Go On a ‘Low Carbon’ Diet: 4 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food’s Carbon Footprint
What you put on your plate directly affects climate change. Eat responsibly!
While most of the world is running after a low-carb diet, some of us are losing sleep over attaining a low-carbon diet.
For the uninitiated, a low-carbon diet entails eating in a manner that is eco-friendly, sustainable, and doesn’t add to the staggering carbon footprints of the food industry.
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The carbon footprint, essentially, is rapidly accelerating climate change. The health of our planet has taken a beating, and among the four high-impact reasons – air travel (2.5 per cent of global CO2 emissions), having two or more children (on an average a person emits 21 metric tons of CO2 every year), owning a car (a regular passenger vehicle emits close to 4.6 metric tons of CO2 per year) and having a meat and heavy dairy diet (raising livestock contributes to 18 per cent of greenhouse emissions worldwide) – it’s the diet which scores the most number of points in its contribution to a massive carbon footprint.
Though this may sound like high-funda jargon, it is fairly easy to understand. Make some lifestyle changes to make the planet a better place. You could additionally reap some health benefits while saving the environment.
1. It’s nothing we don’t know already: Don’t waste food
It’s not hard to calculate the number of resources that go into our food, starting from the production right until the final dish comes on to our plates. Imagine the loss every time you end up wasting food: about 224 crore worth of food is wasted in a day in India alone, and about 194 million Indians go hungry every day.
Keep your mantra simple: Take less than what you can eat. You can always go back and refill your plate!
2. Go local and seasonal in your diet
For every food item that has travelled across cities and countries, an obscene amount of ‘food mile’ is given off. The transportation emissions from the air and road travel of some ‘superfoods’ can be off-set by opting for local, regional and seasonal produce. The CO2 given off in air-freighted foods are just not worth it. Give kale and zucchini a miss, our local fruits and vegetables pack in more nutrients than you would imagine.
If you must absolutely have kale, opt for locally made stuff, such as these wafers.
3. Limit meat and dairy consumption in your diet
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An insane amount of land, crops, water and energy goes into raising livestock for human consumption. The total greenhouse emissions from the meat industry alone account for 14.5 per cent of the carbon footprint worldwide today, and the most effective way to help is to reduce your intake drastically. Opt for vegan or vegetarian options (at least for one out of three meals in a day) because they have a relatively lower carbon footprint.
4. Avoid processed and packaged food
When you refuse heavily packaged and processed food, not only do you cut down the trash you send to the landfill, but also minimise the use of energy and resources needed for the packaging in the first place. It is unreasonable to give up on foods that come packaged; but you can definitely opt for ones that are plastic-free and biodegradable, such as this one here.
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A low-carbon diet isn’t a fad, it should now be your way of life. It’s time you did a wee bit for your body, the environment, and the future generation.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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