I graduated nutrition school becoming a stronger environmentalist than I ever was. At first, I was intrigued by the sophisticated connections between foods, the environment and health. Then, I get angry learning how the food industry hacks mother nature in order to make more money, with harmful chemicals, food additives and irresponsible agricultural practices. Consequently, I joined my organic food coop and become surrounded by likeminded people.
This makes me a lot more environmentally conscious of my choices, because everyone around me is doing it. Here’s 8 environmentally conscious choices I make. (And they don’t include being a vegan.) It’s all science-based and based on my understanding of ecology and the agricultural systems.
1. Minimize plastic use at all costs – I don’t eat or drink from plastic. I buy all my spices, produces, shampoos and household cleaning products bulk in reused containers. I don’t use plastic produce bags when I buy my produces. I avoid plastic bags when I go shopping. Plastic sucks for everyone’s hormonal health and the environment. Plastics will outlive you, in a bad way.
2. I eat very little grains or soy, if I do at all. I am lucky that I don’t get sick from eating grains, but growing all kinds of grains require tillage, which kills earthworms and destroys the soil ecosystem. Grains are generally high maintenance plants because they are annuals. They also require water diversion grow. If it’s not organic, then odds are high that it’s from factory farms sprayed with pesticides like Roundup and chemical fertilizers that rob our soils of its fertility, and ruin our waterways. I disagree with how this whole thing works, so I avoid grains, as well as animals that are fed conventionally grown grains.
3. I eat local. I am Canadian, and full fledged Ontarian near the Green Belt fertile soil. I don’t understand the whole point of flying my produces all the way from California. California is going through its worst draught ever, due to irresponsible agricultural practices, among other things. Sometimes it’s a few bucks more than the Californian produces.
4. I eat and use the whole animal and I choose animals that have been treated well. Only killing a cow for steaks, or a chicken for its breast, and throwing out everything else is extremely wasteful and disrespectful of the animals. It is also indeed healthier to eat the whole animals because organ meats are extremely nutrient-rich. This way, it only takes me about 1/3 of a cow to feed me for an entire year. Did I also mention I use animal fats to cook and make all my skin products? They are the best for my eczema and acne.
5. I don’t waste food. 50% of food is wasted because our salads typically travel 3000 miles to reach our plates. Some of them wilt and wither away. Eating local and not wasting food is the way to save money and the environment. It also takes some creativity in the kitchen to make sure that I use as many parts of plants and animals as possible before they get thrown out.
6. I clean my house with products that are environmentally responsible. No plastic beads (they get eaten by fish in the lake and never degrade). No hormone disruptors. No ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Mostly it’s just pure diluted vinegar. Also, no phosphates and FD&C colours in my soap-based products.
7. I eat everything organic or biodynamically farmed. Not only has this completely cured my mood problems during that time of the month, it is also a better choice for the environment. I don’t want to contribute to the pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in our soil and waterways. [Not being crazy for the half of my life during the 2 weeks before my period is worth the $200 extra per month of grocery, so that justifies going full on organic.]
8. I don’t consume vegetable oils at all. Canola, corn and soybean oils come from “cash crops” that are grown on factory farms without respect to the environment. Also, most of them are genetically modified to either be Roundup Ready or to contain insecticidal toxins. In addition, these oils require a lot of dangerous solvents and other chemicals to remove the tastes and odor to make them palatable. Lastly, wastes of these oils, especially from deep-fried products, are usually highly reactive and contain dangerous toxins like acrylamides. Vegetable oils are not foods. Nobody should eat them. Oh, did I mention the plastic containers?