More of us are looking to be more ethical when it comes to what we put on our plates. So, what would environmentalists eat? Is going vegan the only option?

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Truth is, what you eat has effects beyond the desired improvement of your waistline. Humanity is not on track to prevent catastrophic global warming and irreversible environmental damage. And with the global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050; what we eat has growing implications for topsoil, pollution, greenhouse gasses and deforestation.

So, totally vegan then? Not necessarily. The answer is really simple. Eat as many vegetables as possible. Food writer Michael Pollan beautifully condensed this advice into 8 words: “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.”

We’re all aware that cutting down on meat and dairy consumption is key, but according to nutritional guidelines an environmentally sustainable solution will be to minimize the damage that we do and try to maximize any positive opportunities for change. Individual choices matter, irrespective of how small they might seem.

For a diet to be considered sustainable, food should be produced in a way that protects the environment and has a low impact on biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources. A sustainable diet should also be nutritionally adequate, safe, healthy and economically affordable.

Let’s dive into a few tips on how to eat sustainably for your own health and the health of our planet:

  • Eat more plants (and less meat). When choosing animal proteins, select options that produce fewer carbon emissions such as farmed fish, eggs, chicken and pork. If you’re going to axe meat from your diet, make it the red variety. The environmental costs of producing red meat – chiefly beef and lamb – take the greatest toll on the environment. Shifting the type of animal protein – and how often you consume it – could play a significant role in your diet’s environmental impact. Meatless Mondays anyone?
  • Be picky with seafood. Check the eco-ratings to determine the healthfulness and environmental sustainability of seafood options.
  • Cut processed food. They are high in fat, sugar and additives. Production, transportation and consumption of these foods contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Buy local and in season. Buy from your local farmer’s market or closest fresh produce supplier. Seasonal produce usually travels shorter distances and therefore uses less fuel and creates less pollution. It’s tastier and more affordable too!
  • Purchase washable, reusable bags to reduce packaging waste.
  • Reduce food waste to eliminate landfills. Plan weekly meals. Buy and cook only what you can consume and turn left-overs into new flavorful dishes. Use stale bread for croutons, French toast or breadcrumbs.
  • Make your own compost. Turn organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer which can be used to grow your own nutritious foods. What a great life cycle!

What you choose to eat affects the ocean, the atmosphere and the land just as much as your personal health.

Isn’t it time we all live a little greener … a little kinder?


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.