According to the Environmental Working Group, one of the highest carbon footprints of all foods is beef. Choose grass-fed beef when possible. Growing grass to feed the animal requires less energy than growing grain— and no pesticides and excessive water are involved. Another bonus is that grass-fed beef packs more omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and E, all with fewer calories.
Check your local farmers market and CSA farms as more farmers are offering grass-fed and hormone-free beef, poultry and pork. Visit localharvest.org for farmer markets and farms near you. If you have a smartphone, download the Locavore or Farmstand app for markets, recipes and events happening at your local market.
Not only will you be supporting local growers but you’ll be eating healthier fruits, veggies and beef. The average ride for food is 1,500-3,00 miles versus the 150-300 miles for locally produced food! Reduce pollution and eat food at its nutritional peak by buying local. Don’t forget to take your reusable shopping bags to the market or wherever you go shopping.
Catch of the day
Which types of seafood are sustainable, low in mercury and other toxins as well as better for the earth? That’s a loaded question, when you’re short on time and buying groceries. The United States has stricter safety rules and environmental rules than most other countries. A sea of information is found easily at Fishwatch.gov. Download the Seafood Watch app for recommendations on buying ocean-friendly seafood and sushi in your region of the United States. The app will give you a “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative,” and “Avoid,” option.
The jumbo bag of asparagus at the warehouse store seemed like a good idea at the time. Your intentions were to cook and freeze it but most of it rotted in the veggie drawer. The United Nations estimates that one-third of the world’s food goes to landfills or the garbage disposal and the United States is the top offender. Unfortunately, we are conditioned to steer away from slightly bruised foods or parts of the food that are in fact, edible. We’re slowly getting back to what our ancestors did — eating everything edible whether it is produce or meat. For instance, the beet greens can be cooked down and braised with pears. My personal favorite to use all of the broccoli is to eat the stems. Just peel off the outer level and they are a tender and tasty treat to add to the broccoli flower or eat on their own. Another good example is when you are trimming a beef tenderloin. Instead of discarding the smaller pieces not suitable for the fillet, use them for beef pepper steak over rice. Check out Foodshift.net for more ideas.
BPA-free bottle that is. Some food containers and bottles contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical now associated with obesity, insulin resistance, reproductive abnormalities and brain and behavior problems to name a few. Plastics marked with numbers make it easy to reference which is the safest. Numbers 1,2,4 and 5 are reportedly free of BPA and recyclable, while numbers 3,6 and 7 should be avoided as they are potentially harmful and difficult to recycle. Opt for reusable containers for you water or coffee. Besides the health and earth-friendly benefits, bringing your own mug to the coffee shop could yield a discount.
Clean up your act
Once you’re done eating the catch-of-the-day, save water and run a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. The California Energy Commission reports that a fully loaded dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than hand washing. Skip the rinse hold setting as this will take more energy to heat the water. For more ideas to celebrate Earth Day, April 22, visit earthday.org.
Lisa Marie Metzler is a certified personal trainer and freelance writer. She loves to spend a sunny afternoon at the farm market buying and sampling fresh produce and chatting with the growers.