Most of the food we find at our local grocery store is not sustainably sourced or even sustainable at all. It requires oil, soil, water, and a supply chain to reach your table, having a major impact on the earth and your health! Overloading unhealthy foods means more of an impact on your body, mind and even the environment, forcing many to take a long look at how they are eating.
What is sustainable food?
Sustainable food doesn’t need special labels because they are easy to identify. Sustainable foods are any real food our bodies were designed to eat, including things grown in soil and animals. Sustainable food companies are those who don’t harm the environment and treat their animals humanely. In addition, eating sustainably means supporting enterprises that pay farmers and workers fair wages and support the local economy.
Eating sustainably is a fantastic way not only to promote excellent health but to reduce your overall carbon footprint. Let’s explore types of sustainable food, a sustainable diet, and how you can achieve it.
What does sustainable eating look like?
Eating sustainably requires a little thought, effort and education. However, making the right decisions at the beginning of your sustainable journey will make it easier and more enjoyable down the road! Let’s explore a few much-loved tips to eat more sustainably, and sustain your healthy lifestyle for longer!
1. Focus on variety
It’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods to sustain a varied intake of vitamins and proteins. Each type of food offers a different array of vital benefits to our bodies, meaning the wider the variety of healthy, sustainable food, the more benefits we get!
2. Grow your own food
Even the smallest homes have space for a small garden. All you need is a bit of sunlight and water to grow your own healthy produce. If you have a small space, consider starting an herb garden, and if you have yard space, claim a patch and take a crack at growing your favourite veggies!
3. Focus on veggies, beans and nuts
Veggies, beans and nuts are great for a sustainable diet, and can even be used as a substitute for an animal protein. Plant proteins provide fiber, a vital element to our health, and also help prevent cancers and an assortment of different diseases.
4. Eat seasonal foods
Eating seasonal foods means a shorter travel distance from the farm to your table. Seasonal food is also fresher, and a great way to shake up your diet, to ensure you are eating both sustainably, and eating well. Out of season produce requires more refrigeration, heating and lighting to grow in off-season conditions, impacting the environment greatly.
5. Moderate the meat you eat
Raising animals that provide red meat, including beef and lamb, has the biggest environmental impact from greenhouse gas emissions, degradation of soil and water, and destruction of delicate ecosystems. Cutting red meat from your diet means eating less hot dogs, ham, sausage and beef, is proven to make bodies healthier and can also cause you to lose a little weight as well!
6. Buy local
Buying locally means you are not only supporting your local economy, you are reducing the amount of greenhouse emissions that come from the supply chain, shipping and long-distance deliveries. Farmers markets are in almost every city, usually on weekends, and are a great place to shop to ensure you are shopping for fresher, more local food products.
7. Reduce processed food intake
Processed foods unsurprisingly have a much higher carbon footprint than more natural and sustainable food options. Look for foods that are not mass-produced, and make sure you buy your proteins as locally as possible. Some dieters experience SIBO symptoms, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which causes abdominal pain, constipation and gas. Processed and unhealthy foods thrive in this environment, so cutting them out will often release SIBO symptoms immediately!
8. Compost at home
No one likes food waste, and a great way to use any extra food is to start composting. Composting keeps organic waste out of landfills and provides nutrient-rich fertilizer to help you grow your produce at home!
9. Preserve the harvest
If you’ve bought too much produce at the farmers market or your garden is producing, consider preserving your excess food for later. Freeze, can or smoke excess food to save money and make your sustainable lifestyle last!
Eating sustainably means supporting your local community, respecting your body and doing your part to save the earth – a goal we can all get behind. So start researching today, or maybe clean out your kitchen, to prepare for your new, more sustainable eating habits.