Many of us want to live a healthier, greener life, but are not sure where to start. One way to incorporate both healthy and green habits into your life is to follow sustainable consumption practices.
To truly live sustainably, we need to demonstrate practices that promote regrowth, reuse and renewal of our resources, both in how we eat and what we eat.
Below are tips, recipes and expert sources you can use to understand what it means to eat sustainably, and how you can incorporate sustainable consumption practices into your life, starting now. Consider this your summer of sustainable eating!
- Prioritize plant-based eating – Living sustainably doesn’t mean you have to be a vegetarian or a vegan—but substituting renewable, plant-based foods where you can promotes a healthy ecosystem. Instead of a 100% beef-burger, try a blended burger made with part beef and part nutrient-rich mushrooms (crimini or white button work well). Practice “meatless Mondays” and cut out meat one day a week. Try the Zucchini Veggie Burger or Vegetable Meatloaf from Vitamix.
- Purchase local – One of the major pain points of food production is the environmental harm caused by producing foods that are shipped far and wide for purchase. Opt to buy produce and goods from local farmers’ markets (common during summer and fall months), supermarkets that locally source produce, or local community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups to reduce the effects of production and shipping.
- Using the whole foods – According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), roughly one third of the food produced worldwide for human consumption is wasted, and fruits and vegetables have the highest waste rate. But, food can be upcycled in a variety of ways. Try saving scraps, shavings and leftovers from veggies like summer squash or zucchini to blend in your Vitamix machine for a hearty soup, or using a carrot’s leafy top for a carrot pesto. Transform near-end or “ugly” produce into smoothies for a quick and easy breakfast.
- Make the most of your waste – Try as we might, some food may be past the point of saving. In that case, compost food that would normally go to waste, like coffee grounds, banana peels, egg shells, fruit and vegetable peels and scraps. Your Vitamix machine can help speed up the process by breaking these items down before they go into your compost heap. Repurpose compost in your garden to promote growth of your own fruits, veggies and herbs. Not sure where to start? Learn more with our beginner’s guide to composting.
- Practice Mindfulness – Want to take your sustainable consumption one step further? Try riding your bike or taking public transportation to the market to cut down on your environmental footprint, prefer fresh to packaged, and always bring reusable bags.
Change will not happen overnight, but any sustainable practices you can adopt, however small, will help your community—and the planet. If you’re interested in learning how you can shop more sustainably, visit the United States Department of Agriculture to find local farmers’ markets near you.
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