Green Your Eating Habits

greening your eating habits

Celebrity chef Jodi-Ann Pearton shares her thoughts on greening your kitchen and eating green.

There are many basic food items which each and every one of us use and purchase frequently – commodities such as bread, milk, eggs, just to name a few. A lot of money is spent every month and in general not enough thought is put into the simple act of purchasing.  In addition to the money outlay is the impact your choice has on the environment.

Eating green is one of the most beneficial acts that humans could engage in.

Each and every decision that we make when purchasing, preparing and disposing of our daily commodities impacts directly on the planet – from what cattle eat, to how it is grown and what we do with it once it is in our kitchens.

Going ‘green’ includes some of the following: Eating organic and natural foods – this means that food is grown and prepared naturally, without unnatural chemicals, in clean and healthy ecosystems.  The impact is huge; it means that the workers growing the food are safe from harmful chemicals; it means the environment is protected and that local wildlife is allowed to thrive.  The essence of organic and naturally grown foods is that it is grown and manufactured in a way that supports a healthy planet.

Organic and natural foods usually directly imply another very important principle- that of fair trade produce where the people responsible for growing and handling the food are given fair wages and working environments.  This impacts on the attention and care given to the produce.

One of my favourite elements to the green trend is certainly the buying of local and seasonal produce.  Buying locally and seasonally means that the transportation of products is low which often results in less packaging and supports local industry.  Local produce is not usually stored for any length of time so this allows for tastier, healthier food.

Food packaging is another key element in going green.  Most packaging for foodstuffs is made with petroleum-based plastics which are harmful to the planet, both in manufacture and in disposal.  Purchasing food with minimal or natural packaging is a key move – look for bio-degradable packaging, recycled materials and re-use as much packaging as possible.

The best option to eliminate packaging and carbon trails is, of course, to grow your own.  Growing one’s own vegetables is incredibly easy and soul satisfying.  You can grow vegetables in something as simple as a window box.

Many people wonder what to do with leftovers, the answer is simple – all organic-based leftovers should be composted.  If you live in a flat or small area, the best answer is to utilise an earthworm bin which is a fuss-free and incredibly efficient way to make compost from leftover food.  It goes without saying that all plastic, paper, metal and glass packaging should be re-purposed, re-used or recycled.

Even the smallest changes go far, for example, changing one’s diet – by eating less meat and more organic, local and seasonal vegetables and fruit.  Meat is considered by far the most resource-intensive item on any plate.  To produce meat, large amounts of water, grain, land, often hormones, antibiotics and other pollutants are involved.  Buy organic, free-range meat.

As far as acts other than eating are concerned, very similar principles are true.  For example, cleaning chemicals- there are many bio-friendly products on the market which have less impact on our ecosystem.  Going green is one of the most powerful and important things that everybody can do for our planet.

Source: Simply Green September/October 2010

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