Sustainable eating is about choosing foods that are healthful to our environment as well as our bodies.
Reducing Waste with Souping
Close to eight million tonnes of food was wasted in Spain in 2014; a problem so perturbing, that the Spanish government was spurred to take action.
Although waste occurs in various sectors, we can always do something to help at home. Introducing souping: a new alternative to juicing that is already catching on in LA.
Where juicing discards the rind, seeds, and pulp of fruit and vegetables, soup keeps this wonderful fibre. Any vegetable, meat, rice, pasta or beans leftovers from the day before make an effortless addition, without any extra cooking time required.
For that reason, it aids sustainability by preventing unnecessary food wastage. In winter especially, the addition of spices, such as ginger, garlic and turmeric, can do wonders for your immune system. Experiment, innovate – it’s hard to go wrong.
Limiting Meat Consumption
The livestock market is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, generating 14.5 per cent globally. Not only this, but the production of grain to feed animals leads to major deforestation, and consequently, a harrowing loss of biodiversity.
Thus, we can conclude that limiting the amount of meat we eat is essential – those unwilling to resort to absolute veganism could participate in the ‘Meat-free Mondays’ campaign.
Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney introduced this concept, to raise awareness of the detrimental impact of eating meat on the environment and our health, by giving it up only once a week; in the UK, renowned chef Jamie Oliver has furthered this movement. Little by little, we can help alter our lifestyle to improve the future state of our planet.
Maximising Agricultural Productivity with Pulses
The United Nations has labelled 2016 the official International Year of Pulses (IYO), in the hope that this quintessential, yet underrated, food group will spike in popularity.
The reason: to ensure a sustainable diet for our future, at a time when our immoderate consumption threatens the environment. As pulses can fix their own nitrogen in the soil, there is less need for fertilisers, which plays a part in reducing greenhouse emissions.
Their low food wastage footprint means that they can be stored for long periods of time without losing their nutritional value; further, they are vital in the developing world, due to their drought-resistance and affordability.
Unfortunately, this is why they have been stigmatised as a ‘poor man’s food’ – we remain unaware of the health benefits of these minute nutritional powerhouses. They are densely packed with proteins, making them an important source of vegetable protein for vegans and vegetarians, as well as rich in complex carbohydrates and numerous micronutrients – the benefits are endless.
Local and Seasonal at its Best
Enter any supermarket and you’ll see pineapples imported from South America, strawberries from Turkey, bananas from the Canary Islands. Although we may not realise it, the transportation and refrigeration of these on the way harms the environment immensely.
By purchasing local produce, we not only lessen greenhouse gases, but also enrich the local economy, as well as enjoy seasonal goods at the peak of their ripeness.
The additional advantage of buying organic products, is that you can assure no chemicals have been used (these can seep into groundwaters and unsettle the natural balance). With Spain’s fruitful plains, you can find exceptional produce straight from the fields in Coín, or even easier, in the weekly markets in Marbella and San Pedro.
We cannot deny that there is a certain element of enchantment in selecting from heaps of fresh fruit and vegetables – perhaps you will even be encouraged to grow your own!
Words Marisa Cutillas