Our food habits have changed the planet. Forests are cleared to make way to rear cattle and grow crops to feed livestock. The oceans have become barren because they are overfished and trawled. Food production is the biggest driver of wildlife loss. It accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Keep reading to find out 8 ways you can help you body and the planet at the same time.
1. Eat More Plants
Animal farming requires a lot of space, water and feed. The livestock industry is responsible for generating more than 15% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions today. Global meat consumption Is 5 times greater than it was in the 90s. We need to rebalance our dietary habits by moderating our intake of animal products and consuming more plant-based foods.
2. Eat More Variety
More than 75% of the world’s food supply comes from five animal species and twelve plants. The lack of genetic diversity exposes agriculture to be more vulnerable to natural threats such as drought and pestilence. We need to diversify the foods we consume to protect them from being wiped out all together. Nutritionist Lisa Renn recommends all of her clients eat a wider variety of food as it “retrains the body to crave healthier and more nutritious meals and reduces the risk of disease in the long run.”
3. Use Your Voice
In 2020, we saw the devastating effects of the burning of Amazon Forest caused by agriculture and deforestation. The products we purchase drive deforestation, putting pressure on natural systems like the Amazon. By raising awareness of how the human race is quickly tearing through the planets natural resources, we can eventually change the perspective of people in power. Jayesh Dayal, owner of an eco-friendly ecommerce store shares, “I encourage people to start small, there’s no need to turn green overnight.” His suggestion is to “purchase something inexpensive that you use often, like these reusable straws. It might start a conversation and this can make a big difference towards changing perspectives”.
4. Cut The Waste
Food waste has become a big problem. More than 30% of the food produced is wasted – which contributes largely to global warming. If food waste were its own country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States. While eliminating waste in your household is a near impossible task, there are some easy fixes you can implement to reduce it. By freezing everything you can’t eat while it is fresh, you can prevent food spoilage until you’re ready to eat it. Making small changes at the supermarket like buying produce in units can also make a difference to reducing waste at home. Food scraps can also be composted to return nutrients to the soil and reduce pests and disease leaving plants vulnerable.
5. Grow Your Own Food
What is better than fresh home-grown food from your own garden? It is free from the carbon footprint of store-bought food and is healthier for you.
6. Pass On Plastic
Plastic has not only infiltrated our natural environment but our diets too. Take a reusable bag when you go shopping. Shop for packaging-free vegetables and fruits whenever possible. Request retailers and brands to find better alternatives to plastic to package food items.
7. Eat What’s In Season
Try to include seasonal produce in your diet whenever possible. Source them from local farm shops and greengroceries. Support the local economy while getting tips on how to prepare seasonal foods from local producers. Events specialist, Sam Gosper advises clients to go with a seasonal menu when looking for catering ideas, “it’s fresher, there’s more variety and if you go with a local grocer they are sometimes happy to throw in a few extra goodies.”
Written by Aisha Horner