News sites, blogs, television, and social media constantly bombard us with information about sustainable eating and living in general. We hear so much on the topic that it often becomes redundant and we forget how important sustainability is.
Sustainability is truly important and, especially with regards to eating, it is a matter of life or death – life or death for you, me and the world around us.
What is sustainable eating?
Sustainable eating is eating all the nutritious foods that our bodies need in a way that harms the earth as little as possible.
Sustainable eating gives us a harmonious relationship with the world around us and this brings us many benefits, including better health and quality of life.
Is sustainable eating difficult?
No. It isn’t difficult, but it does require developing a sustainable mindset. This mindset involves being aware of the food resources that we have and using them in a mindful way. By doing this, our eating habits will work for our good and the good of the environment.
As you nurture this new mindset, you will find that sustainable eating is simple, healthy and pleasurable.
7 Tips to help you eat sustainably
The following tips will encourage you to expand your sustainable mindset and help you find new ways to eat sustainably.
- Put down your fork – Most of us eat hundreds of calories more than we need every day. These excess calories waste food resources and put us at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. One of the most important things that we can do to eat sustainably is to put our fork down once we have eaten enough to supply our body’s nutritional needs.
- Embrace the crunch – Processing foods uses a lot of electricity, water, and even fossil fuels and in the end, processed foods are almost always nutrient-poor. Sustainability involves embracing the crunch of fresh fruits and vegetables and choosing them instead of processed foods.
- Relish the seasons – Trucks and airplanes emit tons of pollution into the environment as they transport out-of-season produce to supermarkets across the country. Not only does out-of-season produce contribute heavily to pollution, but it also lacks nutrients. Most of the produce that is going to be transported long distances is harvested early and never develops all of its normal nutrients.
We can reduce pollution, as well as increase our nutritional intake, by relishing each season and the fresh produce that it brings instead of buying produce that is out of season.
- Develop a green thumb – The most sustainable foods are those that we grow ourselves. These foods have few, if any, chemicals. They aren’t processed or transported at all and they give us their best nutrients, as well as the satisfaction of having raised them ourselves.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb right now, consider developing one by putting in a small garden or raising a few herbs and vegetables in containers.
- Make new friends – Organic fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens are usually sustainable because organic farming is eco-friendly. It uses biological fertilizers to replenish nutrients in the earth, respects water sources and never applies toxic pesticides. So visit your local farmer’s market and make some new friends, specifically organic farmers and gardeners.
- Adopt a cow – The average person consumes more than 200lbs of meat every year. The cows, hogs, and chickens that are raised to satisfy this demand eat truckloads of grain, as well as produce tons of waste and greenhouse gases.
Our bodies need less than half of all the animal protein that we eat. The excess animal protein in our diets puts us at risk for high cholesterol, kidney disease and some forms of cancer.
We can benefit the environment and our own health by decreasing the amount of meat that we eat. If you miss having all that extra meat around, adopt a cow and enjoy your meat in its live form.
- Choose rinds, skins and peelings – Paper packaging costs the lives of hundreds of trees, while the production of plastic packaging consumes fossil fuels and releases many harmful pollutants. As we eat sustainably, we should be mindful of the packaging around our food and whenever possible choose natural packaging, such as the rinds, skins, and peelings on fresh fruits and vegetables.
These 7 tips will help you eat a sustainable diet. Why don’t you begin eating sustainably today and enjoy all the benefits that it brings?
Fun Fact: One hundred years ago, about 60% of all the protein that Americans consumed came from plants. Today 60% or more of our protein intake comes from animals. It is amazing how much our eating habits have changed in 100 years.
Today you and I have the opportunity to change our eating habits again – only this time we need to change them for our own good and the good of the Earth. If you need a healthy recipe to get you started on eating sustainably, try our Winter Veggie Spring Rolls.