.Part 1: Nutrition & the Environment and what it all boils down to

via The New Yorker

Why is organic expensive and why buy it?

Organic products are more expensive because of higher production costs. These include the cost of organic seeds and fertilizers, labor, lower yields of certain crops, and marketing. Organic products are also not subsidized by the government, as are commercially produced products. The growing of organic products prevents soil depletion and contributes to maintaining water quality; it uses less energy and keeps harmful and unnecessary chemicals off our plates. Organic products are not exposed to antibiotics: buying them means you help protect farm workers and support an economy that promotes biodiversity. Most importantly, the taste and flavor are so much better.

It is also wise to avoid crops that have been grown with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Check the source of the meat, eggs, and dairy you buy; milk, cheese, eggs, meat, and poultry could all come from animals that were given GMO feed. If you are concerned, choose organic or non-GMO verified. Certified organic products do NOT contain GMOs. Look for the no-GMO label. The five most prevalent GMO crops – corn, canola, soy, cotton, and sugar beets – end up as hidden additives in all kinds of prepared foods including corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents, thickeners and hundreds of other foods.

Feel good about frozen: most frozen fruit and vegetables are non-GMO unless they are one of these five high-risk crops: corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame (soybeans), zucchini and yellow summer squash. Choose organic or non-GMO verified for those five and watch out for other ingredients that might be from a high-risk crop. Choosing dried beans, grains, nuts and seeds, while avoiding corn and soy, is a great way to go non-GMO.

How do I eat more sustainably?

Support local and organic when you can. Shop at farmer’s markets whenever you can. Buy directly from an organic farm (great for meat, apples, pears, berries – things that freeze and store well). Join a Food Coop, e.g. the Ontario Natural Food Coop. Support Community Shared Agriculture. Join a community garden or grow your own; a window and pot are enough to get started. Use the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 lists as a reference. Use the Environmental Working Group’s website as a reference.

via food network

How do I save money and eat well?

Plan your meals. Buy in bulk. Batch cook. Make your own stock, milk, nut/seed butter, dips, and dressings. Buy local and in season. Preserve the harvest (freeze, dry, ferment). Eat and cook meals at home. Eat cheaper cuts of meat (organ meat, ground meat, soup chickens). Support the Ugly Food Movement; apples with brown spots can still be eaten.

Get in the habit of eating everything you buy. Older vegetables and leftover cooked rice or quinoa can make a great soup or a hearty casserole. Leftover bread can be made into croutons or frozen and saved for a yummy bread pudding. Borderline fruit can be put in the blender and either put in smoothies or frozen for another use.

What are the impacts of Climate Change?

Environmental impacts/What to expect according to research: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ICCP) predicts:

a rise in sea levels of up to 2 feet by 2100. Loss of freshwater (reduced snowmelt and saltwater intrusion), extreme weather patterns (hurricanes, droughts and extreme heat, floods, blizzards, tornados), forest loss due to fire and the spread of disease, oceanic acidification and dead zones, habitat change (cold – and vulnerable species) and potential mass extinction, and changing migration patterns.

Social impact: Coastal and island nations are at risk. Drought, crop disease, lack of water and food in vulnerable areas. Climate refugees and climate migrants have no international legal protection – 26 million people worldwide are displaced annually due to environmental disasters. Land grabs, land prices, global poverty, hunger, and increased social tension all contribute to the social impact of climate change.

Human impacts: Lack of food/diversity of food. Heat exhaustion. Nutrient deficiencies. Mental health. Crop failure due to extreme weather and rising temperatures. Lack of fresh water. Spread of tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever. A rise in insect-borne illnesses such as Lyme. Exacerbation of smog conditions such as asthma.

What can be done? Consume less. Buy better: Think locally, act globally. Support organizations that campaign to protect the climate. Recognize the connection of food to climate: we can make a difference! Get indoor plants. The top five houseplants that filter air are: Spider Plants, Peace Lilly, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Golden Pothos, and Aloe Vera!

Now, go outside and play.

Stay happy. Stay healthy. Part 2 is coming soon.

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