Let’s Start with Breakfast

Breakfast of oatmeal, granola, bananas and applesauce

Breakfast of champions – oatmeal, granola, bananas and applesauce.

My new low-carbon self-assessment microscope swings its lens  toward … breakfast!

This is what I have most mornings: oatmeal, applesauce, homemade granola (either mine or from Farm Kitchen in Poulsbo, which is sold locally at Rollingbay Cafe), and bananas. There is probably somewhere to cut some carbon corners, but first a note on why this breakfast.

Last year I found out that I was allergic to eggs, which I used to eat just about every day, dairy and anything with gluten. So, I didn’t arrive at this breakfast combo on a whim and I’ll be hard-pressed to change it. On a positive note, Chris Goodall’s book How to Live a Low-Carbon Life (and remember most reports say we should get down to 2 tonnes or less a year – more on that in a later post) said that “Dairy cows produce over twice as much methane as beef* cattle. Becoming a vegan would very definitely help [reduce  carbon emissions].” Yay for me and my annoying food allergies.

Now, let’s look at each element and see how I’m doing:

  • Oatmeal. I’ve been eating McCann’s Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal. It’s distributed from Wisconsin, not as far away as Ireland, but I found a California replacement (tad less shipping), Open Nature‘s Steel Cut Oats, and they cost $3 less!  About $78/year in savings. Harder to calculate the carbon savings. I wish food had carbon footprint labeling.
  • Applesauce. From WA – so it stays, although it would probably be better if I made applesauce from my own apples, but seriously, who has time to spend all day food prepping?! Ultimately, that’s what I think we’re up against – a whole lifestyle change if we’re going to really reduce carbon emissions.
  • Bananas. From Guatemala – let’s see what Chris Goodall has to say about bananas. “Anything quickly perishable from outside [the US] brought to your supermarket probably came by air. The key exceptions are likely to be long-lived fruit such as bananas, which are sent by ship [lower emissions than air].” Woohoo! Bananas get to stay.
  • Granola. This is one of the reasons people pretty much want to pass out when trying to calculate the carbon footprint of various foods, each element has to be considered. In this case: oats, cranberries, ginger, apricots, etc. I know that most of those things aren’t grown locally. But, at this point, I’m not willing to give granola up.

As far as breakfast goes, I’m just going to take solace in the fact I don’t drink milk or eat dairy of any kind and not change this meal other than buying my oatmeal from a closer distributor.

* Have to say there are a lot of conflicting reports on eating beef. The movie Carbon Nation recommends eating less (no) meat and associates it with deforestation of rain forests, which I think is a stretch. Deforestation does further warm the earth and there is some due to cattle ranching but there is already a lot of cattle ranching/feed lots that don’t require cutting down rain forests. Two separate topics in my mind: methane produced by beef and reduction of carbon/heat-absorbing rain forests.


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