As the effects of climate change have increasingly become evident, we have to be more aware of the choices as to what we eat. Amid this pandemic situation, as more and more people are cooking, we can take this opportunity to use food to fight climate change.
We will tell you how you can help make a more positive impact on your health as well as the Earth’s by swapping some ingredients and making certain changes to your eating habits.
Go Slow on Red Meat
If you ever want to make just one switch to your diet, then we recommend cutting out red meat and animal proteins which can have the greatest impact. By cutting down on meat products, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49 per cent and water-scarcity weighted water footprint by 19 percent.
Meat is the most environmentally taxing process in global food production because corn and soy, land and water are needed to feed the cattle while the cattle release methane gas daily. Replace meat with plant-based meats rationally. You can’t eat these plant-based meat burgers everyday as they are just as high in saturated fat as a beef burger and contain higher levels of sodium.
Aim for Unprocessed Ingredients
Vegetarian protein sources are also obvious choices for your meat. Vegetables have less of a carbon footprint than even the least impactful animal protein sources, like eggs, fish, and dairy. Also, a plant-based diet is beneficial to health because it results in sustained weight loss as well as lower risks for certain types of cancer and heart disease.
Thanks to a popular shifting mindset that’s embracing meal-planning resources and recipes, incorporating plant-based proteins into everyday meals are easier than ever.
You can also eat eggs as they are a more climate-friendly swap and pack a lot of protein punch. Drink soy and hazelnut milk if you are switching to non-dairy.
Eat local, but not everything
If you think saving on fuel, transport and packaging have much of an impact on emissions; then you may be surprised to know that it pales in comparison to the impact of the way land is used. Land use and farm emissions account for 80 percent of a food’s carbon footprint while transport accounts for 5 percent.
Don’t beat yourself for indulging in exotic fruits and vegetables that don’t grow in your neck of the woods.
Research before Buying and Eating Seafood
Skip farmed shrimp because it has the most significant environmental impact as they have known to be the largest driver of mangrove deforestation. Deforestation of forest releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, a process that creates farmed shrimp more environmentally damaging than pork or poultry.
Instead, you can eat smaller fish like anchovies and sardines, which takes less fuel or energy to process in comparison to larger fin fish like tuna.
Start Small To Make Big Impact
If you find this too complicated, then start by leaving one thing at a time. Your small efforts are a harbinger of bigger change in creating a real significant impact.