In the last article, we saw how taking care of ourselves, our bodies and the planet is inextricably linked. Everyday minimum 3 times a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner - we have a choice between healing and poisoning ourselves.
The urgency of understanding the impact of our choices is felt now more than ever before. A crisis in food and agriculture is a symptom of the larger climate crises. The Climate Clock countdown shows that we have 6 years, 297 days and counting to offset global carbon emissions. This can limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degree celsius above pre industrial levels. Mainstream agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
With the intention to promote conscious food choices, many authors talk about “Food Rules” and “Must Do’s”. However each person is bound by many factors ranging from income to cultural norms and habits that determine their particular, sustained lifestyle choice. One of the Food Rules that I loved but am a little weary of is “Eat and by its extension cook the way your grandmother did” OR “ Do not eat anything that your grandmother did not consider as food”. While there is definitely some wisdom to this, the reality is that we do not live in the society, economy or polity that our grandmothers did. Priorities and expectations from life are now pulled in so many directions.
The convenience foods is now a 20 bn dollar industry. Ready to cook, ready to serve, pre-cooked meals, take-aways, online food delivery have gained traction worldwide. Simply because, Home cooking and Healthy eating just like anything worthwhile in life is continuous WORK.
Having said that, reducing your carbon footprint is not as boring or dreadful as it is made out to be. Here is a curated list of what one can do based on the tips given by the super awesome Gen Re Tribe members.
Simple, Solar Powered Food — Try to identify the last living connection of what you eat with the earth. If it comes easily to you, that what's you should consider eating more often!
Avoid Takeaways — Takeaways with all its packaging is expensive and has a high carbon footprint. But if you still have to — order foods that need less plastic packaging — foods that are drier in nature like a sandwich or pizza. Even cooler would be if you jump on the BYOC trend (Bring Your Own Container).
Consider Realistic Meal Planning — Planning your meals and portions would help to avoid wastage while also ensuring better nutrition. It is time and labor saving. Special tip for new cooks — investing in measuring cups and spoons can make your life easier. Try to make this an activity for the entire family. Shared mental responsibility goes a long way in creating a gender neutral kitchen.
Invest in quality ingredients and kitchenware — Source consciously with sustainable packaging. Try to buy in bulk locally if you can store groceries well. Invest in iron and earthenware. Buy directly from farmers. A connection with farmers is an investment in your well-being.Reduce your food miles — The distance that the given food/material travels before reaching your plate/home.
Try and Grow 30% of your food — Start with the easy ones. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, chilli, etc. Become a plant parent :) It's so satisfying. Segregate and compost your kitchen waste to further nourish your home garden.
Do It Yourself (DIY) — Especially the kind of food that brings you joy. Jams, Butters, Juices, Pickles. Consider making them yourself every once in a while.
One Pot Cooking — One Pot One Shot is an interesting approach to cooking vegetables that has surely captured my imagination. It claims maximum retention of nutrients while drastically minimising the cooking time saving labour and fuel. According to study Indians, mostly Indian women spend maximum time cooking across the world. We spend 13.2 hours/week in the kitchen while the global average is 6.5. (Market Research by GfK)
Pack your own snacks — Be a little old school and consider carrying your own laddoos, theplas,etc when you travel. Sure it needs a little planning, but trust me your gut and your wallet will thank you for it.
By doing some of these, I don’t know if you would end up eating like your grandmother. But by prioritising your well-being you would have definitely made her proud! :)