Your food choices impact the environment and may even be contributing to climate catastrophe. How can we be more purposeful in our consumption?
All living things need to eat every day to survive, most notably humans. As the effects of climate change become increasingly evident, the choices humans make for food have more significance now than ever.
More and more people are cooking at home, and this could be an opportunity to use food and fight climate change during the pandemic. All there is to do is swap and tweak some eating habits to make a more positive impact both to one’s health and on the planet.
Minimise eating red meat
Minimising or cutting red meat and animal consumption has the most significant immediate impact on fighting climate change.
GreenChoice CEO and founder Galen Karlan-Mason said that in a study in 2018 published in the journal Science, a diet with no meat reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 49% as well as water-scarcity weighted footprint by 19%. He mentioned several factors that make industrial agriculture one of the most environmentally demanding processes in food production globally. For instance, the farmer’s mono-crop corn and soy then process it to become feed which is then shipped to the cattle, and provide land and water for the cattle to survive. This process is done, all the while the animal releases methane gas daily.
However, plant-eating animals are no one-to-one replacement for steaks and sausages. Associate professor and chair of the Montclair State University’s nutrition and food studies, Douglas Murray, said that soy production is second to beef in environmental damage. That means replacing beef with soy is also like replacing the first-degree murder with second-degree murder.
According to Harvard Medical School, these processed burgers contain more sodium and are just as high in saturated fat as the original beef patties. Choosing a meatless option for a burger is not a free pass to eating a soy-based burger daily.
Eat unprocessed foods with a lesser carbon footprint
Vegetarian protein sources might be the best swap-in for meat. As noted in the 2018 Science study, most vegetables have less carbon footprint than even the fish, eggs, and dairy, which are all considered as least impactful animal protein sources.
A plant-based diet may include high-protein vegetables, such as beans, quinoa, leafy greens, and unprocessed foods or ingredients. Eating a more plant-based diet may be a small change, but studies show that it can have a positive impact on one’s health, like weight loss, lower risks for cancer, and heart disease.
Incorporating these foods into the diet is now made easier thanks to a new popular mindset that embraces recipes using these ingredients. Plus, keeping quinoa and beans on hand makes it easier to cook from the pantry more often. Hence, skipping the frequent grocery store visits during this pandemic.
Original source: https://www.sciencetimes.com