Nowhere does the win/win of green living for health and the environment show up more than when one chooses to eat the foods of the new green diet. This diet is the old and timeless one of eating real food grown locally in well-tended soil, with some adaptations for modern life. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Eating Organically Produced Food
Organic agriculture strives toward being sustainable, meaning that which can be continued indefinitely, without depletion of resources beyond a rate that they could be renewed.
Step 2 and 3: Eating Local, Seasonal Food
Eating local, seasonal food supports local farms and saves the energy that would be used to refrigerate and transport food many miles.
Step 4: Eating a Variety of Food
“The loss of genetic diversity—silent, rapid, inexorable—is leading us to a rendezvous with extinction, to the doorstep of hunger on a scale we refuse to imagine,” writes Kenny Ausubel in the book Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure. Organic farms grow a wide variety of plants to keep the soil healthy and preserve diversity. Industrial farms, on the other hand, monocrop, meaning they grow nothing but a few commodities.
Step 5: Eating Low on the Food Chain
Humans can eat both high and low on the food chain and be adequately nourished. Residues of persistent chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and many pesticides concentrate in animal fat.
Step 6: Eating Whole Foods with Adequate Fiber
Whole foods are nutritionally complex and complete. Refined foods have had much of their nutritional value and fiber removed.
Step 7: Avoiding Processed Food
The average American eats 150 pounds of additives a year, much of which is sugar and salt. Three thousand additives are intentionally used in processed food. Many of these additives, such as hydrogenated oils, can cause health problems.
Step 8: Reducing Packaging for Public Health and the Environment
Chlorine and dioxin are just two chemical compounds that are released in the manufacture of many packaging materials. Toxic chemicals can also migrate to your food from packaging.
Adapted from The Green Kitchen Handbook, by Annie Berthold-Bond and Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet.