Eating Sustainably - our habits and the health of the planet
What we eat, the way we eat, and how we eat are choices that can directly impact our physiology and the health of the planet. I believe that healthy living happens when we understand that we are all interconnected. We are at our best when we live in syntony with the natural environment.
Promoting a sustainable relationship between our habits and the health of the planet is a great way to practice social activism and to improve our overall health.
Here are some simple ways to practice eating sustainably, seasonally, and locally, and how it can benefit you, your family, your community, and the planet.
Regenerative farming: Learn about different models of farming strategies and support those farmers utilizing methods that restore soil biodiversity, preserve water supply, and yield nutrient-dense foods.
Compared to conventional farming, crops derived from regenerative methods have a higher content of phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins (1). For those who want to consume animal products, meat from animals raised in regenerative practices is richer in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and have a better ratio of omega-3 to 6 fatty acids (1).
Visit the local farmer's market: When we support organic local farmers we are creating a demand for sustainable agriculture while eating seasonally. It is not only important to learn about how the food is grown but also what journey it takes before getting to your table.
The food trajectory postharvest, distance and storage will affect nutrient content (2)(3). So shopping at a Farmer's Market will create an experience of flavors and scents while providing you and your family with high-nutrient foods. Don’t forget! You're at the farmers market to shop for wholesome fresh foods.
Eating locally and supporting your internal and external environment: We are in constant microbial exchange with the environment. When you pick up that organic apple at a Farmers' Market you are incorporating into your life much more than the visible fruit.
When you take a bite into the freshly picked fruit you might be colonizing your digestive tract with plant-associated microbiota and supporting a healthy internal ecology. Organic apples provide greater bacterial diversity than conventional apples (4). In one study, it was suggested that we consume about 100 million bacterial cells within one apple(4).
Community impact: Supporting local businesses and farmers can foster mindful relationships. Local businesses tend to invest in their community generating more jobs, local alliances, and resources.
Providing communities with access to fresh foods changes the landscape and the local environment playing a critical role in preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity(5).
If shopping at the Farmers Market can increase the daily intake of five or more fruits and vegetables(6) I can only imagine how growing your own home garden would greatly support food diversity and increase access to nutrient dense foods.
by Sabrina Magno, CN, LE, FLT
1. Montgomery, D. R., Biklé, A., Archuleta, R., Brown, P., & Jordan, J. (2022). Soil health and nutrient density: preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming. PeerJ, 10, e12848. https://doi.org/10.
2.Martínez, S., López, M., González-Raurich, M., & Bernardo Alvarez, A. (2005). The effects of ripening stage and processing systems on vitamin C content in sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum L.). International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 56(1), 45–51. https://doi.org/10.
3.Moreira Marı́a del, Roura, S. I., & del Valle, C. E. (2003). Quality of Swiss Chard produced by conventional and organic methods. LWT - Food Science and Technology, 36(1), 135–141. https://doi.org/10.
4.Wassermann, B., Müller, H., & Berg, G. (2019). An apple a day: Which bacteria do we eat with organic and conventional apples? Frontiers in Microbiology, 10. https://doi.
5.Salois, M. J. (2012). Obesity and diabetes, the built environment, and the ‘local’ food economy in the United States, 2007. Economics & Human Biology, 10(1), 35–42. https://doi.org/10.
6.Jilcott Pitts, S. B., Wu, Q., McGuirt, J. T., Crawford, T. W., Keyserling, T. C., & Ammerman, A. S. (2013). Associations between access to farmers’ markets and supermarkets, shopping patterns, fruit and vegetable consumption and health indicators among women of reproductive age in eastern North Carolina, USA. Public Health Nutrition, 16(11), 1944–1952. https://doi.org/10.