Most of us know that sustainable diets are generally healthier and better for the environment, but what does that mean we should actually be eating?
A Sustainable Chefs Point of View:
“If I had ingredients which were unsustainable and which were of negative impact to the environment, then I am contributing to that damage and I don’t want that on my conscience” (Chef Ben Shewry).
“The responsibility of a cook is to set a really good example. Food is not an infinite resource. If you cooking well you’re always taking into account nature” (Chef Ben Shewry)
Chef Ben Shewry talks about muscles being an excellent alternative to other foods such as Chicken. They take up a very small amount of space, are extremely nutrient rich, cost very little and have almost no negative impact on the environment.
The General Rules For Eating More Sustainably:
- Eat more plants (fruits and vegetables).
- Waste less food (around 30% of food brought home is wasted).
- Eat less Meat (eat smaller portions of meat with a meal and add more of other food groups)!
- Eat less processed food (they require more resources and sugar, fat and salt).
- Eat certified food (Marine Stewardship Council or Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
There are numerous benefits from eating a sustainable diet. Aiming to reduce waste or be waste-free allows for you to save energy, money and reduce natural resource use. Buying locally grown food from farms benefits the environment and community in a number of ways. For example, it reduces the energy used to produce, transport and store the food. Additionally, you are supporting your local economy and farmers.
Eating less meat and dairy reduces the emission of greenhouse gases and usage of water and animal feed. You can substitute meats for high protein grains, nuts and vegetables.
Over fishing has had a huge impact on our ocean fish populations over the past couple of decades. Smaller fish are caught in excessive amounts and ground up to be used as food for farm raised fish and livestock. One way you can help this issue is choosing your fish wisely when food shopping. Look for Marine Stewardship Council certifications or buy wild caught instead of farm raised.
Starting your own garden is also an extremely sustainable, healthy and cheap way to change your diet. Eating produce from your own garden ensures that you are not eating any harmful pesticides.
The image below portrays the differences and similarities between eating better for your health and eating better for the environment. As you can see, there are a substantial amount of foods that are both healthy and environmentally sustainable.
Image from the Barilla Institute in Italy
These are just a few simple ways you can change your diet to become both healthier and more environmentally sustainable.For more advice on buying and using more sustainable food, check out this link: https://www.sustainweb.org/sustainablefood/