Did you know that our eating habits have a significant impact on the environment and the wellbeing of all living beings on this planet? At present, food production has led to the destruction of forests, endangering local biodiversity and finally climate change.
From overfishing, to rearing livestock and cutting down forests for commercial farming our demands have taken a toll on the planet that we live in. In the meantime, the consumption of processed food and dietary choices have further endangered our health.
In a supply demand market, the answer may very well lie on a transition towards a lifestyle change that adopts eating habits that would not harm the environment and our bodies. A sustainable eating habit is all about choosing food that is healthy for both our environment and bodies. Building a food system based on sustainability would result in a global shift towards consuming more plant-based food which in the end could be more nutritious and healthy for the environment.
Be it the environment or your own health, if you are considering a transition towards eating more sustainably, here are 6 tips that will help you in your journey.
Meat and dairy industries require a large number of natural resources. 56 million acres of land are used to grow feed for animals in the US in comparison to the 4 million acres used for agriculture. The livestock industry generates nearly 15% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Limiting the consumption of meat and consuming more plant-based food items can create a positive change in climate change and personal health.
Movements such Meatless Monday and Veganuary promote the consumption of plant-based food and provide plant-based recipe alternatives which contain ingredients such as coconut, legume, beans and mushrooms. More and more companies are now looking at providing consumers with plant-based meat alternatives.
Choosing to purchase products that are farmed locally and are sold in local markets reduces energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and resources, than products that are transported from a long distance. This also promotes local economies and is more sustainable in the long run.
Home gardening and producing your own food is one of the best ways to eat sustainably. By opting for organic farming methods, you can both nurture the soil that provides your produce but also nourish your body by ensuring no harmful chemicals are consumed. Home gardening also results in minimum use of fossil fuels, packaging and food miles. Studies have also indicated that gardening also increases exposure to Vitamin D, makes you happy and is a general mood booster.
Food waste can occur anywhere within the food supply chain be it in production, storage, packaging, distribution and consumption. It is estimated that ⅓ of the world’s food is wasted despite the fact that over 821 million people are suffering from hunger. Reducing food waste requires planning, communication and innovation. To reduce waste in a household, create meal plans, buy in proportion and be innovative in storing fresh produce.
Food that has undergone many changes to its natural state is considered processed food. While certain levels of processing are not entirely harmful in spring and distribution of food items, ultra processed foods are typically high in fat, sugar, additives, preservatives and colors that could be harmful to our health. Sweetened beverages, chips, desserts and processed meats are examples of ultra processed food that both contain a higher carbon footprint and are harmful to our bodies. While it is impossible to manage without certain processed food items, it is necessary to be aware of the condition of our food before consumption to make an informed choice.
Most food packaging comes in plastic and polythene which end up in landfills. Choose food with minimal packaging or opt for shops that allow you to refill your own boxes. Repurpose existing plastic containers for storage and refill as necessary. Taking your own bags for grocery shopping is another way to push sustainable living habits.
Eating sustainably is a global trend that is fast gaining momentum as more and more people are gaining awareness of the consequences of excessive and unhealthy lifestyles and their impact on climate change. Miditer aims to make sustainable living easier and more convenient. It is also important to share experiences and solutions both locally and globally to encourage further innovation that will lead to major policy changes that will ensure healthy living and a healthy planet.