Disruptive Eating empowers each of us to make a contribution in this big fight against the global warming through the mundane act of eating
Disruptive Eating addresses 2 glaring issues of our generation ~ the climate change and the social inequality by targeting the health inequality. We practice and promote ‘disruptive eating’ at Nirmal Cafe serving Indian food in Ypsilanti, Michigan, US. The 'disruptive eating' has 4 stages. The first stage is 'Know Your BMI' (Body Mass Index). Being overweight is precursor to all types of health related issues. A country like US with 74% overweight prevalence needs high visibility of BMI. The second stage carries '2 messages. First, you don't have to eat meat for protein. Indian cuisine has plenty of veg and vegan options. The Curry based food makes the switch-over to the veggie eating easier. The ample proof is India's 42% population being vegetarian. The meat consumption alone accounts for 21% of the greenhouse gases. Second, eat goat meat if you are non-vegetarian. Goat meat is healthier than Chicken and is more sustainable than beef and pork. Third stage has 3 parts –First, how to make the veggie eating affordable, second promote ‘Home cooking’ and third how to avoid ‘food wastage.’ At Nirmal, we introduced ‘Food Box’ in $5 with 5 items, a healthy alternative to the burgers, tacos and pizzas. We stopped doing the ‘buffet’ on 2 counts – it was a bit pricey, people used to overeat or waste lot of food on their plate. We also used to throw the left-over foods. The Food wastage in the US alone is $165 Billion. We already promote the ‘Home cooking’ through the social media. This would make the Indian food much cheaper for the low income households. At the final stage, our patrons get a sense of gratification being part of the ‘disruptive eating.’ Also the use of ‘bio-degradable’ products at Nirmal makes anyone visiting us aware of this climate change issue. Also at Nirmal they get opportunity to get exposure to 2 pillars of the Indian culture – Yoga and Gita, a book. We believe the physical health is interdependent on the mental and the spiritual health.
What actions do you propose?
1. We plan to expand the Nirmal franchise all over the US with 1000+ locations in the next 5-10 years. With our direct messaging, our message is very effective. For example 'Know your BMI' is reflected through our logo, phone no, website or the poster at the entrance of Nirmal. Anyone touching Nirmal in any way can't miss BMI thing.
2. We launched 'disruptive eating' campaign on 10th May, 2015, the Mother's Day this year through the social media. The mothers' need to play a big role in our campaign as it involves the family. On Twitter @NirmalCurry, we may have reached 1 million people through the followers of our followers. We want to expand this campaign through Facebook and Instagram as well.
3. Our idea is to raise awareness about the climate change issues. Now it seems that only the government is fighting the global warming. We want people to realize that each of us can contribute in this fight against the global warming. Assume if 100 millions people in the US can skip meat once a week, it would save 3.6 Billion pound of meat a year. The meat consumption accounts for 21% of the greenhouse gases.
4. We promote 'goat meat' for the non-vegetarians. Goat as an animal could be reared from the Himalayas to the Sahara and it is called poor's cow as it is good source of milk too. Goat meat, despite being a red meat, is healthier than Chicken. Goat does not need the pastures or the grains what the beef and pork need. So the goat is far more sustainable than beef and pork. Goat could be a tool to fight the global poverty if we start switching to the goat meat.
So we are linking the healthy eating to the climate change. Who does not want the healthy eating? Once people start realizing that with their proper choice of eating, they can make a global impact in terms of the global warming or the global hunger, they would raise their voice against the policy makers who denies the climate change.
5. FLOTUS, the first lady of the US, Michelle Obama had proposed #GimmeFive challenge on Twitter recently. We proposed POTUS and FLOTUS asking the Americans to skip meat once a week. Or better they can skip meat once a week at the White House. That would have a huge impact.
Also we asked FLOTUS to do a Yoga on the occasion of the first International Yoga Day on 21st June this year. We believe that the mental and spiritual health is interdependent on the physical health.
