COMPLETE GUIDE ON SUSTAINABLE EATING

Bowl of greens

Table of Contents

What are food and its family?

Food is the substance we consume to gain the nutrients to support our bodies for its properties of life, our individual entity to live and survive. We need food to provide essential nutrients to the body for its growth and maintenance. So what are nutrients? what is sustainable eating?

The Nutrients are the substances present in the food that provide energy to the body or in other words convert into body tissues. These nutrients which are the source of energy for our bodies are carbohydrates, fats, fibre, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and water used by organisms to grow, reproduce and sustain the health and its well being. They provide energy or Calorie for activity, growth, and all functions of the body such as breathing, digesting food, maintaining body temperature, growth, and repair of the body, and keeping the immune system healthy.

sustainable eating

A calorie is a unit that is used to measure energy. Technically its the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius or (1 kcal =  1000 cal) is to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. but basically it is the energy needed by the body.

Research says that the average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight and the average man needs 2,500 calories to maintain. However, this depends on numerous factors but that’s another topic for us to discuss.

Next question is, where do you find your food found on basic levels…? Various food can either be found or produced by animals or by plants.

Sustainable eating: How long can we survive without food?

The study says that it takes about three weeks for your body to totally shut down from starvation. Your organs also start to shut down in this final stage due to lack of nutrients, the body starts to extract protein from the heart, which can result in an irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest. Aside from the heart being affected, extreme malnutrition alone can kill you.

Related: https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/culture-and-traditions/sustainable-eating

So, if you don’t eat at this point, the break-down of your body will continue, and death can occur as little as three weeks after you stop eating.

Colourful Vegetables

What is the type of nutrients in the food?

There are 7 major nutrients of the food which are Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber, or roughage. All these components when put in a meal is called a balanced diet.  For sustainable eating, a balanced diet provides the body with essential nutrients and adequate calories to maintain or improve overall physical, mental, and social well-being.

What and how much nutrients are needed by a human body.

The 7 nutrients needed by our body is classified into 2 parts

Macronutrients in sustainable eating- The chemical compounds that humans consume in the largest quantities and provide bulk energy are classified as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Water and fibre must be also consumed in large quantities. They are the energy source.

Micronutrients in sustainable eating– Minerals and Vitamins support metabolism. Metabolism is the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances). The term metabolism is commonly used to refer specifically to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy.

Macronutrients in sustainable eating are required in large quantities compared to micronutrients but both are essential for the overall health of the body.

nutrients type

What are the types of food

Food is a big word these days. Its more than a word. There is a high number of foods in existence and with the millennials experimenting with so many eatables around the world, people getting more conscious of their eating habits and experimental with new recipes every day – categorizing ‘types of food’ is another challenge altogether. Other factors with so many food items available are easy travel which has increased the communication and decreased the distance by exploring different areas of culinary, then there is social media exposure which has also pushed a gush of food items in the aisles of the supermarkets.

Every day there is a new food product being launched. Due to the popularity of Instagrammable food items, too many alternatives are being discovered, restaurants are working to cater to more varied diets and trying their best to offer cross-cultural fusions.

In 2020, we already expect to see lots of unique fusion cuisines, regional food being broken into micro-regions, multi-cultural cuisine, etc. These days parents are also more interested in exposing their kids to different kinds of food from a much younger age. Inclination onwards more plant-based diets are creating more meat blends wherein meat is blended with different combinations of plant-based food. Then there is CBD-infused food (CBD stands for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant), healthier cuisine, oil-free cuisines etc……and so on.

But if we talk about simplistically classifying the food then it can be broadly classified into :

categories of food

Guidelines for the intake of “good healthy food” as part of sustainable eating

Eat a variety of vegetables (3 or more servings a day).

Eat a variety of fruits (2 or more servings a day).

Eat whole-grain, high-fibre bread, and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day).

Reduce or eliminate refined or processed carbohydrates; most of the grains in your diet should be whole grains.

Drink fat-free or low-fat milk and eat low-fat dairy products.

Choose from a variety of low-fat sources of protein — including eggs, beans, poultry without skin, seafood, lean meats, unsalted nuts, seeds, and soy products.

If you eat meat, eat white meat at least four times more often than red meat.

Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans-fats (such as partially hydrogenated oil) as much as possible.

Use vegetable oils (like olive or canola oil) instead of solid fats.

Reduce the daily intake of salt or sodium.

Restrict or eliminate “junk food” — foods that contain refined white flour, solid fats or trans fats, added sugars, and are high in sodium.

Restrict or eliminate sodas and other sugar-added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients.

If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Drink only when it doesn’t put you or anyone else at risk.

