JEFF TIEDEMAN: Going greenGoing green is the term that has become synonymous with being environmentally friendly. And while some continue to go about business as usual, more people have found that it does not have to be a difficult challenge or lifestyle adjustment and have embraced this concept. Another way to promote sustainable living on our planet is through the foods we eat. Going green begins with what’s on our plates.
Did you do anything to celebrate Earth Day?
Held in the U.S. and around the world each April 22 since 1970, the largest secular holiday in the world features events to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. (It now is observed in 175 countries by more than a half-billion people.) In fact, some communities devote an entire week (it just ended Sunday) to activities focusing on these issues.
Going green is the term that has become synonymous with being environmentally friendly. And while some continue to go about business as usual, more people have found that it does not have to be a difficult challenge or lifestyle adjustment and have embraced this concept.
For example, more people are recycling trash, building a compost bin, riding a bike on short errands, using nondisposable bags, switching light bulbs to CFLs.
Another way to promote sustainable living on our planet is through the foods we eat. Going green begins with what’s on our plates.
There are several ways to do this:
— Plant a garden. This is a good reminder of where are food originates, and it’s very easy.
— Go flexitarian. Give up meat for one day a week. High protein alternatives to meat include tofu, amaranth or quinoa. (A study by the University of Chicago found that consuming no animal products is 50 percent more effective at fighting global warming than switching from a standard car to a hybrid.)
— Consider poultry instead of red meat. Chickens and turkeys use a lot less resources to raise. And poultry is cheaper.
— Prepare dishes that are easy on the environment. Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes typically have the highest pesticide levels, so go organic with these. Onions, avocados, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, frozen peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papayas typically have the lowest levels.
— Eat locally. These foods have a low carbon footprint. Buying organic local foods also will allow farmers to remain in business, thereby benefiting your local economy.
— Buy healthier and sustainable fish. Tuna has been terribly overharvested, and these practices have a negative impact on the ocean ecosystems. These fish also have a very high buildup of toxins in their meat. Many people are switching from tuna to sardines.
— Plan your weekly menu. Frequent trips to the grocery store and impulse buying convenience items can add up added expense.
— Avoid impulse buying. This has no place in a structured green-eating-habits guide that you may have worked hard to enforce at home.
— Keep your freezer full. Full freezers use much less energy than one that is only partially filled.
— Buy in bulk. It is much cheaper to scoop your own cereals, grains and nuts than it is to buy the overpackaged items at the grocery store.
As you can see, taking green practices to the dinner table not only benefits the enviroment, it also saves you money.
Now, that’s a cause to celebrate.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.