiculous Invention

June 26, 2023

One of the false claims that vegans like to make is that their diet is better for the environment than one which allows ranchers to have their cattle graze the natural plants on their property mimicking the behavior of the herds of animals native to those areas which have retreated far from human civilization. Probably one of the most viral instances of someone making an argument against this claim happened on Piers Morgan’s show where he (of course being in Brittan) was arguing with a vegan activist and pointed out the fact that vegans love their avocados which are grown in places like Mexico and California many thousands of miles from their country and the carbon footprint of transporting these avocados is far from negligible. Since then it appears that some British lady has put some serious thought into that argument and has developed something that I have decided to call the vegan avocado.

The eocovado is an imitation avocado made from mung beans, hazelnuts, apple juice, and rapeseed oil (commonly known ad canola oil). The theory behind it is that it uses products commonly grown in England so that it can be completely grown, processed, and distributed there so British vegans don’t have to live with the guilt of the carbon emissions associated with transporting fruit halfway across the world. The even more interesting thing about this theory is that the recipes for the ecovado are meant to be localized to different areas. So far there is only the English version but a Polish evocado would have ingredients commonly grown in Poland which would of course be different from the English evocado, the Mongolian evocado, and the Pennsylvanian evocado. The goal of the evocado is not to have a perfect tasting avocado replacement but to quote its creator, “Evocado is an imitation that tries to improve on reality, not merely reproduce it.”

Now the question to ask is if the ecovado is really an improvement on reality and when it comes to reducing carbon emissions the ecovado probably is an improvement, but when it comes to our food, just like everything else, carbon emissions are far from the only thing or most important thing that matters, even if we are only judging the environmental impact.

But first lets take a look at this from the health side of things. The most important thing to look at in any food is how healthy it is and there is no way that you can convince me that a combination of lectins, glorified sugar water, and Canada’s failed engine lubricant can have anywhere near the health benefit that a plain old avocado can. If anyone suggests otherwise you should feel offended because you’d have to be dumb to believe that nonsense, especially since avocados are one of the only sources of plant based “fats” that aren’t completely terrible for you. And I haven’t dug deep enough to find this but I’d be willing to bet that the rapeseed oil in ecovados is hydrogenated making it even worse for you than normal seed oils. Even if switching to evocados would magically cure global warming or whatever you shouldn’t do it because it is unhealthy. If you feel that avocados are so bad for the environment then simply abstain from eating them or any avocado-like thing, this is a much healthier and more meaningful sacrifice.

But of course the ecovado lady does try to that farming avocados is something that is uniquely bad for the environment because it contributes to deforestation. The deforestation argument is one that I have almost no sympathy for, well I guess that’s not quite the right way to put it. I don’t take the deforestation argument seriously because the people who typically make that argument don’t take it seriously because they are a bunch of plant racists.

The problem with deforestation is not just cutting down trees, it is the destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems. I’ve lived most of my life in the desert and I’ve grown to love the desert, a part of my job is to be an eyewitness to deforestation. Sure it is rare for me to see a tree get cut down but every day I see wild horses, coyotes, and rabbits looking sad as the land where they used to feed gets torn apart. There are plenty of other smaller critters like snakes, mice, and insects which are harder to see that feel the same, and there are herds of mountain goats and sheep that have already retreated far away. I once listened to a podcast where the guest was someone very concerned with the environment and he somewhat jokingly suggested that if we took the entire state of Utah (which is mostly desert) and covered it with solar panels we’d be able to power the entire world. He justified this by saying, “there isn’t much going on there,” which is simply not true, despite not having many trees in most areas Utah is a beautiful state and it would be a shame if it were lost to “green energy” production through deforestation.

All farming is a result of deforestation, sure it may not have been an actual forest that was cleared in most cases, there are lots of farms that lie in natural plains, swamps and deserts but there isn’t a single place on earth where God left a perfectly square piece of land with fertile soil, good irrigation and no wildlife ready for man to plant crops there. Every farm displaces natural plants and wildlife.

And of course not all farming is created equal, everyone should understand what modern farming looks like and should be aware of Monsanto’s line of Roundup Ready crops. And understand that when I am talking about farming I’m not just parroting stuff I’ve heard on the internet, this is stuff I have personal experience with.

The simplest way that I can describe modern farming is sometime in the early spring when things are growing the most quickly you take a piece of land and you kill everything on it using heavy machinery, plants, birds, rodents, everything, this is something I’ve done. You then spray that land with a bunch of strange chemicals to make sure all the stuff you just killed stays dead. You then plant a whole bunch of seeds for a genetically modified crop that is likely not native to the place you live. You’ll then spray some fertilizer on it but this, along with your watering, will cause undesired plants to grow up alongside your crops so you’ll periodically have to go through and kill all of those while this entire time you are maintaining fences and setting traps to keep the native wildlife out. Then at the end of the season you hope your harvest was worth all that effort.

Now if your happens to be roundup ready then you have the opportunity to spray even more chemicals on your field. In the 90s Monsanto came out with a line of genetically modified crops that were resistant to their popular herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as roundup. You could spray as much of this poison on these crops and they wouldn’t die while everything else around them would, as you could imagine this is incredibly destructive to the local environment. In the early spring you can tell which fields had roundup ready crops grown on them the year before and which ones didn’t, fields with normal crops will be full of life while fields that had roundup ready crops will have almost nothing growing, they feel alien, having more in common with Mars than Earth. Soybean and corn were the first crops that Monsanto was able to make roundup resistant, these are the most common crops in the United States and virtually all corn and soy grown in the developed world is roundup resistant meaning all of those fields are contaminated with those toxins (the effects of ingesting glyphosate, which we all do, is another topic you should look into, I have a draft of an article about that somewhere). Nowdays there are plenty more roundup ready crops that Monsanto sells including sugar beets, cotton, alfalfa, and evocado ingredient rapeseed. Sure an avocado orchard displaces some plants and wildlife and uses quite a bit of water but it doesn’t chemically scar the soil it is planted on like popular Monsanto crops do.

Now with all that being said the underlying goal that the evocado seeks to achieve is actually a good one, it just goes about it in the wrong way. We should be sourcing our food from places as close to us as we can and ideally growing as much of it as would be reasonable for us to do. If you can have chickens you should, their eggs will taste better and be healthier than anything you can buy in a store. If you live in an area where growing a garden isn’t too hard you should, everyone should understand that things like beekeeping or raising something like a pig or goat are realistic options in many situations. And where you can’t do these things you should try to buy from local farmers as much as possible, preferably ones that grow their crops in a manner that puts minimal impact on the environment. This is the way people lived for thousands of years and it is the way that we should try to return to living, this is far more virtuous than enriching some mega-corporation by buying some plant-based sludge as a replacement for meat or trying to reinvent the delicious avocado.