There are many ways to reduce your impact on climate change and make better use of our precious resources. One is diet.
Changing from the traditional Western diet to more sustainable eating could cut greenhouse gas emissions by a massive 70% and water use by 50% [i]
Simple changes such as eating fewer animal products, using less plastic, eating more fresh produce and reducing food wastage can make a real difference to your carbon footprint.
Don't waste food
According to FoodWise, Australians throw away around 20% of the food they buy[ii]. Food waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Food in landfill emits greenhouse gasses, including methane. So shop smaller and more often if you can and use leftovers or freeze them for later if possible.
Use less plastic
Today, there are many non-plastic alternatives to storing food in plastic. These include using reusable shopping bags and reusable wrapping and coffee cups to avoiding takeout in plastic containers and ditching single-use plastic water bottles.
Less meat, more plants
No doubt, cutting down on meat is one of the most significant ways to reduce greenhouse gases, mainly methane. Research shows that reducing meat intake is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint [iii]
Dairy products are the second largest contributor to individuals' greenhouse gas emissions after meat[iv]. Ilmi Granoff from the U.K.'s Overseas Development Institute said: "the fastest way to address climate change would be to dramatically reduce the amount of meat people eat."
Fibre to feed your microbiome
Those who consume most plant-based foods had the lowest emission of greenhouse gases[v]. These fibre-rich foods provide prebiotics to feed probiotics. Growing your own food – in a garden or community garden – also helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Foods are not transported long distances and packaging is not needed either.
Foods rich in prebiotics include onions, garlic, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, legumes including chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans, bananas, bran, barley, oats, almonds and other nuts. These are examples of fermentable fibre. Try adding nuts and seeds to high fibre breakfast cereal with plant milk, choose wholegrain reads, add legumes to soups salads and stews. Legumes nuts tofu and mycoprotein are great sources of protein as are plant-based protein supplements.
Plus, recycling rainwater, composting, gardening organically helps too. One study [i] found that the importance of fibre hugely connected with gut microbes. Eating plenty of fibre feeds probiotics which thrive and increase in number and variety. The healthier your microbiome, the thicker the mucus wall. A thicker mucus barrier lowers inflammation throughout the body and probiotics aid digestion.[ii] increasing fibre too quickly can cause digestive problems such as gas, and intestinal blockages. So increase your intake slowly and steadily.
Go local and in season
Supporting local producers may help to reduce your carbon emissions since transportation isn't needed. Plus, you may find some local delicacies unique to your area.
The U.N. believes that a global shift toward plant-based food is vital if we are to combat the worst effects of climate change. Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world's transportation systems combined.