We also want the celebrities like LeBron James or Tom Hanks to make the appeal for the veggie eating or for yoga. Given the present social turmoil in the US and beyond, this is the need of the hour.
6. We have a special blog on disruptive eating athttp://nirmalasramban.blogspot.comWe want the people to join us in this discussion and share their ideas.
Who will take these actions?
1. The UN is spearheading this issue of the climate change. We want the UN to declare an International Vegetarian Day,may be on April 7th, the World Health Day.Also Goat could be declared an International animal and the poor nations could be given the goat loan to fight the global hunger and poverty. I have attached an link depicting how the goat rearing has made the families self-sufficient in Haiti, a poor country and where the goat meat is popular.
2. CDC in the US has come out with some policy guidelines to make the calorie chart of the food items mandatory for the food chains with more than 20 locations. We want CDC to add 'BMI chart' and other posters at Nirmal in their guidelines even for the optional use. Please see http://www.nirmalindiancuisine.com/gallery
3. We are looking for the support to expand the Nirmal franchise. We are OK with profit or non-profit both ways. Our idea is to practice what we preach. For example, the veggie eating is still not affordable for the low income households. We are offering healthy and cheaper options to the burgers, tacos and pizzas. Also the home cooking would make veggie eating affordable.
The Nirmal may be only restaurant serving goat meat in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area out of 300 restaurants. Everything is related to the demand-supply economics.
4. We expect the celebrities to come forward in the support of veggie eating as well as any tool for the mental and spiritual health like Yoga and Gita.
Where will these actions be taken?
We are now located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, US, the sister city of Ann Arbor, the home to the University of Michigan. On Twitter, we have the followers from UK, Uganda, Austria, Canada etc. Ideally we would prefer to expand in the US to get our franchise model perfect for the global expansion. But our message is simple. If we can take our message to the billions in the poor countries, that could be a game changer. The goat rearing funded by the govt or social agencies could go long way in fighting the global hunger and the poverty.
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
1. The veggie eating would have the huge impact on the greenhouse gases. As we mentioned 3.6 Billion pound of meat per year saving in the US. US has 10% vegetarians and China just 5% . If we can inspire people to turn say 20% of the global population to the veggie eating, it would reduce the carbon emission substantially.
2. Say 25% of the non-vegetarians in the world switch to the goat meat in the next 5 years, it can save huge pasture lands needed for the beef production or the grains for the pork meat. Just for example, one pound of steak needs 1850 gallons of water whereas a pound of Tofu needs 300 gallons. Imagine the overall saving. It can impact the global economy too specially of poor countries.
What are other key benefits?
1. The biggest benefit would be a healthy society with strong mental and spiritual character. The US spends $116 Billion per year to fight the obesity.
2. The world would be better place to live in. We can contain the global hunger and the global poverty by veggie as well as goat meat eating. I have attached a link which shows the complete vegetarianism is not feasible.
3. With better control over the global warming, the countries can use their resources for the benefit of their populace.
What are the proposal’s costs?
1. Nirmal CPD (central production cum distribution) unit like Ypsilanti needs $200K to build and operate. It can supply and manage 15-20 Nirmal franchise locations.
2. A Nirmal franchise at a new place would cost $100K.
3. We can convert any restaurant with 10-ft kitchen hood to Nirmal franchise at the cost of $50K.
At this point we are aiming to expand in the US.
1. The short term goals (5-15 years) is to see 1000+ locations in the US.
2. We are open to Nirmal franchise in the country like India and other poor countries in Africa even now.
3. After 5 years, we can em-bark on the global expansion.
4. In the medium term (15-50 years), we do see almost all restaurants following us in the messaging style and veggie eating and the goat meat becoming the most popular food.
5. In the long term, we do see half of the world population turning vegetarian. Now only 900 million people in the world out of 7 Billion are vegetarian as per one estimate, 500 million being in India.
I could not find any proposal related with the simple act of eating.