Mindful Eating: A Quick Guide to Earth Day Eating

April 22 is Earth Day. What better way to help celebrate Earth Day this year than to try and eat more local, sustainable and lower carbon foods! Here are Gloria Tsang newsome simple tips to do all of the above.

Going Local for Grocery

If you have never visited a farmer’s market before, then you have to go. Large farmer’s markets run all-year round; smaller ones only open in the Spring/Summer seasons. Many of them are opening this month! There are local treasures to be found on any given day. The best produce is currently whatever is in season, that’s it!

Some produce in season for April:

Spinach, radish, bok choy, asparagus, arugula, shallots, herbs, and more

If you are like me and try to avoid crowds and want lots of room to explore all of the hidden gems of the day, consider going to a farmer’s market just after opening. The bonus part of this is you get the first pick of the freshest produce of the day. Much of the things brought in have just been picked hours before.

Some people may suggest going later on in the day for a chance to find some deals as many farmers and merchants may discount their stock since they may not want to haul away leftover produce. You decide.

Decrease Carbon Footprint

We can also try and decrease the carbon footprint of eating. What does that mean? It means we can make decisions to alleviate the stress on mother nature by choosing seasonal items and being mindful of where our food comes from. Certain foods, like meat and dairy, are considered high-carbon foods. Livestock production indeed contributes to 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases. And food transportation also adds to this. The further the food is grown, the more fuel it requires to ship it to us.

So in celebration of this Earth Day, let’s incorporate more lentils into your family’s meals. Lentils are not only nutritious and easy to cook, but we are very lucky that Canada grows 35% of the world’s lentils supply! More importantly, 95% of Canadian lentils are grown in Saskatchewan. Having lentils grown in the middle of Canada means a lower carbon footprint to get the product to Canadian consumers. Try making this Lentil and Basil Pesto Pasta dish and know that not only are you feeding your family a nutritious, power-packed meal but you are lowering your household carbon footprint by incorporating this Canadian-grown plant-based protein!

Decrease Waste

Simply by skipping packaged foods, you can become more eco-friendly. To make that fantastic looking packaging that overly processed food comes in, it usually requires a lot of electricity and water. And waste – all the plastic bags, boxes, bottles and more really do add up.

Many options are now available in the bulk section of your supermarket. Not only are they eco-friendly, they are usually cheaper than the packaged version, and more importantly, they usually have more selection! I visited a bulk store lately, not only did I find different varieties of lentils such as whole green lentils, hulled red lentils, brown lentils, black beluga lentils, I also found organic varieties! Equally impressive was that they actually carried a variety of gluten-free lentil flour.

With the above tips, anyone can celebrate Earth Day and make a real contribution this year.