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Thousands of people are embracing sustainability as their awareness of conservation grows. Eco-friendly living is easy — more so than most people realize. Many that are reluctant to change their lifestyles have rational choices for improving how they use energy. These solutions are also suitable for food consumption. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat more greens. Simply make educated purchasing decisions.
Here are six tips for incorporating eco-friendly food habits into your life.
Meat intake accounts for 42 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Fruits and vegetables use fewer resources and emit fewer greenhouse gases than beef, which needs 20 times the amount of farmland. A flexible diet allows you to consume more vegetables while limiting the intake of animal products. It’s convenient too. Spreads like peanut butter or vegemite make quick snacks. Plant-based proteins are also cheaper than animal-based proteins, and beans, nuts, and soy are high-protein alternatives to animal products.
Locally produced produce is more nutritious and contains more antioxidants and phytoncides than store-bought produce. It avoids the extensive processing that commercial foods go through to keep them safe for transport. When you shop at farmers’ markets, you’re also helping your community by allowing farmers to grow more produce and sustain their businesses.
When it comes to eating, consider where you live; certain foods are more readily available than others. Align your eating habits with what grows naturally in your region. The top commodities in each state can vary, so always do your research on regional staples.
Less packaging ensures less waste is disposed of in landfills and the oceans. Companies produce 78 million tons of plastic per year, but producers and customers recycle just 14 percent of it. Several businesses have tried food packaging made of polymers, bamboo, and seaweed. The idea of edible outer wrappings is gaining traction, but it still has a long way to go in terms of mass adoption.
When you go shopping, bring reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Every year, nine million tons of our recycled plastic end up in the oceans, and shopping bags play a role in this waste. Rather than stocking up on plastic bottles, drink water from reusable containers. If you’re worried about the quality of the water in your town, buy a container with a filter already installed or install one yourself.
If you don’t want to give up meat entirely, look for items made from animals that have only consumed organic feed. Hormones, antibiotics, and other dangerous chemicals are not present in organic feed. It also contains no animal by-products and meets USDA organic requirements for quality assurance. Organic feed is good for the environment and keeps your body — and the bodies of the animals you eat — free of contaminants and chemicals.
Seasonal shopping goes hand in hand with taking into account your place. When you buy fruits and vegetables in season, you reduce your chances of eating food that has traveled around the world. You also save money and get fresher products that haven’t been exposed to chemicals. Alternatively, you can start a garden and grow your own food, ensuring that you never go hungry.
Swap out unsustainable ingredients for greener alternatives if your favorite recipes are high in resource-draining ingredients. High-protein alternatives to beef include nuts, beans, and sustainably captured fish. A light vinegar may be used in place of cream-based salad dressings. Instead of your regular fare, try whole-wheat bread, cereal, and pasta.
Keep these suggestions in mind for your next shopping trip, and use them to help you decide what to buy. Eating green necessitates sincere, ongoing concern for the environment and your health. When you put the world closer to restoration, your efforts pay off.
Author: Finnegan Pierson
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