Tuesday, August 16, 2011

5 ways to green your graze

re-post from MariaShriver.com

This time of year, there is a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables to be had, and when I visit the farmer’s market, it kind of makes me want to skip. I take inspiration from all the people devoted to feeding us with their endless labor of love. The abundance, variety, and colors on display are a sensory delight. I want to photograph it, paint it, write it a poem, and then fry it up with some garlic and olive oil. I am particularly inspired by tomatoes this time of year, all sweet, juicy, and sunshiny. The bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is one of the most Perfect Things on Earth, and it’s all for you. The chorus of a twangy blue grass song sings, “There’s only two things that money cain’t buy, and that’s true love and home grown toe-maters.”

Another thing you can’t buy is a new planet.

The choices we make about the food we take influence our health, local communities, and the whole wide world, so please consider these 5 tips for greening up your graze.

1) Eat Good Real Food
When you eat Good Real Food, you make a difference. Good Real Food is recognizable and integrity is maintained. Good Real Food has not been fussed with too much. Consider the humble carrot versus the cream-cheese frosted carrot cake. Or cheese—like, really, any kind of cheese versus “cheese product.” Minimize the ingesting of “products” and increase your intake of Good Real Food. If you could theoretically make or process the food on your own, it is likely Good Real Food. For instance, honey is a good real sweetener, and less processed than white, granulated sugar. A tiny step to greening up your eating might include using honey in your coffee instead of white sugar. Continue with other baby steps and experiment with removing white sugar from your entire noshing repertoire. Good Real Food is a surprisingly easy diet that’s good for the planet and your backside.

2) Shop Local
Good real food produced locally is great for greening your eating. This is not really about hugging trees, wearing patchouli, or making lentil nut loaf—this is about minimizing the carbon footprint of your corn on the cob. Food produced locally doesn’t require being transported into a different time zone. Also, it keeps your dollars in town, whereas shopping at a large, commercial grocer sends most of your greenbacks to corporate offices somewhere in Ohio.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a super easy way to green up your graze as well. We joined a CSA last year, and for $20 a week, we get a rather impressive box of seasonal delights. Instead of trying to figure out what we will eat and shopping accordingly, we just figure out how to consume what they provide for us each week. Our CSA leaves produce boxes at a designated neighbor’s house, and I just cruise over there with my basket and pick it up. No parking lots. No lines. No paper, plastic, or canvas bags. When the seasons and the farmer dictate your diet, you save lots of time and eat healthier by default; now that’s winning.

3) Shop Organic
Organically grown food helps preserve the integrity of the soil and minimizes the toxicity of irrigation run-off.  Many folks often complain about the cost of organics—but you will end up spending that money one way or another anyhow. I’d much prefer to spend the money on farmers and high quality berries now, rather than doctors later. Look for farmer’s markets and health food stores in your community, and stick to the organic selections at commercial grocers. Once you are shopping local and organic in concert, also known as l’organic, you are well on your way to being a green, clean, eating machine. Of course, if you want to be really organic and local, and you have access to sun and soil, plant a garden. 

4) Eat Your Veggies
Once you buy or grow l’organic fruits and veggies, you must eat l’organic fruits and veggies.You know how sometimes that head of cabbage just sits in the bottom drawer of your ‘fridge all forgotten, until its creepy pungent bad-cabbage odor indicates its way past prime coleslaw time? Prep produce post purchase to avoid waste.  So, wash it. Chop it too, if need be. Now the carrots are ready to be eaten when you are ready to eat them, and you won’t grab at those potato chips.

5) B.Y.O.B.
Greening your eating also includes how your food is transported and stored. Bring your own bag. Bring your own basket. Bring your own water bottle. B.Y.O.B. can be a tricky habit to cultivate but once it takes root, it does make a difference. Consider leaving extra canvas bags by your front door and in your car (for when you forget the bags by the front door). When you grab your wallet and keys in the morning, take a reusable water bottle and/or commuter mug too. Similarly, include these items when you travel on holiday. In places like San Francisco for instance, bags have already been banned. To quote former mayor Gavin Newsom, “As California goes, so goes with the nation…” Even though Mayor Newsom wasn’t talking about banning the bag specifically, it is indeed inevitable that all citizens will be asked to b.y.o.b. soon enough.

You should be tripped out about "disposable" plastic because there is a human generated garbage island in the Pacific, and it's big. The National Science Foundation thinks The Great Pacific Garbage Patch may be twice the size of Texas. As the plastics in the garbage island degrade, plastic particulate matter is ingested by fish. The fish are then ingested by other fish and/or humans. If you can't do anything to remove the plastic island, then please consider making green grazing choices that do not contribute to its expansion.*

You can green up your graze one little choice at a time.  Make ladylike choices about the food you eat because nothing says grace and elegance like a small carbon footprint.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Would just add I now leave two canvas bags in my briefcase, bike basket, backpack, and at work. It's made it pretty easy to change my bag habits!