Celebrate Earth Day – Eating Sustainably

This entry was posted on Apr 20, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.
foodpyramidEating Sustainably Every Day

Earth Day is coming up. We like to celebrate Earth Week by honoring our beautiful planet throughout the week—and throughout the year. Earth Week is a great time to ponder how each of us can lessen our impact and help our planet flourish. Since eating is our most vital and essential form of consumption, we’d like to offer a few tips for eating sustainably.

Most Mondays, we promote meatless cuisine by posting a favorite recipe. Today, we’re going to talk about ways to explore eating sustainably every day. According to a post on Yahoo Food, eating less meat is the number one suggestion. Here’s why, along with our own take on some of the site’s suggestions:

1. Eat less meat: If you ever read the 1960s classic, Diet for a Small Planet or the 1980s smash hit Diet for a New America, you probably already know that the cost to our planet of producing meat—feeding our grains to livestock instead of to humans—is ginormous. The amount of grain it takes to produce a pound of beef is widely disputed. Depending on how invested one is in the beef industry, stats vary from 2.6 pounds to 16 pounds. Add in the massive amounts of water, the loss of topsoil from over planting feed crops and the greenhouse gases involved in meat production, and the cost to our environment is very high. If you’re not quite ready to give up meat, or you feel it’s necessary to your health, perhaps you can simply cut back a bit. For example, instead of making a big slab of meat the centerpiece of your dinner, use it more as a condiment—in stir fries, sauces and soups. Try going meatless on Mondays. We’ll be happy to provide some ideas!

2. Buy local: Transporting food across the continent—or across the world—just isn’t efficient. Of course, if you live in a temperate climate, lots of fruits, veggies and herbs won’t be available during the winter. But when you can, visit the farmer’s market or better yet, if you’ve got the space, grow your own.

3. Buy organic: Pesticides and herbicides are designed to kill living things. Chemical fertilizers, along with monoculture planting, depletes and destroys our vital topsoil. And in my opinion, organic food just tastes better. The more you and your friends and family ask for organics at your regular grocery store, the more likely it is they will find it worth their while to sell it.

4. Eat fewer processed foods: Processed foods are not only robbed of much of their prana before they get to your plate, they use tons of resources in packaging, only for that packaging to be discarded and end up clogging landfills and even our ocean. When you can, buy in bulk. Not only is it far more sustainable, but it’s also way more economical.

5. Cook: I do get it that we’re all extremely busy. Me too. But eating tasty, healthy food is a major component in maintaining a steady, comfortable body into your golden years. In an ideal world, making something fresh every day would give you the best range of nutrients, and the highest level of prana in your food. But there are some foods, such as soups and stews that you can make large quantities of that taste better the second, and even the third, day. On Sundays, I cook something that will last a few days.

In the winter I tend more toward soups and stews. In the spring and summer, salads take center stage, especially when I have fresh salad greens in my garden. When I have fresh greens, I pick a fairly large quantity, wash and dry the greens and refrigerate them in resealable bags. When the greens are prewashed and ready to go, putting together the rest of the salad is pretty quick. You can also chop up some extra veggies and store them separately in the fridge. Then making a dinner salad is a matter of mixing together the ingredients you’ve already prepared.

Here are some resources for info on sustainable eating:

Eating Well/Green and Sustainable

The Sustainable Table

Eat Drink Better

 

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.