There are many ways to and reasons for eating ethically. From veganism and vegetarianism, to growing a vegie garden or only buying organic; the sky’s your limit when it comes to eating ethically and sustainably. As the carbon footprint from excessive livestock farming increases and food waste around the world intensifies, it’s important now more than ever for everyone to take action as we head towards a global food crisis.
There are ways to help these huge issues on a small-scale, in your community and at your own home – by cutting out the use of plastics, reducing food waste by planning ahead and going the extra mile to source ethical produce from specialist stores and farmer’s markets. But what can we cook to also get the nutrition we need out of an ethical diet? Below are some suggestions and inspiration to make your tastebuds, and conscience, feel good.
You need a large, vitamin-packed lunch to get you through the day or warm up on a cold winter’s night, which is why it’s lucky that some of the most sustainable foods – vegetables – are also the most nutritious and filling.
The more and more people who go on a vegetarian diet, the better, as they are greatly reducing harm to the planet from livestock farming, which contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. A good way to stick to vegetarianism and not fall back into the convenience of meaty meals? Delicious dishes! The healthy Greek Falafels recipe from this map of chilli recipes from around the world is ideal for your new vegetarian diet, with loads of fibre and protein from the chickpeas keeping your meat cravings at bay.
Want to reduce your carbon footprint even more? This Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas recipe provides a smoky flavour and utilises specialist vegan products that go easier on the earth, like vegan bacon. Ultimately, this homey dish is all about the vegies and rice to fill up an empty belly.
Alternatively, this Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is just as satisfying, and is packed with feel-good ingredients straight from the earth. It’s a simple, vegan cauliflower-cashew alfredo sauce packed with garlic, which is good for the immune system. Tossed with heaps of warm fettuccine, the pasta is topped with roasted butternut squash and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan. Seconds anyone?
I bet you’re noticing a trend in these sustainable recipes. Veganism, more often than not, is touted as the most ethical way to eat, and there’s a reason for it. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce a person’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent. So, it you’re searching for a sweet treat as a reward to propel you along your sustainable diet journey, then these Vegan Chocolate Brownies are sure to tickle your tastebuds.
Don’t want to go vegan, but still feel you deserve a sweet treat for cutting out plastic or growing a vegie patch? Then maybe this is more up your alley: in support of Earth Hour, a bunch of celebrity chefs shared some climate-friendly recipes. Tom Aikens’ creation was a tip of the hat to traditional British desserts, with a delicious Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding.
Of course, the best thing you can do for the planet when it comes to produce, is to grow your own food in your backyard. From growing herbs and vegies to keeping chooks, producing food from your own ground produces less waste, lowers your carbon footprint and is also budget friendly!
Emily Leary is a health and lifestyle writer from Sydney. She has a passion for books, journalism and animals. She’s interested in renewable energy and slow-fashion.
Over to you: do you have any favourite recipes to share with us? Or other ways to make your eating more sustainable?