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Eating Green

September 8, 2010

It has been a recent endeavor of mine to start thinking more about the environment when it comes to the food I eat. Those who know me know that I love and NEED coffee. No, seriously, I need it. “Unbalanced” is not severe enough to describe how I act without coffee. Anyway, I was watching a special on our local PBS channel (WETA) about coffee called, Black Coffee: The Perfect Cup. It was a fabulously interesting documentary discussing the history, origins, politics, and environmental impact of coffee. It was mentioned by one person on the documentary that Fair Trade Certified coffee does not do enough and is actually an unsustainable practice itself. That got me thinking more about food and drink and what we do and do not consider sustainable. With that, here is some food for thought:

It is well-known that eating animal protein is bad for the environment, especially beef. I have since become what I call a flexitarian, aka, vegetarian-lite. Strict vegetarians say it’s bogus, I say it’s me doing what I realistically can. And realistically, I’m gonna eat a hamburger every now and then, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. But all-in-all, I try to eat as vegetarian as possible. Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo is simply amazing and Quorn makes some alternative chicken products that are so good you’ll never miss the real thing.

Over the summer I’ve stumbled across a couple of great resources I wanted to share. James Reynolds created a concept for packaging produce that showed how far it had traveled to get to your super market. It’s so simple and straight-forward, but it is incredibly powerful to see the embodied cost in those items.

Far Foods Label

When at the National Building Museum, I saw a great book in their gift shop called, Lucid Food, which stressed the importance of eating regionally as well as seasonally.

Lucid Food

Along the same lines, The Local Foods Wheel provides an easy-to-use guide to shopping seasonally and locally. Sadly, there isn’t one for Washington, DC. Maybe New York is close enough?

Finally, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a mobile app resource for sushi lovers like ourselves to help select the most sustainable fish possible.

This is a brief, and by no means exhaustive, tour of eating green. I hope you’re inspired to make a change, no matter how small. Every little bit helps!

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