Food doesn’t need to cost the earth

As the UN climate change conference kicks off in Glasgow and Green Week takes place around our university partnership, Nadja Korner, a BSc integrative healthcare student from Moray College UHI, shares advice on how we can help the planet and ourselves through the food we eat.

Have you ever asked yourself how the food on your plate impacts the environment? Often, we shop with only our eyes, but not with reasoning. With globalization, the supermarkets have been able to offer a wider variety of foods from across the world. It’s fun to explore the taste from other countries, but it also has its downsides – mostly affecting our environment and climate.

One of the most obvious facts is the travel food needs to undergo when coming from the other side of the world. The emissions used for shipping or flying goods to us can be avoided by eating local growing foods. In addition, food coming from further abroad, especially fresh produce, will not have as many nutrients preserved as food from closer to where we live. Therefore, a local diet can help to reduce emissions and reduce our impact on the climate.

But it’s not only a local diet that matters. Eating seasonally, is also important. It goes hand in hand with eating more locally and is easy to incorporate. When you start looking to make local choices, it doesn’t take much effort to find out what’s in season. After a while, you will remember what is growing where and when. To help you, I have attached a free downloadable guidance chart from my Mission Nutrition cookbook.

Local farmer markets have become increasingly popular over the recent years which is good news! The markets will provide you with fresh, unprocessed and highly nutritious food that benefits not only yourself, but the farmers and the environment at large.

Let me summarise the points above:

Buying seasonal, local food helps to reduce emissions caused by long transport. It supports local farmers and stores in your area, guarantees a higher nutritional value and freshness of the products. Fruits and vegetables in season are also cheaper, it will save you money eventually to know when to buy what.

The production of meat also causes a lot of emissions and has a significant impact on the climate. You may consider one or even more days a week where you explore a different way of eating. You can find a variety of vegetarian or vegan recipes on my website and online. If you are unsure about this step, try combining it with a theme, such as vegetarian Italian recipes etc.

Little goes a long way

Do not worry if it all seems a lot. It can be hard to change our common way of life and eating habits. However, if you think of the world at large, other animals and human beings, it can motivate you to make a change. Considering how your choices can impact future generations or even your own life, may just be what you need to get started.

It’s important to be gentle and to start slowly. If you are new to this, start with one or two days a week, then slowly increase to buy more local food. Take time to look at the guidance chart and see what you can buy in season in your area. Looking up recipes in advance before going to the supermarket and writing a shopping list can also help you to stick to your goal.

Finally, I would like to emphasise the importance of enjoying the process. Food is a big part of our life and changing our diet is much nicer when it is fun. If we can look at change as a challenge that helps us grow, we are much more likely to enjoy it. So, be gentle, plan and enjoy a new, rewarding way of eating for yourself and the world at large!

Please see below some common ingredients grown in the UK.

  • Barley, quinoa (UK grown), oats
  • Wheat, wholegrain, einkorn, emmer and Khorasan
  • British Chia seeds, Camelina seeds, hemp seeds, linseeds
  • Fava beans, peas, chickpeas, carlin peas, marrowfat peas, yellow peas, lentils, beans
  • Seaweed etc.

Hodmedod is a UK growing business, which has a shop full of local ingredients and delicious recipes.

Nadja runs her own website where people can find out more about healthy eating and lifestyle. Access your free seasonal calendar.

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