Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day to demonstrate support for our environment. There have been plenty of campaigns over the years to try to nurture our planet; recycling, planting trees, repurposing items into something new, etc. One of the things we don’t always think about is how our food choices can also have an impact on our world around us. Everything from how you shop to how you cook and the products you select have an environmental effect. Let’s explore this a little more.
Eat seasonally and locally: This mostly deals with the produce that you pick. If you are buying locally (another great way to help), you are only able to access foods that are in season. Having a strawberry in the middle of winter means that fruit had to travel from far away (read: use lots of gas and packaging) to get to your plate. Try to be creative with what came from local farms recently. It not only saves transportation pollution, it also helps support local businesses. Another bonus: these foods usually taste better and fresher because they are close to the source.
Choose organic produce: These foods are grown naturally. There are no artificial fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge, or genetic modification. Usually organic farms use sustainable farming practices and conserve water and soil. Some studies do show organic produce to be slightly more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, however, others do not. Most people can agree that organics do taste better.
Choose Vegetarian meals more often: Industrially farmed meat has by far one of the biggest impacts on our environment than any other food product. It creates excess gases in the air, waste, and degrades soil. Try to reduce your intake by having several meat free meals a week. It is a great opportunity to experiment with new recipes.
Avoid excess packages: Bring your own reusable bags so you don’t need plastic at the checkout. Buy items from the bulk bins when possible. Try to avoid pre-packaged foods in general; they are usually the least healthy for you anyways.
Choose items that are “Fair Trade:” Fair trade items support a business model that is sustainable. They mean the farmer was paid a fair price for the crop, promotes good farming practices, and contributes to positive changes in communities.
We have a duty to preserve our earth and there are so many different choices we make each day, especially when it comes to our diets that can help make a positive impact. Let’s work together to ensure the world is a great place for generations to come.
In Health, Angela