Climate-Friendly
and Sustainable
Nutrition

Table of Contents

When you are concerned about the environment and the climate or obesity, you may be taking several actions to ensure you aren’t adding too much carbon to the environment. However, many people don’t realize how much their diets contribute to climate trouble. Many common foods aren’t sustainable, and many aren’t very climate-friendly. Many foods may be more climate-friendly to use as a substitute for some of the more unsustainable items that you eat.

About 35% of the greenhouse gases emitted by humans come from food production. Around the world, nearly 40% of the land is used for food production. This makes it essential for people to make sure they aren’t eating a diet that’s high in emissions and bad for the land and environment. The climate and environment are vital to the survival of all humans.

Sustainability and Diet

Sustainability may mean different things to different people, but the Environmental Protection Agency has a specific definition. The EPA has said sustainability is the proper condition that supports nature and humans, and it will continue for many years into the future. Many foods aren’t in this category because they make a larger environmental footprint and can’t be continued for generations.

It’s often believed that eating a plant-based diet and eating organic foods is all that needs to be done, but this isn’t always true.

Cutting down on meat and other animal products can help reduce a carbon footprint, but this diet may still have some unsustainable elements. When you consider whether what you buy is sustainable, you need to consider the use of resources and the greenhouse gases emitted by the industry. It also includes thinking about fair labor practices and how the land is managed.

Indeed, sustainability usually involves eating a plant-heavy or plant-based diet. It tends to be more climate-friendly to eat plants instead of animals. A sustainable farm will produce fruits and veggies that are nutritious for humans and offer a boost to their health. It should also help nature by not using harmful chemicals on the farm that could affect the local wildlife and plant life. They should also practice crop rotation so the soil isn’t depleted and will remain farmable.

Eating a sustainable diet means that the diet serves both nature and humans and that it takes into account the short term as
well as the long term. More and more of these farms are growing food now that so many shoppers want to support this sustainability.

Sustainability for the labor part of the process means that the people who work in each part of the system get a fair wage and have working conditions that are healthy and safe. This is one of the short-term parts of sustainability. A longer-term part is that the food shouldn’t cause serious health problems like cancer and heart disease.

Eating More Plants

The meat production industry generally creates more greenhouse gases than those producing grains, fruits, and vegetables. The environmental impact and sustainability of meat production have long been a problem. Out of all the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture industry, about 57% are caused by animal production. Plant-based foods only generate about 29% of them. The rest comes from growing plants like cotton and rubber.

When you eat more plants in general, you can save some of the greenhouse gas emissions that would have been caused by choosing meat or other animal products. This includes buying produce that wasn’t treated with harmful fertilizers and pesticides that can harm humans and the environment. It’s also important to be aware of water usage, pollution, and soil erosion connected with the foods you buy.

Some produce items use extreme amounts of water, and this isn’t a sustainable practice. Meat uses the highest amount of water. Having a 6-oz. steak requires the usage of about 674 gallons of water. Eating a hamburger uses almost the same amount. Eating a standard salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, for instance, uses about 21 gallons.

However, a single almond uses more than three gallons. A pound of avocado uses about 72 gallons. The almond industry each year uses about 500 billion gallons, and this has depleted the land and the groundwater. Sugarcane and rice are also extremely water-hungry plants that require enormous amounts to produce little food. People who want a more sustainable diet may want to look at the water usage that goes into what they eat, even if they’re eating plants.

Plants also take less land to cultivate. Producing livestock takes much more land, and this can affect the local environment by requiring the clearing of wild spaces. Continuing to clear more and more spaces for animal production isn’t sustainable and can’t continue indefinitely.

It isn’t necessary to cut out all animal products from your diet, but cutting back on them can make a difference in many aspects of the environment. Many people eat a vegan diet to create the most minor greenhouse gases and use as little water as possible, but not everyone has to do this. It’s estimated that cutting down to about 3.5 ounces of beef per week and 7 ounces of poultry can make a big difference.

