Eco-friendly approaches to food - Without giving up meat
The goal of challenge #20:
- Research ‘plant based diets’
- Identify 5 ways in which I CAN improve my food habits
- Supporting Sustainable Development Goal 2; ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’
Plant based diet does NOT = vegan, not even vegetarian!
This week I had ear-marked the Foodprints website to research for challenge #20.
Welcome to a refreshingly supportive and constructive approach to improving our diets in an eco-friendly way!
In short, this movement is all about promoting more veggies in our diets and scaling back (but not necessarily giving up) on meat and dairy consumption. Instead they place quality, moderation and consideration as the focal points. It take a wholeheartedly ‘can do’ and constructive approach and I love it!
First let me share a few facts I learned this week to set the scene on why our diets play such an important role. We know that food production, consumption and waste is a huge contributor to global emissions and the use of resources but here is a bit of perspective on just how much so:
The Progression - Not Perfection Approach
Just because I am not prepared to give up meat,
doesn’t mean I should turn my back on a more eco-friendly approach to food.
This is where I stand on the above comment – I believe that for too long – we normal earthlings have been put off making small but manageable changes due to radical All-Or-Nothing communication. I feel environmental activists have taken an overwhelmingly demanding and judgmental approach and tone in their message when trying to drive people to change their ways. The message has been one of shame on you for not being perfect. Certain eco-activism movements have been extreme in this respect, but what I find more upsetting is this judgment and negativity has gone mainstream and is adopted by what feels to me to be the majority of people. Just yesterday I was having a conversation over dinner about all of the things that we shouldn’t do – its deflating and unconstructive. I believe that this over-riding negativity comes from the feeling of being overwhelmed and sceptical about being able to change.
With this in mind, I definitely want to subscribe to the Progression-Not-Perfection crew.
Let’s be crystal clear on one thing – none of us are, or will ever be perfect – and most certainly not in respect to living a zero eco-footprint life. The conversation needs to change to one of support and encouragement which is exactly what the fantastic people involved in the Footprints for Future project are doing – I salute them!
Let’s start to focus on the things we can do and not what we can’t manage.
For example; I CAN change my diet to include 3 vegetarian days a week (rather than I CAN’T become a vegetarian). Taking on board lots of the motivation and positivity I soaked up from researching the Foodprints For Future campaign, here are 5 points I have picked out that are realistic and attainable for me personally. Each individuals choices and goals may look different which is absolutely fine, the main thing is, we are brave enough to start making changes.
5 ways of helping the planet - by changing your diet - without giving up meat!
- Buy as fair and local as possible
Whether it be fair-trade, bio/organic or local produce, all of these options will be doing some good at reducing the negative footprint and emissions on the environment.
Goal #1: Substitute at least 5 items during my food shop for fair-trade/organic/regional alternatives.
- Go meat free one extra day a week
Whilst I have definitely reduced the amount of meat I eat and now focus much more on quality, fairness in production and consuming meat that has not travelled too far (see my Meet your Meat post), I currently don’t have a set number of veggie days per week but guess it would be around 2 at the moment.
Goal #2: Introduce 3 fully vegetarian days per week, taking inspiration from some of these Foodprints plant based diet life hacks.
- Reduce all types of food waste as much as possible
Also here, I feel proud that great progress has been made, check out my Christmas Leftover post on the subject, yet there is still room for improvement.
Goal #3: Keep all short-term perishable items in only the fridge or one cupboard and create two meals a week from left overs or items soon going out of date. #Rest-ipe 🤩
- Buy less over-packaged food
Unnecessary packaging today has gone so ridiculously over the top that I need to be firmer with myself on setting certain boundaries.
Goal #4: Remove the 2 most unnecessarily heavily packaged items from my trolley before going to the check out. (These are often convenience items which I find myself avoiding more and more).
- Support sustainable agriculture initiatives
Lastly, but arguably most importantly, I want to do more to use my voice for long-lasting changes in policies, by supporting the like of the Good Food Good Farming initiative. I have seen first-hand the passion, dedication and incredibly hard work that my farming family in Ireland have put into caring for their animals and producing wonderful crops. Sadly the high levels of standards and quality that I have witnessed there, are not reflective of the vast majority of food produced. These people and families need to be supported by our governments to continue doing what they do to the highest of standards. Goal #5: Done already ✅ – Sign this petition
Thanks for reading
Your Better Me Greener