What’s that expression? “We are what we eat?” Well lucky for us it’s summer and we’re eating watermelon 🍉!
Your 4:1:1 - How to make a positive impact with your plate
4 mins of info, 1 min of laughs, and 1 min of actions
- What we eat
- Healthy diet, not just a fad
- “Why should I eat less meat?” - you (possibly)
- So what should I eat?
- What about Organic?
- But change is hard - Here's how
What we eat
We HAVE to eat to live and yet, for many of us, we are so far removed from all the steps it takes for our food to end up on our plate 🍽️.
Until we dove into it, we at Sekoyia had no idea how our eating habits impacted not just our own health, but the rest of the world!
The food system contributes about 30% of our total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with the largest proportion coming from animal-based food. That’s more than 2x the impact of transportation, so food is a BIG DEAL.
With each of us (hopefully 🤞) eating 3 meals a day, that leaves a lot of opportunities to have positive effects on our environment as well as our health and our health care costs.
Healthy diet, not just some fad
Shifting your diet is the single greatest way for you to make a positive environmental impact.
While our food systems are complicated most experts agree that cutting down on meat, and red meat, in particular, is a better choice for the environment and our health.
Why the environment?
🥩 Red meat uses a lot of feed, water, and land. Cows also give off methane (25X+ more harmful than CO2).
🥝 Fruit and veg 🥕 don’t have to be fed, watered (as much), or walk around...
What to watch:
Diet to fight climate change - VOX
"Why should I eat less meat?” - You ask
- Live longer… that’s a good one.
Reduce emissions… which is good, because you’re going to be living longer
Reduce deforestation… which is good, cause you’re going to live longer
Reduce water pollution… which is good, cause you’re (you get the picture)
Red meat can have up to 100 times the environmental impact of plant-based food.
If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
But I won't get enough PROTEIN!
The average American eats more protein than required. We eat almost enough with plant sources alone.
So what should I eat?
We’re not advocating for a vegan diet (although it is probably the best for our environment), but we are suggesting consuming fewer animal products.
Reducing meat does less damage to freshwater resources and our ecosystems.
- Feed --> requiring LOTS of land and water
- Water --> which is getting scarce
- Space --> forests bulldozed
The Mediterranean diet is a good option for both individual health and environmental impacts.
Think abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes & olive oil.
Here’s a great Mediterranean food guide
What about Organic?
Organics have their place for several reasons, but we’re not advocating that everything you eat has to be organic.
Why Eat Organic?
Organic farmers don’t use synthetic fertilizers. This means:
- You’re not eating pesticides
- You help eliminate emissions associated with fertilizers
- You help stop the downstream negative impacts of fertilizers
When farmers do use synthetic nitrogen, excess ends up...
- Evaporating in the air, turning into acid rain
- Seeping into our rivers, streams, and water table, where it may come out of the tap, or impact our ecosystem.
How it impacts us:
Fertilizers spread in Iowa or Indiana flow down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.
Why that matters:
The deadly fertilizer decimates the marine ecosystem.
Nitrogen stimulates the wild growth of algae… which smothers fish, creating a “hypoxic” or dead zone as big as New Jersey - and growing. (Nat Geo)
Change is difficult.
Here’s how to shift:
Bringing about profound dietary change is not simple because eating is profoundly personal and cultural.
For us to give up meat in favor of options lower on the food chain, those options should be available, visible, and tempting.
- Take part in #MeatlessMonday
Use this Mediterranean food guide
Use Fork over knives to help you enjoy meals free of processed foods
Still want to eat meat?
Swap beef and lamb with chicken
Use this protein card to help make choices at the grocery store.
Check out Meat eaters guide for the environment - EWG
Use this Consumer guide for fish
What to check out:
Life cycle of meat - interactive infographic
Is there another option?
Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are actively leading that charge, proving that it is possible to swap out proteins in painless or pleasurable ways.
Food is soo broad, so stay tuned for follow up posts covering...
How we eat
When we eat (seasonally)
Where it comes from
- Where it goes (food waste)
Psst... Want more?
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