Sustainable Living – Eating Habits To Sustain You And Our Planet

There have been numerous talks about sustainable living over the past decade and a half. The fast-depleting natural resources and the ever increasing burden on planet Earth are urging people to alter their lifestyles. The economists believe that if we continue living the way we are living at present, planet Earth will become unliveable in around 100 years.

A lot has been said and written about sustainable living, but there’s little to no attention paid to sustainable eating. Today, we are well aware of the lifestyle changes that we need to make to honour the sustainability of our planet but, what is sustainable eating?

What is Sustainable Eating?

Wikipedia defines sustainable eating or sustainable diet as “Eating habits with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutritional security and healthy lives for the present and future generations.

 Sustainable diets are known to be respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. They are affordable, are nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy.

While the concept of sustainable living focuses on reducing the impact of human lifestyle on the environment by adopting eco-friendly ways of living; the idea of sustainable eating focuses on the agricultural aspect of living. It includes the production and consumption of food along with the farming techniques and practices that help in conserving the natural resources thereby reducing the impact on the environment. It is about choosing foods that are healthy not only for our bodies but also the environment.

According to the EAT-Lancet commission (2019), if we want to feed the world’s growing population, there needs to be a global shift towards more plant-based foods than animal-based foods. The livestock production is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases accounting to 18% of total anthropogenic emissions which is 5% more than the transportation sector.

5 Simple Sustainable Eating Habits to Adopt

As established above, the impact of our dietary choices on the environment cannot be undermined. Adopting sustainable eating habits will not only help in saving the planet but also improving our overall health. Here are five simple and easy to adopt sustainable eating habits:

  1. Eat less and better quality meat

Animal-based food is the most significant contributor to the total environmental emissions especially red meat and dairy products. They are the most energy-intensive manufacturing processes that release harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing the consumption of animal-based foods on a routine basis can prove to make a huge impact on decreasing the carbon footprint. You don’t need to give up on meat completely. Practice flexitarian dietary habits, and you can contribute hugely to this cause.

  1. Curb Food Wastage

Food wastage is a global issue that needs our immediate attention. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) – 1.3 billion tonnes of food, which is one-third of the food produced for human consumption, gets wasted or lost per year. As per FAO estimations, 40% of the food produced in India gets wasted or lost per year. This loss costs a whopping 1000 crores every year. Food wastage can be curbed through simple buying and eating habits. Buy only as much food as required for consumption. Instead of throwing away the leftovers, consume them the next day or serve it to the needy. If every household consciously decides to contribute to this cause, the food wastage percentage can be brought down remarkably.

  1. Try Organic Farming and Eating

Farming and agricultural has resorted to unhealthy practices for producing food to meet the growing consumption demands. The use of synthetic fertilisers is deteriorating the soil quality thereby upsetting the marine eco-balance and human health. Organic farming prohibits the use of harmful chemicals and artificial fertilisers for the production of food. By adopting organic farming practices, one can add to the cause. Moreover, you can support this by buying organically produced food products.

  1. Eat Seasonal Produce

In today’s time, it is difficult to establish seasonal foods/fruits as everything is available around the year. Ever wondered how did this become possible? The year-round availability of foods and fruits is a result of unethical farming practices that meddle with the climatic conditions for production. Eating unseasonal produce is harmful to both human health and the environment. You can contribute to this cause by avoiding the purchase of unseasonal fruits and vegetables.

  1. Shop Locally

Shopping locally is one of the simplest and best ways to promote sustainable living. The local produce doesn’t require transportation which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. By consuming locally produced food products, you not only help in saving the environment but your money also.

To make this planet liveable for the coming generations, we need to do our bit. Every individual effort counts in bringing this change. Adopt sustainable eating habits and urge your family and friends too to be a part of this cause.

 

Let’s Talk About Sustainable Packaging

In our efforts to be more conscious about the way we consume, we may choose to buy “natural” or “organic” products, thinking that once you’ve made the purchase, the work is done. But, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impact of the packaging of your product? To put our choices into perspective, here is something to consider: There is a patch of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean which has been measured by satellite imagery, this patch of garbage is mostly comprised of plastic and spans across 1.6 million square kilometers. A lot of this garbage is plastic and has a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and even human health. These microplastics disintegrate when subjected to heat and are consumed by the fish, making their way to the very top of the food chain, so yes, this devastating effect trickles down to you too.