A flexitarian diet is often recommended for both health and environmental impact. This is a mostly plant-based diet that also includes a few animal products occasionally. This is also healthier for the body, helping to reduce the risk of high cholesterol, excess weight, and heart disease.

Choosing the Right Foods

In addition to choosing more plants and less meat, it’s also essential to know where the food you’re buying comes from. Foods that come from far away, like out-of-season produce, will be transported much further, requiring more greenhouse gases to be emitted. The foods should be local if possible. They should be in-season foods where applicable.

Reading labels and packaging these days tells you more about where your food comes from than ever. It’s easier than ever to find organic items that treat their crops with non-harmful chemicals. When an item is organic, it only uses natural chemicals instead of artificial ones.

However, many natural herbicides and pesticides can also damage the environment. Some foods come labeled as using non-harmful chemicals, and it’s a good idea to look for these foods.

If you eat seafood, make sure that the food is sustainably caught. This is a way of harvesting seafood from the ocean without depleting the species. In the past, several fish species were overharvested and became very depressed in numbers. Sustainable practices are there to make sure that too much of a species isn’t harvested and that the species can continue to reproduce and replenish their numbers.

Opting for organic foods can be helpful, but reading labels is just as important. Make sure that what you buy is what you need for both your health and the health of the planet.

Choosing the Right Foods

The Health Benefits of a Climate-Friendly Diet

Being sustainable and good for the Earth includes being healthy for humans and not being the cause of disease. Foods that aren’t covered in toxic chemicals and that have a lot of nutritional benefits are some of the best items to add to a sustainable diet. It’s been shown that having a lot of animal products in a diet can raise the risk of several health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Eating saturated fat can also cause high blood pressure and complications from that condition, such as strokes.

Eating more plants is better for overall health in general. Many plant-based foods are nutrient-dense, providing both the macronutrients and micronutrients that people need in a healthy, balanced diet. Produce items contain antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients we need for good health. Eating a lot of produce can prevent a person from having a nutrient deficiency and even boost their immune system. A healthier diet generally means a more robust immune system. Eating a healthy diet that’s better for the climate can also reduce the risk of a number of types of cancer because it contains so few animal products.

When people eat a more sustainable diet, it also has the health benefit of reducing carbon emissions. This means breathing in more oxygen and less carbon dioxide. It can also help them to have more energy and not have sugar crashes as they would when eating unhealthy snacks. It also helps to prevent obesity, and this leads to higher energy levels as well. People who eat a healthier diet have better health outcomes and less chronic disease.

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Making Food Swaps

It can be difficult and jarring to change your diet all at once thoroughly. For this reason, many people don’t get started on these healthier diets. However, you can make a few food swaps to help your health and the environment. You can keep these few swaps and be proud of eating a little healthier, or you can continue to make food swaps slowly so that your diet changes over time.

Instead of desserts, you can swap them for a sweet piece of produce like a blood orange. Instead of eating a processed-grain breakfast, you can change it with a breakfast that uses whole grains. Instead of eating a large piece of meat as a meal, you can eat a smaller piece on the side of a produce or grain-based meal. Making small changes can add up to a lot of benefits over time for both you and the climate. Give yourself time to get used to a few changes before making more, and you may like how the diet makes you feel and want to continue with it.

Conclusion

When you want to eat a diet that’s climate-friendly and sustainable, there are a lot of factors to consider. The food choices you make should be healthy for you and more beneficial for the environment. They shouldn’t use enormous amounts of water or land, and they shouldn’t be covered in toxic chemicals. There are many ways to change your diet so that you and the Earth can be healthier. Find out more about your food and what would be better to eat. This often starts with reading labels and making small changes that make a big difference.

Written & Reviewed By
The Diet Pens Team

The Diet Pens Team is a dedicated group of healthcare enthusiasts, nutritionists, and local pharmacists committed to providing the latest and most accurate information about diet pens and weight management. Our team combines years of expertise in healthcare and nutrition with a passion for helping individuals achieve their health goals.

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