By WONNE Afronelly
When you hear the word “diet,” you think about losing weight. Right? Let’s think back to when we were kids and being taught about a balanced diet. A balanced diet is the food that gives us the nutrients the body needs to function correctly. Many people attribute diet to unpleasant weight-loss management; if you also thought this way, you are not alone.
Diet is the kind of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
Our diet has a big impact on our carbon footprint. Food production alone produces a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Recent studies suggest that animal product accounts for more than half of food-related emissions. What you choose to eat affects the ocean, the atmosphere, and the land as much as it affects your personal health. When it comes to living a sustainable life, diet plays a huge role.
How can diet and nutrition impact our planet positively?
There are many eco-friendly diet options, and we can make choices not to harm the environment. When we buy products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy, we also prevent air, water, and land pollution. Having knowledge of diet, nutrition, and eco-friendly alternatives will help us make choices that prevent global warming.
5 easy tips to achieve an eco-friendly diet:
- Eat less meat. Meat consumption in the U.S. accounts for 42% of greenhouse gases. Vegetables produce fewer emissions. Beans, nuts, soy offer high protein alternatives to animal products, and plant-based proteins are cheaper than animal-based.
- Buy seasonal foods. Eating fruits and vegetables in season lowers the chances of consuming foods that have traveled across countries, helps you spend less, and eat clean as they haven’t endured chemical exposure.
- Cut down plastic use. Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags when shopping. Drink water out of reusable containers rather than stocking up water in plastic bottles. We’ve seen that 9 million tons of plastics end up in the oceans every year, and grocery bags are a large part of this pollution. Recycle everything!
- Eat at home: Eating meals in the home instead of going out helps reduce plastic pollution.
- Don’t waste food: Seems obvious, but don’t throw out food. It’s a huge waste of food and money, it adds to the amount of CO2 being created in landfills.
- Use your microwave: Yes, a sacrilege to some, but they are very energy efficient and can do more than reheat coffee or cook up a T.V. dinner. Fish and fresh veggies cook up great and without needing to add extra oil.
To achieve a healthy and eco-friendly diet, we must understand that the environmental and the consequences of what we eat are complex. While a plant-based diet is overall best for our health and the planet, moderate amounts of animal foods can still be a part of our diet, depending on how they are produced. Keep in mind that your carbon footprint is based on other variables besides your food consumption, such as how you heat your home, how much electricity and gasoline you use, how often you travel by air, and how you handle your garbage...
If you can go vegan, please do! Or just try it one day a week. Every little bit helps.
Photos: Gian Cescon, Tina Dawson, Chelsea Shapouri, Jonathan Borba, Markus Spiske,Vegan Liftz