Now, there are garbage patches like this all over the world’s oceans, including our Indian ocean. And each of these patches has an estimated amount of 80,000 metric tons of plastic. Such is the terrible effect of packaging on our planet. After reading these numbers, doesn’t the ban on plastic in the state of Maharashtra make more sense to you? There are plenty of sustainable materials which can serve the same purpose, in fact, many countries are even banning the production and use of single-use plastic.

So what is sustainable packaging?

Simply put, it is packaging which has a longer life cycle and reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. It takes into consideration the entire life cycle – from the whole supply chain, from production to the end of its life, everything is taken into consideration.

What can we gain from sustainable packaging?

The long-term goal is to improve the quality of the ecosystems, without compromising on the functionality for the consumer. It’s the brainchild of economics and functionally so that the environment and the future generations do not have to pay the price for our consumerism.

Why is sustainable packaging the need of the hour?

Because we need packaging that’s biodegradable, we need options which allow conscious citizens to recycle or reuse plastic, we need to provide solutions which are long term, and we must take into consideration the ramifications of our actions. There is nothing that’s more important than conserving our natural resources, and sustainable packaging is a huge part of this.

What are the products that you need to be wary of?

There are some products which are used every day and have very short product lifecycles. Such products are single use and are usually discarded within a few hours of using the product. Such products include daily grocery staples such as butter, milk, grains, toothbrushes, earbuds, and razor blades. A lot of this plastic is single use, which means that even if you send it to a recycling facility, there’s not much that they will be able to do with it. As a result, all of this plastic waste gets dumped into rivers and water bodies which ultimately empty out into the oceans.

This vicious cycle continues because simple items like milk delivered in plastic bag are something that we consume every day. So when you think about doorstep delivered milk, for example, not only is the product itself could be adulterated which the packaging can do nothing to prevent, but the packaging is also a major pollutant. What’s more is that you consume milk every day, so you end up being a huge contributor to waste which upsets the ecological frameworks of the planet. Feeling distressed? It doesn’t have to be that way! Tetra packs come with tamper proof sealants and are made with biodegradable materials. These materials are selected based on the supply chain of the materials, important questions such as the greenhouse gases produced in the making of the packaging, the processes involved, and the even the resources spent on sourcing the raw materials required to assemble the packaging are considered. So when it comes to packaging, remember that as a consumer, you have a choice, choose for the planet, and choose sustainability!

 

15 Simple Ways To Embrace Sustainable Living

The ever-increasing human population and our untenable lifestyles have burdened the environment with a pressing need to switch to sustainable lifestyles. Our dependency on technology and non-renewable resources and non-recyclable products has added to the environmental woes.

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that helps people in reducing their dependence on non-renewable energy and non-recyclable products thereby diminishing the ever increasing burden on the environment. Sustainable living is all about choosing the products that felicitate sustainability of the environment. It can be done by bringing in some simple changes in your current lifestyles.

The depleting ozone layer has been a grave concern since last three decades now. The ozone layer has thinned substantially since the 1980s and the way we are headed, there seems a bleak hope of any respite. The ozone layer absorbs around 97-98% of the harmful UVB rays which, if reach the earth, can cause severe damage not only to the humans but also to the flora and fauna thereby making life impossible on the planet.

Simple Ways to Embrace Sustainable Living

By adopting sustainable living one can help in reducing their carbon footprint and other environmental impact. Start with bringing these simple changes in your routine:

  1. Plan Your Meals to Avoid Wastage of Food

The easiest and simplest way to avoid wastage of food is to properly plan your meals. The food waste dumped in the landfills becomes a source of production of methane which is far more harmful than carbon dioxide for the environment. Cook in small quantities and if you still can’t avoid or reduce food waste, compost it in your house rather than throwing it out in the trash bins.

