Mindful Nutrition That Is Nourishing & Sustainable
You know the importance of eating a nutritious diet for the sake of your own health, but how do your food choices affect the health of the Earth? The relationship between you, food, and the Earth is stronger than you think. With climate change worsening daily, maintaining that relationship is more important now than ever before.
The decisions you make every day influence our planet greatly. Strive to achieve the balance between dietary choices that are nutritious and sustainable by eliminating certain foods from your diet and increasing your intake of locally grown produce. Your efforts may feel like one drop in the ocean, but both your body and Mother Nature will thank you for it.
SEE ALSO: 20 Tips On Mindful Sustenance
Eat Less Meat
According to a study published here, livestock and their byproducts account for at least 51% of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. You can help lower the demand for livestock products by eliminating your own consumption. Don’t deprive yourself of protein altogether, but replace meat with other sources of protein, like tofu, eggs, or beans.
If you cannot give up meat altogether, try to make more mindful decisions about your consumption. Programs like Meatless Monday encourage people to give up meat only one day per week, which can still make a significant difference. In addition, try swapping out red meat for sustainably-caught fish in another meal during the week. This will lessen your environmental impact, but you can still get your healthy protein fix.
Grow Your Own Vegetables
Try your hand at growing your own produce. Gardening will allow you to connect with the Earth and remember what it does for us. You can choose your favorite flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. You will have to invest your time and resource into this project, but seeing the fruits of your labor grow from a tiny seed into a bountiful harvest is worth the effort.
If your garden really takes off, you can share the surplus with your friends and family members. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, it will save them a trip to the store too.
Keep in mind that gardening allows you to have complete control over what goes into making your food. Pesticides can show up in everything, from obvious suspects like the Dirty Dozen to unexpected favorites. Even ice cream isn’t safe from dangerous chemicals. Though government organizations claim it’s safe to consume foods that contain small amounts of pesticides, other research indicates that trace amounts of these chemicals are dangerous for human health. Pesticides also wreak havoc on the Earth, and your own garden can help lessen the impact they have on the environment as well as your personal health.
If you can’t have a garden at your home, do some research on community gardens in your area or ask a friend who lacks a green thumb if you can make a garden at their house. If that isn’t an option, try to buy local products whenever possible; more and more grocery stores stock items from local businesses now. Another great alternative is going to a nearby farmers market. Do your best to support products that require fewer resources to create and transport.
Bradley University highlights the importance of health promotion, “the practice of educating and encouraging individuals to take greater care of their own health.” Eating healthy is an important part of maintaining your health while helping the Earth, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.
Be mindful while you eat and avoid overindulging. Taste each bite and appreciate all the different flavors of your meal. This will help you remember all that the Earth does for you while helping you slow down during meal time. You will feel fuller without overeating, leaving plenty of leftovers for your next meal. Keep in mind what other resources you use while you eat too. Eating more fruit only goes so far when you buy it in a plastic container every day. Discarding that much plastic every day will add up quickly and though it will benefit your health, the Earth will still suffer. You can easily cut up your own fruit and bring it in a reusable container instead. Just remember that all of your actions, from how much you eat to what you use to store it, will affect how sustainable your meals are.
In a discussion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Keck School of Medicine notes that “the responsibilities shared between individuals are not defined by national borders and that we must all make a concerted effort to improve the well-being of humanity.” Though institutions may take the lead on reforming agricultural practices and improving global health, each and every person Earth must do their part to help find sustainable ways to nourish themselves.
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