In our new series of articles How to Be More Eco, we’ll cover several areas in which there’s usually room from improvement. Remember that trying to live a more eco-friendly life is a journey, something that takes time and will most likely not happen overnight. It’s also not possible to be 100% ecological at all times and everywhere (during travel, for example).
When it comes to buying food, cooking and eating, there are several things to think about. How the food is packaged, if it’s packaged, where does it come from, how often we cook from scratch, what kinds of food we’re eating … All these aspects play an important part on the journey.
Buy less packaged food
The general rule is that the more processed a food item is, the more packaged it is. This goes for cookies, crisps, ice cream and other yummy snacks. The same is true for pre-prepared microwaveable food. The solution here is to try to cook as often as possible. Many busy people help themselves with meal prepping on Sunday. As for sweets and crisps, you could try baking your own cookies, making banana ice cream, creating your own chips … You can go as far as making your own plant-based milk, nut butter and even cheese and yoghurt. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of packaging when it comes to basic foods, such as fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes. What you can do is opt for farmers markets and shops with no packaging and, of course, bring your own bags.
We’re all guilty of buying bananas, dates and avocados, even though they’re brought to us from far away. You don’t have to stop enjoying the foods that you’ve grown to love so much and are available all year round. However, you might want to pay attention to produce that can actually be grown locally, such as strawberries, blueberries and pumpkins, and buy these only when they’re in season. The smell, flavour and price will tell you whether they are or not. If you have the option, try to buy directly from local farmers or visit markets regularly.
Adopt a more plant-focused diet
Animal agriculture isn’t only cruel to the animals, it’s also terrible for the environment. It contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation. You can stop reducing the number of animal products you’re consuming gradually: not eat meat every day, switch for plant-based alternatives, such as tofu, seitan and tempeh, try vegan cheese, yoghurt and plant milk. Trying out vegan recipes might lead you to a whole new world of dishes you haven’t tried before and interesting food combinations. Not to mention the many vegan restaurants and cafes out there! You can find them with the help of the HappyCow app.