It seems that everything is now called “plant-based,” which insinuates that they are eco-friendly. Certain foods are definitely healthier, but looks can be deceiving. Many of the foods you think are eco-friendly are actually the exact opposite and are not so nice to the environment.
Soybeans are a favorite food among many people. While vegetarians and vegans are the first to consume them, even those who eat meat occasionally opt for soybean-based foods. Edamame, tofu and milk alternatives like soy milk are all yummy and healthy. However, they are anything but eco-friendly. There are two reasons behind that fact.
Soybeans need a lot of land for growing, which results in deforestation problems due to the increasing demand for the product.
Soybeans are also used to feed livestock animals such as cows and pigs. This is not a natural food for the animals, but it’s cheap and can be harvested quickly, making it convenient but not so eco-friendly.
Chocolate is another food that’s confused as being eco-friendly. However, cocoa farmers constantly clear different tropical forests when planting cocoa trees. This is similar to the problem of soybeans. Chocolate is a treat that’s loved by so many people, but it’s terrible for the environment due to the deforestation problem it causes.
Also, the cost paid to farmers for their hard work harvesting is no close to fair. All the money is made by the intermediators and final sellers data has shown.
No one really thinks that sugar is healthy, but there’s a misconception that it’s eco-friendly. In reality, sugar production can adversely affect the air, soil and water. It can reduce the fertility of soils, reduce natural water sources and cause more air pollution. When sugarcane is burned, it emits toxic substances that damage air quality. This makes sugar bad for the environment and human consumption.
Palm oil is also bad for the environment instead of being eco-friendly. Like sugar, it causes problems like air and water pollution and soil erosion. It’s even a contributor to the problem of climate change. Forest fires are often used to clear away land to create plantations for the eventual harvesting of palm oil. Even national parks are feeling the effects of the plants. National parks in Sumatra, Indonesia are seeing natural habits for animals like the Sumatran tiger compromised, which has led to the species becoming endangered.
Avocado is healthy and delicious and a staple in many people’s diets. Surprisingly, they aren’t eco-friendly. Harvesting just a single avocado requires around 60 to 70 gallons of water. The fruit also comes primarily from Mexico, which means it often has to travel long distances to get to grocery stores across the globe. It contributes to other problems like deforestation and soil degradation.
What Can We Do?
One of the best ways to be more eco-friendly with your diet is to buy healthy foods that are local. Shopping at your local farmers market can help you reduce your carbon footprint and help local farmers at the same time.
Growing herbs, fruits and vegetables in your own garden is another step you can take to be more eco-friendly. That way, you can cook your own meals at home using fresh grown foods. Avoid using fertilizers and pesticides that include harmful chemicals that negatively impact the environment.
You can also compost any leftover vegetable matter so that it can go back into the earth. This serves multiple benefits as animals can also nosh on your composting materials.