  1. Conserve Energy by Saving Electricity

The most commonly said thing when talking about sustainable living is to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption. More often than not, the argument is made that how can one live without electricity in today’s time. No, we are not asking you to give up using it altogether. Use it wisely is all we say. Turn off the lights, fans, TV and other electronic items when not in use. Use natural light during daytime. Buy electronics with 5-star rating for energy conservation. Set your AC temperature at 24 degree Celsius and above.

  1. Replace Old Lights with Energy Efficient Lights

Replace the old bulbs with CFL or LED lights. They are long-lasting and lighter on power consumption. The traditional bulbs consume more power and don’t last long hence creating electronic waste in the landfills.

  1. Give up on Disposable Cutlery

Buying takeaways add to the ever-increasing problem of plastic waste. If you are headed home then avoid taking disposable cutlery from the food joint. You can completely give up on disposable cutlery by getting into the habit of carrying a steel fork and spoon in your bag every day.

  1. Give up on One-Time Use Plastic

The recent plastic ban in Maharashtra state created a ruckus in the market. The non-decomposable plastic has created major environmental issues in the recent times. The sewages are choked and rainwater doesn’t recede thereby causing flood-like situations in cities. The soil is becoming infertile too. Say no to one-time use plastic like shower caps, poor quality polythene bags, packaging material etc.

  1. Use Public Transport or Carpool

Stop commuting to your office in your vehicle every day. Carpool with a few other colleagues or opt for public transport as much as you can. This will not only help you in saving on your fuel costs but will also help the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

 

  1. Cycling or Walking for Short Distances

You don’t need to take out your bike every time you go to the neighbourhood grocery store. Either choose to cycle or walk when it is a short distance.

  1. Use Natural Light

Build homes and create spaces that allow sunlight in your house and office. Using natural light will cut down on the usage of electricity. Unwind those blinds and curtains during the daytime. Built ecological and environment-friendly spaces.

  1. Use Water Wisely for Household Chores

In most of the houses, the household chores are taken care of by the domestic helpers. You need to educate them about the need and importance of using water wisely. Train them to use water efficiently while carrying out the mundane household chores like washing dishes and clothes, cleaning floors and cars etc.

  1. Buy Energy-Efficient Electronics

Nowadays, electronic products have ratings in the form of stars with 1 being the least and 5 being the highest. These star ratings are based upon the electronic product’s energy efficiency. Buying electronics with higher star rating help in cutting down the consumption of electricity. It is advisable to opt for 5-star rated electronic products.

  1. Reuse Polythene Bags and Other Plastic Products

If you cannot avoid using plastic products entirely then it is a good idea to reuse them instead of dumping them in the trash bin. Polythene bags can be reused for a very long period of time along with other plastic products like bottles and boxes. These bottles can be water bottles, cold-drink bottles, or your shampoos and conditioners. Reuse the packaging boxes after consuming the product.

  1. Give up on Paper Products

The increasing dependency on paper products is directly proportional to the decreasing number of trees. Giving up paper products like paper cups, plates, tissues etc. can help a lot in creating a greener and healthier environment.

  1. Create Community Gardens & Parks

Create green spaces in and around your locality. Rope in people who might be interested in the cause. Educate people about the need and importance of planting trees in open and unused spaces. Greener planet is one way of rescuing it from the adverse effects of our lifestyles.

  1. Reuse and Recycle

The best way to adopt a sustainable lifestyle is to practice the habit of reusing and recycling products. Think twice before dumping something into the trash can. Try and think of alternate uses for non-decomposable and non-recyclable products.

 

 

  1. Adopt Minimalist Lifestyle

Choose a minimalist lifestyle to help save the environment. At first, a minimalist lifestyle may seem impractical and impossible, but all it takes to practice this lifestyle is to live wisely. Choose products that don’t have a harsh implication on the environment. Buy things like cars and electronics only if you need them.

Sustainable living is the need of the hour. If we don’t adopt a sustainable lifestyle, in the coming years, we would be forced to live in a miserable environment. The environmental woes cannot be neglected any further. Scientific researches show that in the coming century, Earth will become unliveable with the rate at which the natural resources are depleting. So start small, but start now!

