Five Ways to Vote for the Planet With Your Fork

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

I celebrated by eating vegan meals today and going for a nice long walk outside in Mother Nature’s greenery while soaking up the gorgeous sunshine. While I have a massive love affair with real food, I also have one with our planet and I care about its future.

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Two weekends ago I went to the Green Living Show in Toronto and was inspired by so many things that people are doing to make our world a better place. It definitely made me reflect on how far I’ve come with respect to eating for a better planet, but also reminded me that I have a long way to go especially after watching the eye-opening film Revolution yesterday. It speaks to the urgency with which we need to examine our current consumption and reveals the consequences of not making changes – our very own extinction. But even with that serious message it provides hope that our future can be different due to the passionate action of everyday citizens like you and I.

Often when a problem is so large, like “saving our planet”, we can feel that any actions we take to solve it don’t matter. But they do. They matter to yourself, your family, farmers and the animals and crops they raise, and ultimately our planet. Our power for change lies in society’s view of us as a consumer. Our vote goes towards what we buy and eat. We can easily change that by making different choices. It’s that simple.

Michael Pollen quote

How can we eat for a better planet? Here’s how:

1. Eat less animal. This includes meat and by-products like eggs and dairy. Even going meatless once a week (Meatless Mondays) can drastically help! This infographic shows just how much of an impact eating animal products has on the planet: eating less animal products produces less carbon emissions, reduces water use, saves forests and land and is more efficient. I’m not even going to get into the questionable ethics of the industrial food system which may provide other reasons to reduce animal product consumption (read Eating Animals or watch the documentary Earthlings – but I warn you – some of it is difficult to read and watch.)

2. Know what’s in your food. If it comes from a box and the ingredients are too long to pronounce or you don’t know what they are, don’t eat it. Chances are the processing required to make said chemicals is not only harmful to your body, but the planet as well. If you’re eating whole foods, and it can’t be traced back to organic practices or non-GMO seed, then reconsider putting it into your body. Soy, corn, canola are the worst offenders. GMO seed is also difficult to contain and readily contaminates neighbouring organic crops so is also threatening their quality as well. We need to begin speaking out to our government about the right to know what is in our food and demand GMO labelling, something that is not required in North America. Here’s a primer for more info.

3. Know what’s on your food. A great source of information is the Environmental Working Group (EWG)‘s list of the Dirty Dozen foods you should buy organic due to their pesticide content. However, buying organic foods not on this list is also important as you are sparing farm workers from being exposed to toxic chemicals and local water sources from being polluted. Everything we do to the environment, we do to ourselves.

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4. Eat your neighbours. I’m not suggesting cannibalism, I’m suggesting you buy local! Go to farmer’s markets or buy from an organic local box delivery program. Even better: grow your own! (I’m planning to try this out on my condo balcony this year!)

5. Make your own food. Not only is that going to save you money in the long run, it’ll be healthier, more fun and you’ll get to make it the way YOU like it. If you aren’t much of a cook, or think it’s difficult or time-consuming, have a look at the recipes on this site (start with the smoothies and snacks) and if you don’t like what’s here there are oodles on the Internet!

Imagine if we all voted by choosing something different, something better and more sustainable, to put at the end of our forks! I’d love to hear your ideas too! Please feel free to share below!

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