The Sci-Fi Food of the Future is… Organic Lentils?

The Sci-Fi Food of the Future is . . . Organic Lentils?

In the future, everyone will be eating organic lentils.

Who doesn’t love a good sci-fi story where in the future we’re all wearing shiny suits, sitting on stylish (but understated) ergonomic furniture in our solar-powered spaceships while sipping our daily food juice before running off to visit another gorgeous planet? It’s good story stuff, but probably not all that accurate. At least, not the food part.

While scientists are still fiddling about with meal replacement products and pills that can reduce our dietary need for comprehensive meals, there’s still nothing healthier for us than eating good, clean food, and perhaps fewer things more satisfying than sharing a meal with friends and loved ones.

But our food system is broken. We’re growing food to feed massive animals who—after an unpleasant, short life—are carved up for their parts that we know lead to heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and strokes, perhaps even cancer. To some, it may still make for good eats, but it’s hardly sustainable. In fact, it’s not at all.

Of the major crops we grow now that don’t go to feeding animals, much of it goes to fuel, and a lot of it goes into processing—refined into isolates and syrups that get poured into processed foods that aren’t doing our health any good.

Enter organic lentils.

Yes. Lentils.

The drought tolerant nitrogen-fixing lentil is also a very inexpensive, delicious and highly nutritious food. Lentils don’t require irrigation and they work with the soil bacteria to create healthier soil. Lentils are a good protein source, they’re rich in dietary fiber, folate, B1 and amino acids.

This makes organically grown lentils not only an affordable and easy-to-grow crop for the planet’s rapidly expanding population to consume, but it makes it an important crop in slowing down climate change.

Where raising grains for livestock and the livestock animals themselves is harming the planet with herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and the methane produced by the animals, lentils and other legumes do the opposite. As nitrogen fixers, organic lentils help to create healthier soil, and healthy soil can keep carbon out of the atmosphere where it traps heat accelerating global warming.

According to the Environmental Working Group, beef contributes the second-highest amount of emissions of CO2e per kilo consumed (just after lamb), which is more than 13 times that of lentils. And nutritionally speaking, lentils contain more iron, potassium and calcium than beef, in addition to the protein and fiber.

Our space-age future still awaits us, but it looks like if we’re going to make it past the imminent threats of climate change, we will be lentil-powered.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Lentils image via Shutterstock