Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Five Ways to Eat More Sustainably in 2016

As a professional writer, I know that it's the time of year for the "how to lose weight and get in shape" articles. I'm not immune to following this trend.

But losing weight, as a goal, feels punitive. It feels like you're punishing your body for something it did wrong, and, if you are at all sane, you won't punish yourself voluntarily. Getting in shape is a better goal, but it needs a food component to support the exercise.

So, here are five quick ideas that you can implement to eat healthier and more sustainably without feeling deprived.

  1. Join a CSA. Standing for "community supported agriculture," this allows you to get farm-fresh food while supporting a local farmer. Pick one that practices sustainable farming practices, and find out if you can get meat, vegetables, or both.
  2. Grow something. This is a theme for this blog, but it bears repeating that everyone can grow something. If you have a plot of land, plan to till it up for a garden; if you have a windowsill, grow sprouts or herbs. Every bit you grow yourself is that much less transportation cost that goes into your food.
  3. Avoid pesticides, herbicides, and HFCS. Learn to read labels. High fructose corn syrup is often listed in the ingredients as such, making it easy to avoid. To avoid pesticides and herbicides, choose organic options where possible, because these farmers and producers can't use harmful chemicals like glyphosate on their crops. 
  4. Avoid GMOs. More than ever before, it is possible to avoid consuming genetically modified organisms, as more and more producers are opting to label when they are GMO-free. While these plant products may not be inherently harmful (the jury is still out, as far as I'm concerned), they are often code for a plant that is "Roundup Ready," meaning that it can withstand being treated with Roundup. I try to avoid glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) everywhere I can, so avoiding GMOs is a good start.
  5. Reduce sugar consumption. Not only will you be avoiding the sometimes-questionable production methods of sugar, you'll be avoiding excess calories. This, I must admit, is my big challenge, so this year I'm trying to leave the sugar out of my coffee most days while cutting down the number of times I succumb to the temptation for a pop. 
What are your sustainable food goals this year?
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  1. I use local raw honey in my coffee instead of sugar. You might want to try that.

    1. I do that too, especially during allergy season! It really helps! However, it is still sugar and calories, so I'm trying to avoid any coffee sweetener until I need it for allergies.