Eat smart for your health, the planet and your pocket

We who are more privileged devour nearly a ton of food a year. Satisfying our collective voracious appetite is putting tremendous strain on the planet, our health and the planet.

We use poisonous agrochemicals that adversely affect our bodies and leach into our soils and potable water; we overfish; we cause mass dying-off of bees (that we rely on to fertilise foods) and habitat loss. The changing climate (20% of carbon impacts on climate change are from agriculture) and intensifying extreme climate events like droughts, fires and floods, threaten our food security and are greatly increasing food prices.

A billion on the planet go to bed hungry every night. One third of all food produced is wasted. Another billion rely on our disappearing fish stocks as their primary protein. The excessive amount of meat consumed is perhaps most damaging with one third of world grain production feeding livestock, and using massive amounts of pesticides and fertilisers. Obesity (which 40% of women in this country suffer from) has become one of the biggest killers in our society, but millions of children are severely underweight.

Clearly something is wrong with the way we interact with food. It is time for us to be more aware of our eating habits, from farm to fork, and what can be done to modify these for our own health, for the planet we call home, and our budgets.

  • Read labels! First choice should be healthy and sustainable food that is produced, transported, processed, bought or sold and eaten in ways that provide benefit for the planet and people, and contribute to thriving local economies, protect natural resources and respond to climate change.
  • There are easily accessible sources of locally grown seasonal food (not exotic fruit and veg flown in out of season), organic and free range poultry, meat, eggs and dairy raised and run in a humane way is increasingly easy to source with more markets, online and home delivery of weekly boxes – see some links below.
  • A small vegetable and herb garden can provide more than enough for a family. There is no greater joy than eating and gifting what you grow. If you live in an apartment, veg and herbs do well in pots on balconies and windowsills.
  • Think ahead, plan a week’s meals and purchase only what you need.
  • If you eat meat, eat less of it. Meat-free Mondays is catching on worldwide. The latest study suggests we eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day for better health.
  • The brilliant SMS Fish and App you find on http://wwfsassi.co.za/ allows you to instantly check if the fish you are ordering or buying is sustainable.
  • Avoid buying food in exessive packaging that rack up carbon and natural resource costs and can lead to ingestion of chemicals, such as formaldehyde linked to cancer risk, and others that disrupt hormone balance.
  • Compost bins are great for gardeners.
  • Distributing left overs and unused food to the ever growing number of poor on our streets and at traffic lights is easy.

GAUTENG

 

KWAZULU-NATAL

WESTERN CAPE

Let us know what “green” info you would like to hear more about for future blogs: environmental, climate, recycling, food, resources, biodiversity or other.

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