1. Buy From Your Local Farmers Market
By visiting your local farmers market you can purchase food that is local, seasonal and organic. When shopping at a big grocery store we lose touch with what is season because the food will be flown in from thousands of miles a away. Shipping uses lots of unnecessary resources unlike food grown locally which is usually cheaper. You can find info about bay area farmers markets here. Find a farmers market near you at Eatwild.com
2. Choose Organic
When we choose organic produce we protect the groundwater and soil from harmful pesticides. Did you know we have to pay taxes to remove harmful pesticides from our drinking water? Does that make sense? Many times the farmers in your area do not use pesticides or fertilizers so getting to know your farmer is a great idea. Sometimes small farms do use organic methods but can not afford the certification so it is up to you to do a little investigation. Another good way to help the planet and small farms is to join a CSA which will give you lots of nutritious veggies each week. Every time we buy organic are making a powerful vote to protect the earth for future generations.
3. Reduce and Avoid GMO’s
Also by choosing organic foods we can protect ourselves and the planet from untested genetically modified foods that were introduced into our food supply in the 1990′s. Organic labeling is one of the only ways to protect yourself from eating these GMO foods. A big problem with GMO crops is that they contaminate crops of other farmers nearby. In Europe, Japan, and Australia labels are required on these foods so consumers can have a choice about what they eat. These crops have unknown consequences because they were never adequately test. We are the first of several generations of tests subjects (I didn’t sign up for that). These genetically altered crops have been shown to cause liver damage in mice so what is it doing to livestock and humans who regularly eat these crops? According to Canadian scientists, the pesticides used on genetically modified (GM) crops are able to survive in our digestive tracts and move into our bloodstreams. Bee populations who pollinate our food have also been seriously affected by GMO pesticides which means that the entire circle of life is in jeopardy.
4. Eat Wild Fish
Genetically Engineered salmon are still under review but could be approved soon without labeling. This means that these fish will contaminate wild stocks and could cause more seafood allergies in people. GM fish still need to eat other fish to grow so they do not solve the overfishing problem. GE Salmon also need antibiotics to stay alive because they grow in crowded pools filled with their own feces which mimic the factory farming of cows, chickens, and pigs. One more problem with farmed fish is that they usually eat GMO corn and soybeans which have hormonal repercussions in humans. Also wild fish have more beneficial omega-3 fats when compared to farmed fish and isn’t that the main reason we are eating fish in the first place? My favorites are wild Alaska salmon and Pacific sardines which are both low in mercury and have a good score on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainability Chart and App. See their site to find current recommendations. Some US, Canadian, or NZ farmed shellfish are also safe.
“We have succeeded in industrializing the beef calf, transforming what was once a solar-powered ruminant into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine.”-Micheal Pollan
5. Eat Grass Fed Beef, Lamb and Buffalo
Raising corn and soy for livestock feeding takes millions of gallons of petroleum to produce and a typical steer will consume 284 gallons of oil in it’s lifetime. “Much of the carbon footprint of beef comes from growing grain to feed the animals, which requires fossil-fuel-based fertilizers, pesticides, transportation,” says Michael Pollan. On the other hand ruminants eating grass are in a sustainable pasture system (aka. grass field) that preserves the soil and ground water. Farmers don’t need to use fertilizers or pesticides to maintain their pastures and need no energy to produce what their animals eat other than what they get free from the sun. Another issue is that excess phosphorus from factory farm runoff slowly ends up in many lakes where the nutrients lead to plant and algae growth which can turn pristine lakes into smelly swamps with lots of dead fish. Look for good organic grass fed farms near you at eatwild.com. Also you can buy great grass fed beef from U.S. Wellness meats.
5. Avoid Packaged Foods
When we mostly eat organic veggies and meat there is less packaging involved which means less to throw away. Bring your own cloth bag or glass containers and you will be reducing your impact even more. Packaged foods are usually contaminated with wheat, corn, and soy products so they will be less friendly to the earth and our waistline.
Especially Plastic bottled water is a problem because it has fat promoting BPA so it is a losing proposition all the way around. I choose San Pellegrino or Gerolstiener water because they are packaged in glass and have extra minerals.
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6. Use Coconut Oil