I love food. I really love food (as you could probably tell from my Instagram stories). And as my love for food, respect for the people who grow and make food, and concern for the environment grows, I’ve been trying to be more conscientious in the decisions I make regarding the food I eat.
Of course, our individual actions won’t halt climate change or reverse environmental damage without accompanying changes in government regulations and policies that hold corporations accountable. But making these small lifestyle changes can feel immediately empowering while we push for broader change, and that’s my hope for you (and for me)!
Here are 5 ways that I eat more sustainably:
One of my favorite weekend activities is hitting up the local farmer’s market. I’m blessed to have at least three farmer’s markets within five miles of where I live, and one just several blocks away from me. I love seeing the colorful stalls full of fresh produce and handmade goods, especially in the summer when it’s bustling and lively.
When you buy from a farmer’s market, you’re supporting small, local farms and businesses which tend to have more sustainable and ethical practices. Buying local also has a lower carbon footprint than buying produce in grocery stores that may have been shipped across the country or even the world.
Another fun aspect of shopping locally is that you’ll get more attuned to what’s in season and maybe try some new things!
BYOB (Bring your own bag)
I try to bring my own tote bags when I go grocery shopping. If I forget, I choose paper over plastic when possible. I just invested in some reusable produce bags and this super cute organic cotton net bag dyed with avocado skins.
Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy
Recently, a study came out that claimed avoiding meat and dairy is the best way to reduce your environmental impact, measured by carbon footprint reductions. Completely avoiding meat and dairy products isn’t possible for everyone, but if you have the privilege and ability to, simply reducing how many animal products you consume makes a huge difference in your environmental impact. Considering that the typical American diet incorporates a lot of meat especially red meat, and dairy, just reducing how much you consume is a good step in the right direction.
A more plant-based diet is actually very delicious! Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun discovering new recipes that incorporate more plant-based ingredients, and for the most part, I haven’t felt like I’ve had to give up the foods I love. I eat less of certain foods, like cheese and meat, and have found awesome plant-based alternatives to other foods, like vegan ice cream (if you’re in Seattle, do yourself a favor and try Frankie & Jo’s). Also, reducing the amount of dairy I eat helped to clear up my skin, and my body has felt better in general with a more plant-based diet. It’s like Mother Earth saying thanks.
Compost—yes, even in your apartment!
Composting basically returns your food scraps to the circle of life, decomposing the scraps into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to grow plants. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that provides industrial composting, so it’s as easy as taking out the trash. But composting is possible even if you live in a small apartment! Check out this article for apartment composting tips.
Save your vegetable scraps to make stock
But wait—before you throw those scraps into the compost, you might be able to save them to make your own vegetable stock! Simply save your vegetable scraps (from chopping, not your rotting vegetables) and freeze them until you’re ready to make your own stock. More on which vegetables you can use and how to make your own stock here.
What are some lifestyle changes you’ve made to reduce your environmental impact?
What I’m wearing:
Top: LACAUSA (sold out) | similar from Everlane, similar from Alternative Apparel
Sandals: Nisolo Isla slides | review | discount
Bag: 31bits Woven Drum Bag
Headband: bought in Thailand | similar from Etsy (or browse more styles)