Climate change. Carbon emissions. Greenhouse gases. These phrases have become buzzwords in recent years for good reason – our earth is showing us many signs that we need to shape up how we use it, or we’re going to be in trouble. The biggest way to better your impact on our environment is to change the way you approach food. Below are some tips to help you eat with planet Earth in mind.
This notion of having all foods available to you in grocery stores all the time in any season is comparatively new. It is not how humans have historically eaten. The cost of transporting these foods from all over the world to your town is high, both in fuel consumption and in carbon emissions. And force-production of these foods when they are out of season is harmful to the soil biodynamic, reduces natural diversity, and produces foods that are less nutrient dense.
Up Your Plants
The way in which meat is produced (in feedlots) and consumed (prime cuts only) hurts the environment and creates massive food waste. Reduce the amount of meat you consume by prioritizing plants. Learn how to cook meatless meals, and include them in your meal rotation multiple times a week. When you do eat meat, make a point to fill up half of your plate with vegetables first.
Reduce Food Waste
Reduce your food waste by purchasing misshapen and rejected produce from companies like Imperfect Foods. Preserve food by freezing or pressuring canning. Eat your leftovers! Or reuse them in future meals, making soups or casseroles. Use leftover meat bones, offal, and vegetable scraps to make bone broth. Compost your fruit or other vegetable scraps.
Localize Your Supply Chain
Support your local farmers that are using sustainable farming practices. There are likely stands at your farmer’s market that sell food grown organically, and a further benefit is that the food is not having to be shipped! For the meat you do it, find a local livestock farmer that husbands their animals responsibly. Then, learn to eat the whole animal, tip to tail! Everyone knows someone who keeps backyard chickens that you could buy eggs from.
Pass On Plastics
Plastics are everywhere now, and not just in our packaging and fabrics – plastic particles are even found in our water and food! Plastic also decomposes incredibly slowly. Unless it was specifically recycled, every piece of plastic ever produced still exists today, either in a landfill or in the environment as nanoparticles. Lots of plastic is involved in the food industry. You can bring paper or reusable grocery bags. Buy produce without plastic packaging. Make items yourself from bulk ingredients rather than buying individually packaged snacks.
Twelve plants and five animals make up 75% of all food consumed. This is not only stinting the amount and variety of nutrients available to us in our diets, but it also has harmful repercussions for our soil. It also creates food scarcity when those items get hit hard with pestilence or disease. But there are over a thousand vegetable species alone! Branch out and stretch yourself. Try a different vegetable, taste a new fruit. Eat meat from a variety of sources, or learn how to prepare the cuts of meat that are commonly tossed out.
Check Palm Oil Sources
Palm oil frequently has been harvested irresponsibly, causing wide-spread deforestation and loss of habitat. However, eschewing palm oil altogether also has harmful environmental consequences. Alternatives to palm oil often require significantly more land. Look for and purchase only RSPA certified sustainable palm oil.