Plant-based foods use less land, water and fuel, and create less pollution than meat and dairy products. A 2018 study of the impacts of 40 foods from 40,000 farms across 119 countries found that eating less or no animal-based food is critical for reducing our impact on the environment, our health and animal welfare. The World Health Organization says a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and grains is the best path to health and longevity. The bigger the proportion of a person’s diet they comprise, the greater the benefit. These are some of the products to look for, cut down on , or eliminate:
– Try not to buy food made with palm oil, which often grown in monoculture that degrades soil and leads to deforestation. A 2017 Amnesty International report found the industry used banned pesticides, exploited farmworkers and used forced and child labour. The chocolate and coffee industries have similar issues.
– Buy organic, not because it is just better for your own body, but because it reduces farmworkers’ exposure to many fertilisers and pesticides.
– Avoid meat produced with hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Beef is a prime example.
– Don’t buy eggs from concentrated animal feeding operations – “cage-free” isn’t as lovely as you think, that is, the issue of caged chickens is only part of the problem.
– Pick fish from sustainable species that won’t exacerbate overfishing.
– About 40 per cent of edible food is wasted, thrown out, squandering resources like water, land and fuel. Cook less, finish what you prepare.
– Try to eat less anyway. Fewer calories is a key to longevity and better health, and reduces resource use of all kinds.
( based on an article by P. K. Newby, an associate professor of nutrition at Harvard, and author of Food and Nutrition: New Scientist. Jan 2019).
My comment: I realise that what missing from the above short piece are better examples what to avoid; also how to find out what is genuinely produced without fertilisers, hormones, steroids, antibiotics etc. – and what to trust. Suggestions from readers gratefully received! I am not a food scientist.