What is Sustainable Food?

As pointed out in my “about-text”, I am currently researching and gaining more insight how to eat sustainable food because it’s not longer optional: every consumer has a crucial responsibility to eat more sustainable. 1/3 of the global greenhouse effect is caused by the food production and 2/3 of this comes from meat, milk and eggs. The worst choice is beef because the cows’ digesting makes them produce methane. I can warmly recommend the book “Miljö-dieten” by M.Lundin and D.Öhman that simply explains what sustainable food is and why we should eat more sustainable. What is more, if you are a “trendy foodie” as me, that followed the whole-grain/ light-fat trend 10 years ago and “kvarg-trend” 4 years ago. Now, Sustainable food is the new IT (apart from eating organic but this has somehow become standardized.) The only difference is that you’re saving this earth for generations to come. Sustainable food is also better for your health since your new mindful consumption will exclude processed food with unlimited of artificial substances. You’ll eat clean nutrition in other words. The EAT-foundation also stresses the fact that sustainable food will reduce the amount of the global health-diseases caused by food. 

My key words for eating sustainable food:

CLEAN, SEASONAL, VEGANBIASED, ORGANIC & LOCALLY PRODUCED! 

SEASONAL

This has actually become one of my most important goals this year: To eat vegetables and fruits seasonally. The food industry uses as much as 30% of the world’s fossil energy. In Scandinavia we have the privilege to eat any type of vegetables anytime during the year: you can always buy tomatoes to your tacos, pomegranates to your salad and bananas to your smoothiebowl. However, the problem is that the vegetables that are out-of-season, are cultivated in green houses. Vegetables that are cultivated on land seasonally only uses 1/20 as much energy. Kind of scary isn’t it? Well it definitely triggers me to eat more seasonally. Also, tropical fruits and nuts that we import from south Europe are seasonal during our Swedish summer and autumn.

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VEGANBIASED

I believe that we, with our genes that originally stems from the stoneage human, need meat and thus the previous years I have preferred the paleo-diet with some exceptions every now and then. However, since meat and eggs are the main reasons to the greenhouse gas effect, we need to compromise this for future generations. Some individuals might even prefer a vegan or vegetarian diet because they feel better with this type of food. So you need to figure out what your body and mind needs. In my current sustainable diet I strive to eat beef only once a week, eggs every second day and I use mashed tomatoes, coconut milk, oat milk and coconut fat instead of cow milk or butter. I call this “veganbiased” since I strive to eat a diet towards the vegan one but still eat meat and some dairy products like feta cheese and parmesan cheese, but definitely in smaller amounts. My main protein sources have become: wild meat, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, beans, lenses, quinoa and nuts.

ORGANIC

Why eat organic? I love this discussion theme because there are still some “anti-organic” consumers left. There are plenty of benefits to eat organic, so I will make sure to convince the organic food sceptics. Apart from the “financial dilemma”, not everyone can afford eating organic and I understand that but on the other hand you will probably throw away less food since the waste becomes more expensive: this is beneficial for both your wallet and the food waste issue. However, there is another common pitfall about organic food that I will discuss further below.

Organic food is more nutritious than non-organic food since the cultivating process better preserves the fragile nutritious content and thus you will actually need less amount of food because your daily need gets fulfilled. In most cases it contains less artificial substances, that is better for your health and it also tastes miles better.

So what is the pitfall? When I was working with corporate sustainability consulting one of my colleagues actually had a good point when it comes to organic food. Instead of cultivating 1000 non-organic bananas assume you might only get the half of it, 500 bananas, because of the more mindful and time-consuming process: this result in an inefficient agriculture. Having in mind we need to feed all people on this planet, an efficient agriculture is crucial for a sustainable food production. Thus we need to make the organic agriculture more efficient without destroying the fragile nutritious content. This is a great challenge! However, despite this argument, organic production also excludes life-threating pesticides for both the labour force and the consumer. So are you convinced now? I hope so. There is some food that I always buy organic as bananas, grapes and capsicum. I rather exclude these in my diet than buying non-organic.

LOCALLY PRODUCED

Local producers are champions according to me, at least the ones that are striving for a sustainable production. The benefits of buying locally produced food are that you reduce the transportation distance that is valuable for the environment as well as for the fragile nutritious content. You will eat as fresh food as possible. Furthermore, the more we support local producers through buying their food, the more locally eaters we can become.