Eat more consciously
Your choice of food is one of the main things you can use to control your impact on the environment. The important step is not to go 100 % vegan or to set up rules for yourself to restrict your desires. The important step is to start choosing food out of awareness and consideration of the planet and your own health. Start weighing the values you feel that you get from a certain food against the consequences it has. Thereby food choices will be a conscious decision rather than an automatic behaviour.
Don’t worry, this all sounds a lot more complicated than it is. We have the complete guide for what you need to know in order to become a true pro of sustainable food choices AND a bunch of tips, recommendations and tools for you to easily get started. The key of changing a habit is to make it really easy to do so.
Change to a plant based diet
What does it mean?
As the name indicates, eating plant based food means eating fruit and vegetables, basically food that grows. The purpose of this is to avoid eating meat and seafood.
Why is it important?
Elimenating or evan reducing your meat, fish and seafood consumtion is one of the main changes you can do to lower your own carbon footprint and improve your impact on the planets ecosystems.
If you still want to eat meat once in a while that is okey, just make sure to choose Swedish meat from grazing cows which actually help more than they harm the environment and see it as a luxury. If you or someone you know is a hunter, wild meat from hunted approved animals is also a good option.
Our seas are currently being over fished. We are at the risk of loosing key species that are essential for the ocean ecosystem’s survival. Unfortunatly, the fish you buy in your normal grocery store or at restaurant, can not guarantee sustainable fishing practices, even if they are labeled with this. Solving our oceans’s ecosystem crises is essential not only for the preservation of the ocean life, but also for our own survival. The best way for you to help in doing so is to stop eating fish. The same thing goes with other seafood like shrimps, all though these are assosiated with other important issues like destruction of mangroves and use of human slavory.
If you are interested in learning more about our ecological crisis in the oceans and why stop eating fish and seafood is important, we highly reccomend you to watch the Seaspiracy, available on Netflix.
How do you do it?
Some people are able to become vegan over a day, simply because they decided to do so. Most people however need time to sucessfully change their food habits, and this is absolutely ok! Start by simply reducing the amount of meat and fish you have on your plate or consider other options when you go shopping. Here comes some tips of how you can make the plant based option easier to choose.
Make plant based food the easy option by putting up vegan recipes on the fridge, plan your meals and get inspired by vegetarian recipe books and online vegan recipes. There are also great food boxes delivering vegetarian or vegan dinner courses for you to cook, we recommend Årstiderna as one of them. Several restaurants also offers vegan courses that are delicious, have a look at our local maps to find some of them. Get support and inspiration from others by joining a vegetarian group or follow them online. Finally take on the challange of going vegan for a month with the support from the Veganuary team.
Collection of useful resources
Eat locally produced food after season
What does it mean?
Eating after season means to eat vegetables and fruits when they have their natural harvest time, close to where you live. You can either start growing your own food, turn to nature and find eatable veggies and fruit, buy your food from local farmers or learn what is in season and choose this when you go grocery shopping.
Why is it important?
Today our food gets transported ridiculous distances, often back and forward before eventually ending up in the supermarkets. These transports have a severe impact on the environment. Most frutis and vegetables does not grow naturally all year around, all though we can find most of them every day in our supermarkets.
Having this supply requires us to either import a lot of our food from long distances or use a lot of energy to grow them in big green-houses when the climate is not beneficial. Either way eating food that is not in season in your area is not sustainable. If that was not enough, eating food which is in season is also more nutritious and more delicious.
How do you do it?
As mentioned earlier there are different ways to make sure you locally produced food eat after season. The perhaps easiest way is to plan your meals depending on what is in season and look for these products which are grown in Sweden, in your regular supermarket. You can see here which fruits and veggies are in season in Sweden over the year.
However, not all supermarkets sell locally produced food even when they are in season. If yours does not, you can instead turn to your local farmers through Reko-Ring and Reko-deli, and buy super fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, honey and much more from them. Have a look at where you can buy sustainable food in Lund here. You can also visit restaurants that serve seasonally cooked food.
If you have the possibility, growing your own veggies and fruit is a super good way to stay to the season and avoid the co2 emissions from transport and energy use. There is plenty of different products you can start growing, like numerous different vegetables, herbs, mushrooms and sprouts directly in your own home, garden or through urban gardening. Read more about this in the free time section. It is a very rewarding feeling to be able to cook out of your own veggies and it might very well reduce stress.
Another way of getting veggies and fruits in season is to simply go out into nature and search for them. There are many eatable and delicious plants which you maybe do not know grow in your area. Everything from nettles to ramson could be found if you only learn what to look for. You can start learning by reading useful books, getting news letters containing what you can find right now, or by participating in guiding tours which teaches you what to look for and how. It is important that you learn which plants are ok to eat and which is not, do not eat anything that you are not sure is eatable. Take a look at Naturskyddsföreningens guide to get a better understanding in this.
A way of extending the seasons is to preserve the fruits and veggies so that you can enjoy them on a later time. Have a look at the section for Cook more from scratch below, to learn more about different techniques.
Collection of useful resources
Seasonal lists: Säsongskalendern, Skogsskafferiet
Books with recipes and tips: Jills mat efter säsong, Systrarna Perssons skafferi, Äta vilda växter
Online resources and news letters: Dags att plocka, Skogsskafferiet Naturskyddsföreningens guide
Guiding tours: Malmö
Cook more from scratch
Improve your cooking skills by making more dishes on your own. Here are several things you can start doing, press the links to get more instructions.
Minimize food waste
Today 88 million tonnesof food is being thrown away in EU per year. Most of this food is as good as any other food but due to bad habits and miss information it gets tossed in the trash any way. The things you can do in your own home to minimize food waste is:
- Eat your food in the right order, regularly check what you have in your fridge and plan your meals to include ingredients that are about to go bad. You could make a shelf designated for those products to make sure they don’t get lost in the back of the fridge and to remind you to eat them. If your veggies has gone soft, you can make a soup out of them.
- Trust you sense of smell. The best before mark only demonstrates that the product is at its best before the date, not that it’s bad after it. Many products like egg and dairy remane good long after those dates if kept at right temperature.
- Use your freezer! You’d be surprised of how many things that work fine to keep in the freezer.
- Choose products with a longer expire date. For example choose plant based milk instead of dairy.
- Eat all of the fruit and vegetable. Keep the peel on them, it’s the most healthy part. Try to include every part of the fruit/vegetable, the fruit house is perfectly fine to eat and contains good fibers. Don’t eat the seeds of the apple though as these are poisonous in larger amounts. Use the peel of the citrus to flavour a cake or a meal, you can save this in the freezer as well.
Restaurants and stores have a huge amount of wasted food. But there are things you can do about this as well:
- Become a member at Food saving lund and line up for free food that the bakeries and stores will throw away otherwise.
- Buy your lunch or dinner take away from TooGoodToGo or Karma and get a cheaper price of the restaurant’s and store’s leftovers.
- Choose the ugly veggies and fruits in the store when you shop, these usually gets thrown away even though they taste the same as the others.
- Go Dumpsterdiving and pick up the food that the stores throw away.