Did You Also Believe These Myths About Organic Food?

Like everything else on the Internet, there are a lot of mixed feelings and opinions that people seem to have when it comes to organic food. While the benefits of choosing organic are crystal clear, it’s possible to stumble upon misconstrued information which may be false or manipulated. Such misinformation paints organic food in a negative light. In this blog, we do not wish to convince you that organic food is the best and the negatives you read about it are all lies, rather, all we wish to do is present you with the facts, the unadulterated truth, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Myth #1. “Organic food does not always translate to healthy food”

If you buy a packet of organic urad daland decide to make deep-fried tikkisout of the batter, then it’s obviously not going to do much for you, nutrition wise. The high temperatures will destroy most of the nutrient value, the oil will be laden with saturated fat, and you will lose out on the health benefits. If you take the same urad dal and make a dosawith just a dash of oil on the pan, then you’ll have yourself a healthy meal! One of the biggest myths about organic food is that it’s not automatically healthy, but that’s more because of the way the food is treated, it has more to do with cooking than the food itself. So the health factor is really dependent on how you choose to make your food.

Myth #2: “Pesticides are only harmful to pests, not humans”

If you think that these chemicals are only effective on four-legged pests, think again. A study by the US Library of Medicine stated that pesticide residues have also been detected in human breast milk samples, which raise serious questions and concerns about prenatal exposure and the effects on children. People who work closely with pesticides have recorded suffering from respiratory issues, and also those also affect their reproductive and endocrine systems. High accidental exposures may even result in death.

Myth #3: “Organic food is simply unaffordable”

Of course, organic food can be affordable if you know where to find them. Try your local farmer’s markets, sustainability drives and online superstores to find genuine, organic foods. And if the price point is a marginally higher than generic brands, understand that you are paying for the assurance and safety of a certification. It’s far from easy to get certified by the USDA, but if a brand is certified, then you can rest assured that you’re consuming safe, hygienic ingredients.

Myth #4: “Natural and organic mean the same thing”

This is by far the biggest myth. Understand that what makes a brand organic is not the nature of food, but rather the processes of production, sourcing, and manufacturing. For example, doorstep delivered milk can be called “natural” because using that word requires no certification. But calling a brand organic without the certification can have serious consequences as well as legal ramifications. The certification is all about the processes, have the key ingredients been sustainably sourced? Are the cows healthy? Do they have space to roam? Are they grass-fed? Is the grass they are fed with chemical-free? Getting certified requires providing documented evidence for questions like this and more.

Myth #5: “Organic food is not sustainable”

A study conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which spanned over 9 years, stated that organic farming is better for the soil matter than conventional, no-till farming. To put things in perspective, just one teaspoon of compost rich organic soil can host over 600 million to 1 billion good bacteria from 15,000 different species. Compare that with chemically-treated soil, where one teaspoon can house barely 100 good bacteria. This is the most pragmatic way to understand the benefits of organic farming on the environment.

Myth #6. “Organic food is tasteless”

This is a common myth that mostly surfaces to organic newcomers. Let’s take an example of milk. If you find that your new brand of organic milk isn’t as rich as your previous milk, it’s because organic is as close to the real thing as it gets. Traditional cartons of milk use emulsifiers and thickening agents to make milk seem creamier and richer, but all of this takes an immense toll on the digestive system. Most people cannot handle such high levels of lactose, which is why organic milk reserves the best natural ingredients and preserves their nutrition through scientific processes.

#Myth #7. “Organic is just a buzzword”

By buying into this myth, you are not only denying yourself the opportunity to be healthier and make wiser health choices, but you are also robbing local, Indian farmers the opportunity to preserve their heritage and make an honest livelihood. India has always been an agriculturally rich nation, but after colonization, farmers were forced to stop the cultivation of indigenous local crops and replace them with cash crops. Now, our farmers are finally getting the support they need to grow local grains like red rice, millets and more. By buying an organic brand, you choose to shop local, to support local farmers and the community. By choosing organic, you are not helping a greedy corporate CEO to buy a fifth holiday home in France, rather, you are helping a local farmer to put food on the table and feed the family. So who would you rather support?