Don’t skip or delay meals and be sure to schedule your snacks. If you ignore your feelings of hunger, you may end up eating too much or choosing an unhealthy snack. If you often feel too hungry, it can cause you to focus a lot on food.

Drink water instead of high-sugar drinks (including high-sugar juice drinks).

Girl eating food

What is Diet?

In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons

A good, healthy, sustainable eating and balanced diet is a diet that helps to maintain or improve overall health by providing the body with essential nutrition: fluid, macronutrients, micronutrients, and adequate calories.

Types of diets

There are so many diets that are ongoing these days. Plenty of diets to choose from in the present day. All of us have different body types, different tolerance different approaches. But the goal is similar…some want fitness, some are looking for weight management, some want to gain muscles, and some want to eat ethically.

People diet for all types of reasons as there is no shortage of reasons for wanting to live a healthier life. There are also a wide variety of options when it comes to selecting a diet that might work for you.

Here is a closer look at some of the different types of diets that people are using all around the world. ( we will not focus on the positives and negative of it but just have a look at the outlines of the diet )

The Paleo Diet – A paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago

The Blood Type Diet – The Blood type diet is based on your blood group – O, A, B & AB. It claims that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type.

Vegetarian diet – A vegetarian diet is an in sustainable eating which should include a diverse mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, healthy fats, and protein. When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that doesn’t include meat, poultry, or fish. But vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude:

Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, and butter, are included. Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products, but allow eggs. Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs. Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish. Vegan diets which is in sustainable eating exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products — and foods that contain these products. Flexitarian diet is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and fish on occasion or in small quantities.

The South Beach Diet – The South Beach Diet is lower in carbs (carbohydrates) and higher in protein and healthy fats than is a typical eating plan. But it’s not a strict low-carb diet, and you don’t have to count carbs.

The Mediterranean Diet – The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds, and olive oil.

Raw Food Diet – This is a diet that places a premium on eating uncooked and unprocessed foods, It eliminates pasteurized food or anything produced with any kind of synthetics or additives.

Low carb diet – Low-carbohydrate diets or carbohydrate-restricted diets are diets that restrict carbohydrate consumption relative to the average diet

Keto diet – The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.

No sugar diet – A sugar-free diet, this way of eating seeks to remove sources of added sugar from your daily food intake.

Gluten-free diet – Gluten is found in the grain’s wheat, barley, and rye. On the gluten-free diet you can eat many foods including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, rice, and potatoes.

Intermittent Fasting – 16/8 intermittent fasting involves limiting the consumption of foods and calorie-containing beverages to a set window of eight hours per day and abstaining from food for the remaining 16 hours.

Volumetric Diet – The Volumetric diet is an eating plan that aims to help you quit on-and-off dieting by living a healthy lifestyle based on nutritious food and regular exercise.

Atkins Diet – The Atkins diet is split into 4 different phases: Phase 1 (induction), Phase 2 (balancing), Phase 3 (fine-tuning), Phase 4 (maintenance.

General Motor Diet (GM Diet) – GM diet eats a different food group or combination of food groups each day.

types if diet

What is the most Sustainable eating and Eco-friendly diet: Everything you need to know?

Sustainable eating is one that is generally healthful and has a low impact on the environment and food supply. Adopting a sustainable diet can help maintain an individual’s health while also making sure the planet has enough resources to feed future generations of humans.

Factors that determine how sustainable a certain diet include:

availability of the nutrients

relative cost

biodiversity

ecosystem protection

general health

The diet that is comparatively more sustainable include:

Sustainable eating via VEGETARIAN AND PLANT-BASED / VEGAN DIETS

Food production is the world’s largest cause of environmental change. The study says that the Vegan and Vegetarian diets have the greatest reduction in land use and greenhouse gas emissions, and it uses the least amount of water. Changing the nature of the environment with land clearing and other farming practices, food production has a major impact on the emissions of greenhouse gases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food production accounts for 20–30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and up to 66% of water usage.

Although we don’t deny the fact that, a varied and balanced diet is crucial to human health, a truly sustainable diet will also focus on the health of the environment.

RELATED: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/well/eat/a-guide-to-sustainable-eating.html

Sustainable eating considers the impact it will have on the environment, the individual, and the food chain as a whole.

Vegetarian and plant-based/ vegan diets as part of sustainable eating are more sustainable than those that contain meat and other animal products. “Overall, studies say that plant-based foods cause fewer adverse environmental effects per unit weight, per serving, per unit of energy, or per protein weight than does animal source foods across various environmental indicators.”

Consuming animal products have a significant impact on the environment:

increased land use for livestock farming

more greenhouse gas emissions

overfishing and marine exploitation

methane production from farm animals

increased water usage to grow crops to feed livestock

For example, farming an acre of corn for human consumption means that all that food can go directly to feeding a growing human population. For people who eat animal products, the same acre of corn would go toward feeding livestock. However, the animals themselves also take up additional land and resources. So, farming animal foods requires significantly more land.

