Swap the tinned beans and lentils and switch to the good old- fashioned way of buying beans, nuts and seeds: dried, in bulk. Not only saves the extra packaging (whether it’s plastic or cans) but also saves you weekly trips to the shops, keeps your food free of unnecessary leaching of chemicals and saves you a few pennies.
If you already have reusable coffee cup, try moving up another level and get yourself a travel kit: reusable cutlery, water bottle, straw and a reusable shopping bag. If you have a twice weekly take away lunch, you could save up to 100 items of plastic cutlery in 6 months, all because you remembered to take a reusable spoon and fork. I never remove mine from my bag, so I know it’s always available even if I forget to pack.
If you already do your bit by recycling, that’s fantastic! Ever thought to also ‘upcycling’ items that could have a second life in your kitchen? Turn used tins of food into pencil stands or flower pots and use your nut butter jars for your take away breakfasts or to store your bulk seeds and nuts.
This is how I reuse my old nut butter jars for my overnight oat recipe conveyor belt:
Start saying NO
Become ferocious at saying no to plastic bags in shops, straws in coffee shops and unnecessary receipts. If you forgot your bags, perhaps you can see a paper bag hanging around by the veg isle or can use an old storage box at the check out instead? Think twice before you make a decision: is there a more sustainable alternative?
Extend your awareness beyond your food habits and look into lifestyle as well: buses and trains now offer e-tickets instead of paper ones. Could you switch to these?
What else could you do differently?
'Healthy' doesn’t mean sustainable
Blinded by the marketing of particular foods and produce, it’s easy to choose foods only because of their health benefits, without seeing the full picture. Ancient South American ‘health foods’ quinoa and chia seeds have seen such a demand in the Western world, it has put a strain on it’s local production sites and economies and has hugely increased carbon emissions.
When I was little, I used to eat buckwheat for breakfast because there was barely anything else around and it was local and cheap. Now I look at the pack of my breakfast buckwheat and it comes all the way to China. Doesn't make any sense, does it?
Keep an eye on where your food comes from- do you really need all these fancy superfoods? Goji berries, that are supposed to be super high in vitamin C do not contain much of it when they go through the processing and long shipping timelines. Turn to your local superfoods that are packed with nutrients and phytonutrients, like the UK’s local superhero blackcurrant.
Watch-outs if you're vegetarian or vegan
Even if you follow a vegetarian or entirely vegan diet, it's really important to get familiar with where your food comes from. If you have committed to eating this way because of environmental reasons, it is still necessary to familiarise yourself with food origin and production methods. Alongside beef, soya is one of the main reasons why deforestation is taking place in the Amazon Rainforest so vote with your money and choose a sustainable source.
Medical disclaimerI am not a doctor, medical professional or a dietician. The information I provide is based on my professional experience as a Nutritional Therapist, studies provided and on my personal experience. Any recommendations I may make about diet changes, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle, or information provided to you on this website should be discussed between you and a medical or healthcare professional. The information you receive in these blogs does not take the place of professional medical advice.