It’s time to start looking inward for solutions to solve our environmental issues. You have the power to make a change not only in your body but also in the environment. The best part about this is that eating well can also be good for the environment so you’re killing two birds with one stone (not literally, we love our birds). With every purchase you make you are encouraging or discouraging certain practices which businesses will be forced to listen to. Customer demand=supply. And if you don’t care, you should. Human health is DIRECTLY linked to earth’s health.
First, let’s understand what’s happening here. When we break down total US Greenhouse emissions by economic sector you will see that it was made up 28% by transportation, 28% by electricity, 22% industry, 11% commercial and residential and 9% agriculture. I’ll explain how these are associated with food soon.
These are BIG problems but knowing that your health is directly linked to the health of our planet allows you to see the connection and care more both for your body and your environment. So here are a couple ideas for you.
1) BUY LOCAL.
Not only will you be supporting your local businesses thus stimulating your own economy, but you are also significantly reducing the footprint of transportation of food.
Benefits for you: The sooner produce is eaten after harvesting the more nutrient dense it is. So you are getting fresher food, that also tastes better and has way more value for your body! There’s a lot to being said that nature provides the foods we are meant to be eating for the time of year, location, climate, etc.
Benefit for your world: When you buy local your food doesn’t have to move so far. Above I mentioned that transportation is the number one offender, so think about that in relation to food. In order to get certain foods (say tropical fruit) to this area, a lot of driving, flying, and boating has to be done. When you buy locally your food doesn’t have to travel from so far away to get to you thus cutting down on transport.
2) BUY ORGANIC.
Benefits for you: Sprays have been linked to so many diseases from cancers to Alzheimer’s to asthma. You may not realize it right when you eat it, but these toxins build up in your system, weaken your body, and can lead to problems.
Benefits for your world: Pesticides and herbicides have been implemented to kill bugs and bacteria that can ruin the yield of our crops. The idea was well intentioned-kill these pests so we can have more food to feed our hungry world. Unfortunately, the impact these have on our environment is tremendous. From killing the nutrients in our soil to polluting the water that our livestock and we drink. When you buy organic, you are supporting practices that give back to nature, not just take.
3) BECOME A MINDFUL-MEATEATER.
The reality is we need to eat less meat from an environmental standpoint. I myself am a meat-eater so I recognize that some people feel better consuming animal products and others thrive without it. I want to encourage an increased awareness around this subject either way. And when we do eat meat we need to be educated about where it comes from. Focus on pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught.
Benefits for you: This meat is lower in inflammatory properties. Conventional meat is fed with corn (along with a lot of other stuff) which affects the makeup of the animal that when eaten then increases the amount of omega-6 which sets off the inflammation process. Eating fewer meats forces us to eat more of something else like plants! When we focus on eating more plants there is a multitude of health benefits.
Benefits for your world: There are some arguments that grass-fed, pastured beef can help combat the problems created by agriculture and meat production, but the truth is that we have to become more aware of the amount of meat being consumed. Our world simply can’t produce enough without us suffering the consequences. This good meat costs more so that’s added incentive to eating the right portion (4-6oz or a palm-sized) and not every meal. Explore vegetarian meals and different forms of protein like lentils, tofu, tempeh, and eggs.
There are far more connections between environment and food than named here like coffee, soy, and sugar production, but I don’t aim to overwhelm. I want to provide you with education and help you understand the connection our food has to our current state of the environment. I also want to empower you to realize that you can make a difference every single day. You do this by starting small. Pick one thing and once that becomes easy, do something else. That’s how you truly change your habits. Maybe that’s finding a neighbor who has eggs and buying those from them instead of the store. Maybe that’s joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) where you know you are getting local and typically organic produce. Maybe it’s deciding you’ll try a non-meat source of protein this week for dinner. Whatever it is, GO YOU for trying! Look for more information on this subject-books, podcasts, documentaries. The list goes on!