Impact of Your Food Choices on the Environment
Good food habits are better for your health and the environment. Our present-day food habits have significantly deflected since their genesis. While cooking is still a part of our daily activities, we have developed food habits that impact our health and the environment.
Food, through time.
Food took people to places. It has led to many discoveries, which otherwise would not have been possible. Civilizations developed alongside food and water. So to say, the entire colonization was triggered by the quest for food (pepper, in particular)! The primary work of our early ancestors would be to wake up, gather fruits, vegetables, and seeds, hunt, eat, feed, and repeat!
Through time humans developed a variety of cuisines and explored the aspects of baking, boiling, steaming, frying, and fermenting. Locally, culinary traditions developed from agriculture and farming of endemic plants, cereals, fruits, meat, and vegetables. These local practices comply with the weather, are easy on the environment, and fit right for the human body. Local food does not travel from the lands far away either. It means low carbon emissions, hence a lower carbon footprint. It also supports the local economy and uplifts the practice of sustainable agriculture. Besides, suitable weather and soil conditions ensure minimum pesticide use and provide eco-friendly organic produce. Above all, the local harvest is fresh, flavorful, and has higher nutritional value.
Food choices make food habits.
A proverbial saying goes, “you are what you eat.” For humans, eating is as much a sensory delight as it is a physical and physiological requirement. The rumbling sound of your stomach is not the only indication of hunger. Many other factors can trigger appetite — like social settings, stress eating, or eating to shrug off boredom. Food intake is also dependent on the type of macronutrients you intake. For instance, a diet with simple carbohydrates burns quickly. Conversely, a balanced diet would keep you full throughout the day and reduce hunger pangs.
Food and environment.
With preservatives, chemicals, colors, and packaging of all kinds — labeled as food, we put our health and the environment at risk with each bite. Its consequences are under our noses. Our food choices have drastically shifted from freshly cooked food to order-ins and take-aways. We consume health-washed, preservative-loaded, emulsifier-infused, packaged food falsely marketed as eco-friendly fortified foods. Overeating and food wastage also pose an undue burden on the environment. Our food habits play a massive role in escalating these conditions.
Packaged food contributes plentily to environmental pollution. While packaging preserves the food until it reaches the customer, its production and disposal aren’t environment-friendly. These packaging are seldom recycled and mostly end up in landfills. Even biodegradable packaging uses ample energy to produce and requires specific processes for disposal. It uses natural resources and non-renewable fossils for production that is equally unhealthy for the environment. Its value only lies in its proper disposal. The responsible balance of food processing with environmental consciousness can help preserve the environment. The recent agricultural activities have been polluting the environment and depleting the soil. The food itself isn’t completely free of toxicity.
How can you help? With a simple switch to healthier food habits, planning your meals ahead of time, and nutritious snacking. Another way to reduce its impact is by engaging in mindful practices. For instance, when going out, carry reusable water bottles, reusable bags, and essential cutlery; avoid using plastic bags and use bamboo or stainless steel straws instead, and reduce the consumption of packaged food. These habits can be crucial in building better health and the environment. Your balanced diet has the power to balance the ecosystem. Self-reflection, mindfulness, and sensitivity towards your actions can change things for the better. Pretty easy, isn’t it?