Sustainable Foods

By: Lauren Palaia

Protect the planet by how and what you eat!

What does ‘Sustainable foods’ mean?

 

You may have heard the term “sustainable” used by a chef or read it in a health magazine, but what exactly does “sustainable” mean when relating to food and eating? According to food magazine NutritionStripped: “sustainable foods” and “sustainable eating” are both broad terms that can include a variety of different eating habits, eating restrictions, diets, and lifestyles that are beneficial to the environment, and are “humane to farmers, workers, and animals alike.” Sustainability prioritizes the safety of our Earth and its inhabitants by ensuring transportation, source, packaging, and/or growth of products uses minimal resources in order to protect the environment. 

 

How can I ensure that my foods are sustainable?

Here are three easy ways to incorporate sustainability into your lifestyle!

 

  1. Reduce transportation:

Look for foods with labels reading “organic” and “non-GMO.”These clarify that the foods were prepared without harmful chemicals or changes in genetic makeup. Furthermore, “locally-grown” foods require less transportation, and, therefore, are better for our environment. Similarly, eating seasonally lowers the need to transport products from countries where they are in-season which requires a significant amount of non-renewable resources that are harmful to the environment. Less transportation ultimately means less harm to the environment. 

 

Moreover, starting a garden at home also eliminates any need for transportation. Home gardens are good for the environment and they’re fun! You can choose which fruits, vegetables, and herbs you want to eat, and watch them grow throughout the season. Most do not take considerable effort or care so it is easy to maintain and upkeep. (There’s something about home-grown tomatoes that makes them taste extra yummy!)

 

 

(Woman caring for her home garden)

 

  1. Dieting:

Another strategy is to consider the impact certain foods have on the environment. Particularly, diets that cut out the consumption of animal products. Dieting restrictions such as vegetarian, pescatarian, and vegan are three examples. The online blog Vegetarian Society, defines a vegetarian as one who does not “eat products or by-products of slaughter.” This includes red meats, fish, and stock/fat from animals. Pescatarians are similar to vegetarians in that they do not eat products of slaughter, however, they do eat fish and seafood. Vegan is a similar yet stricter diet. Vegans do not eat any products derived from animals. This includes meats, fish, honey, eggs, and dairy products. Diets that restrict consumption of animals and animal products can reduce harm to ecosystems, protect species (endangered and not), as well as restore the natural balance of our planet and its inhabitants. 

 

  1. Composting: 

Composting is the practice of adding certain recyclable products and materials to naturally enrich soil. The main benefit of composting is the reduction of reusable products filling landfills. Landfills are notorious for their harmful effects on the environment and have become increasingly detrimental to the safety of our planet over the years. Here are some foods/products that can be recycled as compost: most fruits and vegetables and their skins, cores, and shells; eggshells; paper; sticks and leaves. Of course, don’t forget your water to ensure that the compost stays healthy and hydrated!

 

 

(Adding fruit, veggie, and eggshell compost to enrich a garden’s  soil)

 

These are only three simple ways that you can help the environment, but there are many more ways to better our planet such as energy efficiency and public transportation. Consider implementing sustainable methods into your lifestyle in order to protect our environment for our current and future generations!

 

Image Citations: 

  1. Buffalo News

  2. Love Your Landscape

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