Leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the world has, over the last few years, picked up steam in the news and across many countries. If you have been looking for ways to clean up your eating act and move toward a greener lifestyle, good for you!
Read on for some steps you can take to eat cleaner, be healthier, and protect the planet.
Eat your own veg
When you eat the food that you grow, you gain a greater appreciation of the labor-worth of food. Plus, you reduce packaging and transportation costs, both of which consume huge amounts of energy. Light deprivation greenhouse varieties allow you to program temperature, ventilation, and more. This means that your garden can bring in vegetables year-round. Other added benefits of growing at least some of your own vegetables include exercise! Working in the garden is said to help you reduce stress, too.
Use a cloth shopping bag
Say no to plastic. Plastics are not biodegradable, so every plastic bag that you use to carry your groceries has a lifetime after you toss it into the trash. If plastic is not recycled and instead tossed into a landfill, sunlight causes plastic to release polymer particles. Polymer particles are toxic to animals and wildlife. If enough people changed their shopping patterns and said no to plastic when checking out, perhaps Big Box superstores will take the hint.
Eat seasonal and local
Eating seasonal foods means that when it is cabbage season in your area, you make cabbage soup. And when watermelon is in season, you go a little watermelon crazy. What eating seasonal is not is eating strawberries when they aren’t in season in your area. Because that means a distributor used energy and fuel to transport those strawberries to your area.
Always look to shorten the food chain between the farm or garden that harvested the food, and your table. The shorter the distance food must travel, the better. Eating locally sourced foods also means that less fuel was used in getting the produce to your kitchen table. Where to find locally sourced foods? Go to a farmer’s market. Read labels and see where your fruits and vegetables come from. Local farmers live a hard life. You can help support your local farming community through your daily purchases.
Stop buying bottled water
17 million barrels of oil are consumed by companies to create disposable water bottles. And this is a per-year figure. There is also debate as to whether bottled water is any cleaner to drink than tap water.
Anything made from plastic deserves your scrutiny. Ask yourself if it is necessary or if there isn’t an alternative that you can choose. In the case of bottled water, get in the habit of carrying a glass water bottle when you go out, and refill that instead. You will be saving money in the long run, and cutting down on your plastic consumption.
Cooking uses up energy, whether you have a gas stove or an electric one. There are ways to use less, and you may even be healthier for it. Some nutritionists believe that heating food kills the natural enzymes in food. So eating raw, when possible, gives you more nutrients than cooked foods. What can be safely eaten raw? Fruits, veg, nuts, grains, and seeds!
Another way to consume less energy is to cook in larger batches and make meals ahead of time. Meal planning also helps, as you can batch cook certain foods together that you know you will use throughout the week. On top of a smaller utility bill, meal planning and batch cooking is a time hack for those who feel perpetually short on time.
The choices that we make every day can either help or hurt this planet. These steps will get you started on a better path.