5 Ways to Support Mother Earth with Your Food & Lifestyle Choices
April 22nd 2021 is International Mother Earth Day, which we celebrate to remember that we are part of and in need of big mama earth and her ecosystems. While that is a lovely notion, thoughts alone will not be enough to stop, or better yet reverse, all the damage we are doing to our planet. Continuing to expand our environmental and climate literacy is a must if we are to survive as a species.
I love the saying “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”. In that spirit I want to share with you 5 ways you can turn into an eco-warrior by making small adjustments to your diet and lifestyle.
1. Eat Locally and Seasonally
I’ve recently written an entire post about this topic with useful resources to help you locate your local famers. You can find it here.
On The Regenerative Journey podcast I recently heard of the idea of trying to minimise the items in your kitchen that have a barcode, by finding local producers you buy from directly. While this might be a lofty goal, it’s definitely a powerful vision and incentive to stop and think about our consumer behaviour around food.
Planning your meals for the week to avoid food waste and then heading to your local farm shop or market whenever you can is a great way to avoid the unnecessary packaging (with barcodes) and high carbon footprint of food miles of super market foods.
2. Eat More Plants
I do not believe that going vegan is the best or most sensible way to save our planet. But: we absolutely must moderate how much meat we are eating. In the UK we eat on average 226g of meat per day - that’s 61kg of meat per year, nearly double the global average. The current health and environmental consequences as well as the trajectory if we keep this trend going, are unsustainable and bloody scary.
We only need less than a third of that - a maximum of 65g cooked (100g raw weight) meat per day in order to meet our nutritional needs. We also don’t need to eat it every day. So, you could have a bigger piece once or twice per week - I love a good old Sunday roast where we use the leftovers for soups, sandwiches or making bone broth.
If that is too big of a leap for you have a look at the One Meal a Day movement suggesting that you simply make one of your main meals every day plant-based which is good for your health, the earth and your community.
3. Be Picky With The Meat You Do Eat
There are extreme difference in the nutrient composition of meat produced conventionally (not to mention the animal cruelty) and meat that has been grass fed, or, even better yet, pasture fed - a good label to look for is Pasture for Life. Both nutrients and toxins are stored in the animals’ fat. You’ll get significantly more of the former and nearly none of the latter if you buy pasture fed.
Yes, it takes a bit of effort to find a local farm you can buy from - check out this blog post to help you find yours. And it might cost more than your 3-for-1’s in the supermarket. But, because you’re eating less of it, you’ll end up spending about the same, sometimes even less.
Here’s a simple comparison: you can buy Sainsbury's 21 Day Matured Rump Steak (225g) for £2.32, 7 times per week, which will cost you £16.24. If you instead buy Knepp Wild Range (as an example producer of pasture fed meat) Beef Rump Steak (212g) for £7 twice per week it’s only £14. Not included are of course the long-term savings on your health care if you choose the second option.
4. Avoid Plastic Packaging
This is not only relevant for your food, but all aspects of your life. We have recently changed our son’s nappies to reusable ones - something I should have done 2 years ago. But again, no one can do everything and we all need to start somewhere - with literal baby steps.
Through researching the new nappies I came across a lovely local packaging free shop that has given me so much inspiration to simply refill products like laundry liquid, washing up liquid, shampoo, toothpaste and multi surface cleaner. There are so many great brans, but a few of my personal favourites so far are Ocean Saver, Spruce, Koh and Splosh (for window and surface sprays) as well as Smol for laundry and dishwashing capsules that get posted through your letterbox.
5. Spend Time Outdoors
Looking at shapes in nature, called fractal patterns, is beneficial for your brain and massively reduces stress levels. Fresh air and sunshine are also very healthy for us. So going for a walk, run, cycle, SUP or any other activity al fresco is going to add to your longevity.
It also connects us as human beings to nature. It’s so easy to get out of touch with our natural habitat if we look at screens all day. It makes it so much easier to forget why we should care about big mama earth. Looking at and touching nature (with our hands and feet!) helps us remember the we don’t just depend on and are responsible for it, but we are part of our global ecosystem.
A beautiful short film to watch about this point is “Fools and Dreamers” on Youtube about one man regenerating a massive native forest in New Zealand. So much for no one can do everything… What are you going to start doing today?