April 22, 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and gives you a unique opportunity to celebrate by establishing a connection between your food choices and the health of our planet.
The best way to bring climate-friendly food into your life is to reclaim your own power to cook, grow, and create your own food using organic, plant-based, grass-fed, and sustainably and humanely raised food. Plus, it’s good for you and will likely help you keep your weight in check.
Here are some tips for being eco-friendly as you eat, cook and discard what you consume:
Go local - Shop for food that has been grown locally or raised. That way you’ll know you’re getting the freshest produce and proteins and you'll be helping the environment (not to mention local businesses and farmers) by reducing the miles food travels.
Think outside the box - Reduce the amount of shopping your do at the big box stores of the chain grocery stores Instead, hit the farmer’s marketer weekly for fresh fruit and produce.You’ll be more likely to create more veggie dishes that are rich in nutrients like vitamin C and D.
Get a box - Look into programs that offer weekly or monthly - depending on your needs - of locally grown and raised foods.Many of these subscription services offer a box of healthy, local seasonal fruits or vegetables that will be delivered directly to your doorstep. This is a great way to get more antioxidants into your diet without lifting a finger.
Start a garden - Even if it’s small, starting a garden of edible items help you know how your food is grown and show children where food comes from. It’s also fun and you know that you are getting the freshest possible produce.
Compost - Do more to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost in your kitchen. If your city or town doesn’t have a formal composting program, you can still compost (and use it in your garden) or share your compost with a community garden. You don’t need a composter in the back yard. If you don’t have room for that try one of the countertop composters that turns food scraps and waste into something rich and usable that will save the Earth from more trash.
Buy in bulk - This doesn’t mean buying huge quantities of things but rather heading to the bulk aisle of your grocery, health food store of food co-op and buying products without all the packaging. You can buy everything from coffee, grains, nuts, flours, legumes and more without the nasty packaging that is discarded anyway.
Go organic - , reject GMOs community is to eat local and organic whenever possible.” Organic farming systems reduce pollution, protect our waterways, and make the Earth a cleaner place, she adds. Welland explains that the USDA’s organic label is the best guarantee that we won’t be eating genetically modified organisms. In fact, Colpaart avoids processed food because, as she says, “Most have one of the many derivatives of corn ... grown industrially and genetically modified...”
Go grass fed - Ditch conventionally grown meat (and dairy). Buying meat directly from the farmer who raised it without antibiotics or added hormones and preferably grass fed is the way to go. Also look for organic, free-range, or grass-fed poultry and dairy products.
Be fair - Fairtrade and organic products - like coffee and chocolate - let you know they were created in a eco-friendly way and that those workers were paid a fair wage to bring them to you.
Think sustainable - Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s list of sustainable fish and shellfish. By following these recommendations, you are choosing fish that are low on the food chain or those farmed or caught in manners that are not detrimental to the ocean or in danger of becoming overfished or worse - extinct