Looking to eat more responsibly? Here are 4 sustainable foods to include in your everyday diet.
You probably already know that industrially raised meats are some of the worst foods you can eat in terms of planetary health and sustainability. Not only do most animal proteins require a lot of energy to produce and transport, but industrial farming practices lead to widespread pollution of our soil and waterways. Add to this the fact that corn-fed animals are actually not all that good for us in the first place, and it may leave you wondering why anyone still eats meat?
While there are certainly more sustainable, humane, and healthy ways to raise meat, the fact remains that a plant-centered diet is generally better for the planet – and probably for you as well.
For example, the four foods listed below (along with some tasty ways to enjoy them) are excellent choices for a sustainable and eco-conscious diet.
A versatile and budget friendly ingredient, lentils rank high as one of the best “climate friendly proteins” with very low greenhouse gas emissions. Production emissions and “post farming emissions” (inclusive of processing, transport and cooking) of lentils are only 0.9 kg of CO2 equivalent for each kg consumed, 40 times less compared to other protein sources, such as lamb.
Try it out with this one-pot Hearty and Healing Lentil Stew.
Following closely behind lentils, tomatoes are another environmentally friendly food with combined emissions amounting to only 1.1 kg of CO2 equivalent per kg consumed. This vine is fairly easy to grow, so plant some in your backyard and enjoy the true meaning of local produce.
Try it out with these Chickpea Pancakes with Roasted Tomatoes.
Green peas act as natural nitrogen fixers, converting the compound into a usable form for organisms. Because of this, peas often do not require synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and other possible additives, decreasing the amount of harmful resources needed while keeping vital nutrients needed to grow the plant.
Try it out with this bright green Spinach & Pea Soup.
When it comes to vegetables and fruits, buying produce that uses the least amount of fertilizers and pesticides is beneficial, as they account for about one-third of greenhouse gases emitted in the United States. Broccoli, along with other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contains natural pesticides that protect from pests and other potentially harmful organisms. Broccoli also produces the carbon emission equivalent of less than one mile driven per 4-oz. consumed.
Try it out with this Broccoli and Quinoa Salad.