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5 Easy Swaps for a Planet-friendly Diet

March 05, 2021

We know all this talk about sustainability can be quite daunting. So why don’t we start somewhere easy - our kitchen. Have a good look at what’s inside your fridge or cupboards. You might find yourself asking questions like, where is this from? how was this sourced? and where will this go?

Sustainable swaps can be done by simply swapping out items in your diet with those that have less environmental impact like carbon emissions, land use and change of land use (like deforestation to grow soya and grain for intensive farming), and lower water consumption. It’s not always easy to make the swap but it definitely matters.

So here are Ember Biltong's 5 easy food swaps for a more planet friendly diet to get you (and us!) started on this journey.

 

1. Buy British

The benefits of buying local are endless: better taste, less food miles, supporting the local community. You name it. When you buy local, it’s most likely fresher, tastier, and healthier because it’s homegrown and picked at its ripest just before point of sale because it doesn’t need to go a long way. It has low food miles which means lower carbon emissions.

Buying local also supports your local economy and community. This encourages local producers to thrive and employ residents and ultimately produce better quality products. When local businesses are booming, they have more opportunities to create high quality products because they are able to cut on other costs like transportation which helps them to lower the price - so that’s more money in the bank for you.

But more than that, buying locally gives you more control over where the food you buy is coming from and you can hand pick producers that you know do good for the local environment.

 

2. Go wonky

Odd looking, crooked, and misshapen. Wonky vegetables and freaky fruits that are either too big or too small are considered substandard because they don’t really meet the “beauty standards” of fresh produce. Because of this, over 10 million tonnes of wonky veg and fruits either go to the bin or are left to rot every year in the UK.

Which is ridiculous if you ask us because wonky veg and fruits still have the same nutritional value and taste as the less crooked and typical looking ones you see on the shelves.

Luckily, more and more companies that offer sustainable produce boxes are popping up in the UK. Companies such as Oddbox, The Wonky Food Company, and Wonky Veg Box are now making ‘going wonky’ possible by delivering wonky seasonal veg and fruit boxes to your doorstep. Which gives us another opportunity to make our everyday lives more sustainable and planet friendly. So go wonky for a bit and see how much fruit and veg you can give a second life.

 

3. Eat less but better meat

Meat is nutritious and it’s a natural part of a healthy diet, but we don’t actually need to eat it everyday. It might be strange for a meat snacks company to be telling you to eat less meat. But we really believe it's necessary to lessen our impact upon the planet.

Many farms resort to intensive farming to keep up with demand and this is why a change of diet is necessary because it’s simply not sustainable. Admittedly, we’re so used to having it readily available that we’ve forgotten the true value of meat and the long process it takes to actually produce it.

But what does better meat exactly mean? Essentially, better meat is organic, pasture fed, and not intensively farmed. It is meat from home soil that was raised with the highest standards of animal welfare and with regenerative farming practices — how it’s meant to be (this is what also makes it tastier and more nutrient rich). Intensive farming is really bad for the environment as it massively destroys soil health and wildlife which is taking away our ability to grow food for future generations.

So the driving force really is to eat less meat but when you do make sure it is the best you can get your hands on - organic, pasture fed, and regenerative. Eating less but BETTER meat is good for your health, for our environment, and for a better food future.

 

4. Buy Organic

Did you know that there would be 50% more wildlife and 30% more species of wildlife on pesticide-free farms if you switched to buying organic carrots? Pesticides and other harmful chemicals have a really bad effect on air, soil, and the health of anything that consumes them (us too).

Going organic is definitely one of easiest ways to turn over a new leaf and start being more planet friendly. Because by not using harmful chemicals and artificial growers, it reduces non-renewable energy because harmful chemicals require high fossil fuels to produce. And most importantly, it encourages natural predators like frogs, beetles, ladybirds, and birds to roam about - naturally keeping pests in check which preserves natural soil health and biodiversity in farms that help conserve wildlife. There are a lot of other ways to support wildlife (have a read about it on our blog: How to Give Local Wildlife some Love), but here is a really good place to start.

Start making better food choices, keep your eye out for the organic label, and go for food that was grown with respect to mother nature.

 

5. Be seasonal

Eating seasonally can be easily paired with the food swaps we’ve previously mentioned. One of the best reasons for doing so is in-season produce is by far tastier and more nutritious than out of season produce. Because seasonal eating is basically eating fresh produce at a time of year when it's naturally ready for harvest.

So this definitely fits the bill when it comes to buying local and organic produce which is why it is also planet friendly (and budget friendly). Out of season produce is usually grown in a greenhouse or flown in from somewhere else that is naturally in season which can add up the expenses making it quite heavy for the pocket for both the producer and the consumer.

Produce that is in season costs us and the environment less because as you know by now, less transportation equates to lower costs and carbon emissions. And another upside is that it’s also way cheaper due to the surplus.

Next Article: Compassion in World Farming


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