by Jeannine Re McNamara, RD
A famous frog once said, “It isn’t easy being green”, but maybe he was mistaken.
People are realizing how much easier green eating is on our bodies as well as the environment, and the overwhelming popularity has increased the availability of green products, as well. But the whole “Going Green” revolution isn’t a completely new concept.
Started in the 1970s
It actually started way back in the 1970s with such books as “Diet For a Small Planet” (Lappe’ 1971) and “Recipes for a Small Planet” (Ewald 1977). These books were based on the premise that meat production had a big negative impact on the environment and the energy used to feed and raise one Steer could produce far more vegetarian protein sources and feed a much larger population while improving their health.
More recently, the concept that started almost 45 years ago has been expanded upon and given the term “Green Eating”. Green eating is the practice of choosing healthy, natural unprocessed foods, which benefits our health and our environment. Eating green can lower your weight as well as your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Purchasing Fresh Local
Fresh foods require less energy for processing and contain fewer pesticides, helping to protect the air, land, and wildlife from harm. Purchasing fresh local grown foods cuts back on the gas and emissions from transporting foods grown elsewhere, as well as supporting people in your own community.
So although we may not literally be “green” a la Kermit, following some basic principles makes keeping our world green pretty easy.
Basic Principles to Eating Green
Choose Colorful Foods:
The vibrant greens, oranges and reds of vegetables, fruits and grains can help color your plate while adding healthy antioxidents, vitamins and minerals
Choose Organic Locally Grown Foods:
Organic means less pesticides which is better for the environment and our bodies. Local, seasonal choices decrease gas and emissions produced to transport foods grown far away, while helping our “neighbors”. However, when choosing organic products be sure they aren’t shipped from far away.
Eat More Raw:
For more fiber, vitamins and minerals and reduced use of energy.
Reduce Meat Consumption:
Reduces the risk of many diseases, while limiting the use of the most resource-intensive food. This practice is one of the greenest changes you can make.
Make Just Enough:
Limit how much you cook for each meal to limit food waste. On the other hand producing large enough amounts of foods at once to portion and freeze for later use, is energy saving, but only if waste is avoided.
Purchase foods in bulk or recyclable/biodegradable packaging. Recycle everything possible.
Grow Your Own:
Starting a vegetable garden is a great way to have more colorful foods available, save money and reduce pesticide use. And can also be a great family activity, teach the kids about being green.
Go For “Old” Food:
Whenever possible purchase heirloom versions of fresh produce. These foods are not genetically altered and can increase the variety of nutrients in your diet. Some believe the scientifically altered foods available are not as natuaraly useful to our bodies.