I recently watched a movie were the main character longed to live in an era of the past (1920’s to be exact). He felt times were simpler, more meaningful and life was more intentional. This notion has resurfaced in my thoughts a lot sense watching the movie… Its not that I wish to live in the 20’s, rather the thought of living more intentionally with passion and purpose is a state of mind and practice I’d like to achieve. The days leading up to, and including, Earth Day causes me to reflect especially on how our lack of intentionality impacts the world around us – specifically food choices.
We live in a fast passed, hectic environment where work, family and social schedules leave little to no time for home cooked meals. We’ve become increasingly reliant on quick or convince foods, in majority of cases, this means processed foods. As a result, we are disconnected from food sources. I recently overheard a conversation between several 6th grade kids who were debating what animal bacon comes from and what plant produces cheese. Thankfully – they got to the correct answer without my intervening… but this exchange cause me to think of the movie. A picture of a 1920’s family gathering fruits and veggies from the garden or farmers market… kids snacking on fruits, veggies, nuts or seeds… meals planned around what is season locally or canned from the harvest. Folks knew where food came from because food was gathered or purchased from the food source.
Most folks who live with food allergies have a heightened awareness of food and ingredients, and that’s good, but I feel we can and should be better. So on this Earth Day, here are 4 suggestions on how to live intentional with food, ultimately reducing your environmental footprint:
- Shop local farmers markets: Access to fresh, locally grown foods, picked at the peak of growing season, ensures freshness and best taste! Not only that, but it supports the local economy and eliminates demand for shipping produce to you from thousands of miles away!
- Reduce animal protein: Simply put – raising livestock to satiate a daily intake of animal protein generates as much greenhouse gas as all automobiles (cars and trucks and things that go) combined. For my carnivore friends: note – I didn’t suggest you give it up, rather reduce the amount.
- Eat fewer processed or packaged foods: There is no question – processed foods wreak havoc on our health. But have you considered that these “foods” require energy-intensive production processes and are then packaged in plastics or other packaging materials that end up in our landfill taking thousands of years to break down. Buying local produce or products in bulk (rice, beans, oats), greatly reduces the waste – and is good for your wallet!
- Minimize food waste through composting: A United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization report states we waste roughly 1/3 of food produced globally for human consumption every year. Fruits and veggies are at the top of the waste list. There are dozens of ways to reduce food waste – compost being one. You don’t need a big yard and no – it does not stink. Follow this link to one of several great sites on how to compost anywhere!
Following the 4 steps will not only help you “get green” (reduce environmental footprint) with your food choices, but you’ll be saving green (money) and eating healthier! Start small and keep trying till you get it right!
Happy Earth Day!!