How To Eat Green

By Marcie Barnes

Modified photo credit goes to Phil Romans on www.flickr.com

 

You’ve probably heard plenty about how eating local and organic as much as possible is healthy for you and the planet. And it’s true. Although many organic (and local) products get a bad rap for being more expensive, it’s almost always related to the fact that the government subsidizes oil and corn (among other things) which make mass-produced, carb-filled foods cheaper. So, if you’re not a fan of the government skewing the free-market system, don’t continue to buy the mainstream, big-ag controlled products. Just thought I’d throw that out there on this day before we all give thanks for our food and blessings…

In that spirit, I’ve prepared a quick top five list of small things you can do in order to eat more green, be healthier, and support the health of Mother Earth:

5. Take smaller portions, and if you’re still hungry later, get seconds. This is a common tip for dieters but also a common-sense approach for not being wasteful (or even gluttonous). Throwing away food is an embarrassing thing that Americans do – literally on average each American throws away their body weight in food each year. This needs to stop.

4. Eat slowly and enjoy meals with friends, conversation, and perhaps a nice glass of wine or other favorite treat. Another common dieting tip is to chew slowly, but you also will do this naturally if you’re not eating alone or in a hurry. Make time for meals instead of relying on fast food or convenience foods and spend that time with people you enjoy being around. This way you consume less, but feel fuller and happier at the same time – win/win!

3. Make some of your meals vegan (if you’re not already) – Vegetarian is good too but I think it’s important to skip the meat-laden meals as much as possible – more on that in the next tip – and refresh your body with great, plant-based foods ideally once a day or more. Whitney Lauritsen (The Eco-Vegan Gal) has compiled a wonderful resource of recipes and videos at: http://ecoveganfood.blogspot.com if you need some ideas or inspiration.

2. Do not eat or purchase mainstream, factory-farmed or processed meat products – The current system by which most meat reaches your plate is horribly inefficient and consumes a staggering amount of oil (for transportation), water, feed and is also responsible for a lot of pollution, pesticide/fertilizer use, and general non-greenness. Not to mention there are well-documented issues with animal cruelty. Find places that sell local meats and eggs (farmer’s markets and Whole Foods stores are a good place to start) and cut down on the portions in order to justify  the bump in price.

1. Do not throw away food - I am echoing the sentiment again – and here are some more tips – freeze leftovers before they go bad in your fridge. This is often very easy to do with produce as well, prep and freeze anything that might be sitting around before it goes bad. Also, when you do buy whole birds to like (like on turkey day) boil the carcass to make stock for soups, which you also can freeze.  Also, I have a confesssion to make. I have been a vegetarian on and off my whole life, but I live with two boys (including my husband) who eat meat. Anytime there are leftovers that would otherwise end up in the trash – I eat them.  I would much rather eat the protein and utilize it for my own body than have it end up rotting in the landfill. So from now on, you can call me a greenetarian ;-)

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and green Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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