What it’s all about The UN Food Summit will be held in New York on the 21st September 2021. There are some key and pressing
When looking at your own diet, it can absolutely be a struggle for a lot of us and especially as a parent, it can be even harder. You work long hours, have to juggle household chores, increasing worries about politics, the planet and making sure little lives you’re responsible for stay happy and healthy. How easy is it to let food become a quick convenient afterthought and importantly what is that doing to our future???
Let’s look at the current challenges we face and what we can actually do about it!
The current dilemma
Being a parent and a millenial (although I bloody hate defining people based on when they were born), I’m in the beautiful position of being ultra aware of everything that passes through Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and every other social feed, warning me of the need to take action now!!! There’s a mixture of guilt, knowing that I absolutely want the best for my family and there’s the overhanging questions of am I doing enough???
Global warming and GHGE’s are kicking out at such a scary rate that it may mean by 2030, I better have taught my kids to swim!!!
The devastating reality of beautiful parts of the world will suffer from extreme flooding, draughts, poverty and extreme climate change effects makes me feel like I desperately need to do more.
It’s super easy to think that a glass of wine to switch off and throwing out my recycling is enough but the truth is I could really be doing so much more to mean that the world that I’m lucky enough to be living in is truly enjoyed and appreciated by the generations to come.
I then see the amount of carbon offsetting and greenwashing that happens and think “What’s the point??!”. I’m one person trying to make a positive difference but when the world’s richest man is able to donate $800 million in grants towards devastated areas whilst also funding social trips out in space, can I really make any difference?
Avoiding accountability isn't an option
As much as it would be easier to leave the problem to someone else, I don’t want to feel guilty for not making a positive stamp on the world. If everyone just does a little something, it doesn’t have to be difficult but it would change a huge amount of how our environment looks and feels. With our current expenditure, if we collectively looked to have a sustainable diet, we’d remove 20% of the world’s carbon emissions and importantly, would help support the economy and seasonal farming, improving sustainable living for millions in countries that are largely responsible for farming for the western world.
Knowing all this, what is holding me back from a sustainable diet for me and my family and what can I do???
Feeding a family sustainably - can it be done cheaply?
Well this is a great question that always gets asked because it really does matter. We live in a world that has a a cost of living that rises quicker than the rate of inflation, so price matters!!!
YES, YOU CAN EAT SUSTAINABLY AND CHEAPLY!!!
The key to a sustainable diet is recognising that you might have to do a tiny bit of planning. Food planning doesn’t mean spending an eternity analysing every ingredient. It means sitting down with the family and deciding what you want to have for the week.
Keeping a diet varied doesn’t mean never eating the same thing and it also doesn’t mean being perfect. Regardless of whether you’re in charge of the food shopping or just responsible for devouring it, you’re allowed to treat yourself, you’re allowed hoe comforts and go-to meals.
It’s an easy thing to say, but a simple bit of planning to not consume too much and to factor in days that you might just want to grab a takeout make sense and mean you’ll end up being more sustainable with less food waste!
What does a sustainable shop look like?
- Buying enough to minimise food waste
- Planned out choices so you can be meat-free a few days of the week
- Seasonal purchases – sounds complicated but is mega simple. Local tomatoes in June, root veg soups in the winter.
- Is it local??? This doesn’t always work out – you won’t generally find tangerines growing in your back garden but try not to make all of your food have a huge amount of air miles to it.
- Get cooking – actually cook some simple meals (there are some great recipe ideas and a planner in the Sustainable Diet course). If you’re making it, that’s energy not being used to mass produce, which is better for the environment and for your health.
I've seen loads of diets! How does this actually help my family and their health?
There is a world of difference between a ‘diet plan’ or what is commonly used to describe a short term fix and what a DIET ACTUALLY IS!!!
Eating healthy and feeling great doesn’t have to be that taxing, even when balancing out the busy, hectic schedule that comes with day to day living. Moderation is key in a lot of aspects of life and having a sustainable diet is part of that.
By putting effort into pre-planning before a food shop, building in days that you might just want to order food or have a super-quick, low hassle meal can really help take the stress off of impulse buying in a food shop and reduce waste.
How does a sustainable diet help you and your family? I’ll show you each action and the benefits!!!
I feel like I eat ok but I can't seem to get the body I want
This is one of the best bits about a sustainable diet and it helps anyone in your household that will take this in as part of their lifestyle. Please don’t just take my advice on this – look for any influencer that wants to try and sell you their plan or their ‘magical solution’:
Now the idea of a six pack is partly in our genetics and how our abdominal muscles are naturally split. You can’t force that but you can change the fat that sits on top and feel great. The idea of how much fat we carry in our body can be hugely affected by the amount of food we eat and this also impacts how we look and feel.
A sustainable diet helps feel great, look great and be healthy in several ways:
- Less overconsumption (Most diets fail in part to underestimation of calories in)
- Less processed foods (our body has two extremes with processed food – easy to digest and burn less calories or harder to digest because of high fat and sugar levels, which leads to more visceral fat and fat in the bloodstream)
- Your body works better! (High sugar and high processed fats lower your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and work at a high level.
- Less yo-yo diets. A Sustainable diet isn’t like the Atkins, or Cambridge, or Slimming World or anything like that (which all have their pros and cons). There isn’t calorie counting and the simple idea is that we eat the foods we’ve actually been designed to naturally eat. You’re not starving your body and you’re allowing it to work the way it is meant to. It is a lifestyle change that means you get to enjoy the food and drink you want to, just with the focus that you eat a varied diet that respects the planet.
It’s no coincidence that the Mediterranean and Okinawa diets that are general natural, varied, have local products, oily fats give the highest life expectancy in the world!
What should I take from this?
A sustainable diet can be great fun and give you a lot of freedom whilst doing something good for your family, your wallet and your waistline. Learning how a sustainable diet can become part of your life might just give your environment and your family the quality of life you all deserve.
Sustainability is about it being able to endure – this is in terms of production, logistics, consumption and guess what… your ability to keep to it!
Enjoy your food, get learning and start to make the mini changes that keep everyone healthier!
Why now? Our planet needs us! We look at how altering the way that we feed animals, manage them, their space and how we use