What does your diet have to do with living sustainably?
Well, it can have a major impact on reducing your carbon footprint (the amount of greenhouse gases generated by your actions). In fact, a plant-based diet is the leading lifestyle choice for reducing an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions. Lower emissions equals a healthier planet.
What exactly is a plant-based diet?
It eliminates eating any animal products including meat, fish, dairy, eggs, gelatin, and other animal by-products. A plant-based diet also emphasizes consuming fruits and vegetables, while avoiding processed foods.
How does this differ from veganism?
Vegans also follow a plant-based, but it’s more of a philosophy that stretches into other aspects of one’s life. This means that vegans also eliminate animal products from their wardrobe, skincare, and makeup. Both of these lifestyle choices are amazing options for someone looking to live more sustainably, seeing as dairy and meat production are responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
However, this can be a large step to take for someone who doesn’t currently follow any dietary restrictions. Starting off slowly could be a better fit for you; it’s how I began my journey. For someone who can’t imagine life without pizza or hamburgers, cutting back on daily meat and dairy consumption is a good first step. Designating one or two days of the week to go without those foods can also be a good place to start. Additionally, there are so many vegan versions of meat and cheese now that you could easily substitute those ingredients into your meals. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
If you’re ready to take it even further than that, you can try following an entirely pescatarian or vegetarian diet. A pescatarian diet eliminates meat consumption, but still includes fish and dairy- and no it’s not a religion. Meanwhile, a vegetarianism eliminates both meat and fish, but includes dairy. Starting off here can help you get used to cutting back on certain foods for every meal and make a transition into a plant-based diet easier.
It’s Not Just About Following a Diet
Eating sustainably goes beyond being plant-based or cutting back on certain foods. It can also involve things like:
- Buying what you need – Don’t keep throwing out expired food items, get what you’ll actually use
- Shopping locally – A farmer’s market has some of the freshest & most sustainable foods that allow you to support the local community
- Starting a garden – Grown your own organic herbs, fruits & vegetables
- Eating seasonally – Produce that’s out of season travel long distances & are not typically sustainable
- Composting food scraps – Instead of tossing your food waste into the trash, start a compost bin
- Plastic-free kitchen – Say bye to plastic bags & packaging & reuse containers for other purposes
At the end of the day, it’s not about being perfect. What’s important are your intentions of living more mindfully and sustainably. And we’re here to help you do just that!
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