These are the facts about organic food, and we hope that this article has helped you better understand not just the benefits of organic food, but also the impact of organic farming on a holistic scale. Not only is it the best option for your health, but it’s also something that creates jobs and lessens the load on the environment. Remember, when you shop local or organic, you are not just benefitting yourself and your family, but you’re also benefiting the community and the planet as a whole!

Here Is Why Organic Milk Is Better for You Than Regular Milk

The word organic seems to hold a halo of health around it, and for a good reason. More than just a buzzword, organic certifications require a lot of work, it requires implementation of processes that are in harmony with the governing body, and these standards and processes need to be maintained throughout. The stringent tests and monitoring make organic foods of any kind, safer and healthier for human consumption. So when it comes to milk, why is organic better than natural? Here are a few compelling reasons.

It’s better for your heart

Charles Benbrook is an extremely credible research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. Researchers and students at WSU tested nearly 400 samples of organic and natural milk for a duration of 18 months. One of the notable results of these findings were that organic milk contained significantly higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids as compared to normal milk.

Healthy cows = healthy milk

When cows are grass-fed, the milk they produce is all the more healthy. Think of it this way, if two human mothers are both lactating, one eats nutritious meals while the other lives on porridge and nothing else, which mother would have healthier milk? It’s the same with cows. Cows that eat more grass have a better fatty acid profile in their milk. Cows which are fed corn or cheaper grains produce milk that’s higher in omega-6 fatty acids. These are bad fatty acids that have been linked to cancer and autoimmune diseases. Organic cows are always grass-fed, making their milk much healthier.

Sustainable shelf life

Since organic milk is sterilized at extremely high temperatures, up to 280 F, the shelf life is significantly increased over standard, pasteurized milk. This is the result of implementing better production processes which are governed by external bodies. The shelf life of normal milk is barely a few days, which also results in a lot of wastage.

So much more than milk, nutrition-wise

Although exceedingly high temperatures have been proved to have a destructive effect on some of the nutrients found in milk, it’s also important to note that organic milk is fortified with added nutrients and minerals, from calcium to B-12, the nutritional value of organic milk is leagues apart from standard milk. There is a natural presence of omega 3 fatty acids which are the good fatty acids. These powerful nutrients work to reduce cardiovascular diseases, better the neurological development and also strengthen the entire immunity system.

Milk that’s free from evil additives

From harmful growth hormones to antibiotics, cows on normal dairy farms are pumped with chemicals to increase the production of milk. This is extremely harmful for human health. The addition, these chemicals have been linked to osteoporosis in women, menstrual disorders in women, and the premature development of the reproductive system in males and females. Organic milk is only infused with the good stuff, and the milk is only fortified after production. This means that the cows are fed on nothing but grass, as nature intended it to be.

Adulteration – a nightmare for milk consumers

If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll know that the milk that’s delivered to your doorstep, at much lower rates than that of organic milk, is laden with chemicals. Sting operations have revealed that most of the milk in India is unfit for human consumption. From white paint to lead and even hydrogen peroxide, milk is adulterated with all sorts before it reaches you. What’s more is that most of the adulteration happens when unethical farmers try to water the milk down to increase the quantity. This results in the spread of water-borne diseases since the water used is not always the drinking water.

The fodder itself

On most dairy farms, cheap crops such as corn and soy are grown to feed the livestock. In an attempt to maximize the yield of crops, farmers make liberal use of pesticides and insecticides which enter the system of the cows. All of these ultimately trickle down to us, since these dangerous chemicals get poured into the lactation process for the cow. This is why companies that claim to be organic can only use a fixed set of harmless organic manure which is non-toxic to human health.

Last but not least, we would like to mention the packaging, often you’ll find that doorstep delivered milk comes in flimsy plastic packets that can be easily penetrated. Organic milk comes in tetra packs which use tamper-proof technology which means that adulteration is out of the question! In conclusion, when it comes to milk, the choice between organic and natural is fairly clear. For the health of you and your family, choose organic!