Australians have one of the largest per capita dietary environmental footprints in the world. And with over 25 countries declaring a climate crisis, it’s no wonder many of us are turning to more eco friendly ways of life this new year – particularly in our diets. And if The Economist dubbing vegan diets ‘The Diet of 2019’ isn’t proof enough then I don’t know what is!
But the thing is, many who decide to drastically change their diet overnight don’t stick with it. Why? Because jumping right in is not as easy as it seems.
That’s why we’ve developed four small steps to get you on track to having an eco friendly diet.
1. Take a Flexitarian Approach
With only 11% of Australians being vegetarians it is highly unrealistic to expect the remaining 89% to drastically reduce their meat consumption. However, switching to a flexitarian mindset (eating meat less regularly) is achievable. #meatfreemonday
Take myself for example, I’m not a vegan or vegetarian because I do enjoy eating meat on occasion. But that’s the thing – it’s only on occasion (once a week if that). And when I do eat meat it is usually the type with the lower environmental impact such as chicken or pork anyway. So that’s a small step with a big win!
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
– Anne Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef
And if you’re wondering about how I keep my iron levels up, well there’s loads of other foods out there that can be used as an iron substitute.
2. Use Regular Recipes But Substitute
Something I was guilty of before I cut back on my meat consumption was assuming that no meat meant having to find entirely new recipes. I was so wrong!
Today, with the variety of foods we have available in supermarkets we can simply find a substitute.
Great substitutes can be mushrooms, beans, cauliflower, tofu, you name it!
There’s even meatless meat that you can get from your supermarkets. One of our favourites is AltMeat Co. With the regular seasoning of your favourite dish you wouldn’t even know the difference.
What’s even better, is that adding these fruits and vegetables to your diet instead of meat means your more likely to reach your daily intake – something only 3 in 5 Aussies achieve regularly.
Check out our favourite meatless food ideas:
3. Eat In Season Foods
One of the biggest contributors to our climate crisis is how the food industry functions. Particularly in how food is transported around the world so that even when food is not in season it’s still available in stores. That’s globalisation in it’s finest.
But despite the convenience it creates by allowing us to have the heavenly avocado on our plates all year round, it accounts for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s A LOT!
The easiest and most impactful way to stop this is to only buy fruit and vegetables when they’re in season. This means flexing your patience and finding alternate foods to eat.
4. Grow It
This might be mind blowing to hear, but you can actually grow more food from the food you’ve already bought. These are foods like carrots, lettuce, beetroot, spring onions, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, the list goes on!
The most important part of growing your own food is that it reduces waste by using the scraps of your food and also helps your environment thrive by reducing the impact of harmful pesticides and fertilisers, and by reducing the use of fossil fuels by cutting back on transport.