In general, a diet higher in plant foods is more sustainable eating than a diet higher in animal products.

Another factor for sustainable eating includes LOCAL FOOD AND SEASONAL FOOD DIETS

RELATED: Easy ways to preserve food at home

Some possible benefits of sustainable eating on the environment include:

reducing the need for transporting food long distances

reducing food packaging and waste, as the produce does not have to last as long

reducing resources necessary to grow food that is out of season

vegetarians

So, what is Veganism?

Veganism is the practice of declining the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated belief that rejects the use of any kind of animals commodity. A follower of the diet or philosophy is known as a VEGAN.

Some people interpret PLAN BASED DIET as a vegan diet, which involves avoiding all animal products. For others, a plant-based diet means that plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, are the focus of their diet, but they may, occasionally, consume meat, fish, or dairy products.

What is included in the Vegan diet – ideal sustainable eating?

Vegans do not eat animal products, including honey, eggs, gelatin, or dairy. They will not use clothes, soaps, or other products that are animal-sourced in any way.

A vegan diet as part of sustainable eating can be a highly nutritious choice, as it is low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients. However, starting out on an animal-free diet without proper planning can lead to some health risks since important sources of protein, non-saturated fats, iron, vitamins, and minerals in the standard diet of a person in the U.S comes from animal products.

A vegan needs to find alternative sources of these nutrients.

Reasons for following a vegan diet can include preventing cruelty to animals, environmental considerations, or simply looking to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.

vegan alternatives

Types of Vegan

DIETARY VEGAN -Refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances

ETHICAL VEGAN -Someone who not only follows a vegan diet but extends the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and opposes the use of animals for any purpose

ENVIRONMENTAL VEGAN – the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

Benefits of being a Vegan

Zero animal fats
Lower cancer risks
Better bone health
Improved kidney function
Rich in certain nutrients
Protection against chronic diseases
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Reduced Risk of Diabetes/ lower sugar levels
Improved mood
Reduction in excess weight
Reduction in pain from Arthritis

Drawbacks of being a Vegan

Vegans can miss out on important vitamins, proteins, and fatty acids and eat too many saturated fats
Nutrients are likely to be in short supply in a vegan diet
There are some vegan foods who excessive plantation isn’t great for the planet like soya or avocado
Vegan options like Almonds, cashew, mushroom, cocoa have higher carbon footprints
Use of imported fruits and vegetables – run for trending eating options
Use of excessive palm oil in vegan alternatives, such as non-dairy ice creams and cheeses
Struggling for alternatives – choosing what is better?
More packaged food

Misconceptions regarding Vegan Diets – sustainable eating

There are some funny and unusual interpretations of turning into a vegan. Below are the once which should be totally ignored if you are considering to adopt veganism in your lifestyle.

Vegan diets are not healthy
Vegans can’t get enough calcium without dairy.
Eating vegan is expensive.
Vegans can’t get enough protein.
Vegans just eat salad
Vegan diets make you weak and not filling enough
Vegan diets are not suitable for children.
Only vegans need supplements.

sustainable eating

Concerns on sustainable eating and its importance to the environment

As the world’s appetite for meat increases, entire ecosystems are being destroyed to fuel humans’ addiction to meat. One answer is the huge environmental cost of industrialized animal farming. Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water

The UN says meat and dairy (farmed livestock) accounts for 14.5% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. That’s roughly equivalent to the exhaust emissions of every car, train, ship, and aircraft on the planet!

Other than just following a ‘philosophy’ or ‘what is in the trend’ you should consider the below factors on why you should avoid animal meat altogether? The meat industry is adding in:

Polluting the Air
Polluting the Water
Severe cruelty to Animals
Using up the resources
Encouraging severe animal slaughter
Unethically raising the animals
Over Crowding at Factory Farms
Bullying and violence of animals
Selective Breeding of animals
Showing untrue Farming Videos
Disrupting marine life with excessive fishing and pollution

Concerns such as sustainability, biological diversity, climate change, nutritional economics, population growth, water supply, and access to food are very important right now for the overall food industry. The “right to food”, “right to an adequate standard of food” and “fundamental right to be free from hunger” is now a HUMAN RIGHT.

cattle farming

Conclusion

A vegan lifestyle with sustainable eating prevents a tremendous amount of animal slaughter and suffering. It reduces our ecological footprint, especially regarding climate change. A well organized vegan diet can fuel the highest levels of fitness while reducing our risk of various chronic diseases. With so many vegan options, eating green has never been more delicious. Whether you go vegetarian for the environment, for your health, or for animals, you have the power to alter lots of things, simply by changing your mindset.