As technology advances, the pressing need for sustainability is clearly becoming more evident. Once the earth is diminished of its natural resources, there will not be anything humans can do in our life time to get them back. Ever since the industrial revolution, humans have had everything we could ever want or need right at our finger tips for affordable prices, which has turned the world into a profit based society, thriving at convenience. We are more worried about money then how we are effecting the world with what we produce. The fear of running out of fossil fuels is always on the back of our minds, holes in the ozone have already become and issue, and the worst part is that we continue this harmful spiral, well aware that at this rate, there is not going to be very much around for future generations. Sustainability is increasing in importance more than it has ever been before, and there are easy ways that everyone can help. An especially simple way for everyone to help out that probably would not come to mind right away, is by merely eating sustainably.
What most people don’t take into account when going grocery shopping or buying food in general is that like us, food is also dependent on foreign oil, can contaminate water, and destroy the soil. By not supporting the industrial food system and eating local or organic food, we take the first step to making life changes. Eating sustainably is not only critical for humans because of environmental purposes, it is also the most healthy way for our bodies as well. Realistically, eating sustainably will not only benefit the environment, it benefits your health as well. The problem with the food industry today is that animals are raised for profit rather then to keep the consumers healthy. Food is now genetically modified, which means our bodies do not know how to process what we’re eating and it turns to fat. Sustainable foods are natural foods that our body was designed to eat and knows how to process, they do not harm the environment, they are humane for both the workers and animals, and support local economy instead of corporations (Shannon with simplebites.net).
In the film Hungry for Change by James Colquhoun (who is a nutritionist), it talks about how society is basically starving itself because we are not getting the proper nutrients that the body needs to be healthy, but at the same time we are exceptionally overfed. The reason people perpetually eat even though they should be full is that, we are not getting the specific nutrients that we need, and our body continues to think its hungry so therefore a person will eat more and more to try and attain those missing nutrients. This idea suggests that we are essentially starving to death because our cells are not getting the nutrients they need to live healthily. The man made foods we consume tricks our body into thinking that we are getting the nutrients we need. The body continues to be hungry because it is still not getting the correct nutrients. We continue to eat because our body wants the nutrients, but in the industrial food system, these foods are not filled with the vitamins we need but instead are just full of empty calories. In theory, due to being mammals, the reason we are drawn to eating fat is because when we found it out in the wild we would eat as much of it as we could for survival because it was so scarce. Now days, sugary fattening foods are in abundance and we over eat them because our survival instincts kick in telling us that we need to “store up for the winter”, when in reality, we aren’t out hunting for our food anymore. Our hunter gatherer ancestors did over eat when it was available, but the difference between now and then is that their foods were full of nutrition, unlike our food that is basically handed to us and is full of calories and not much else to keep us healthy. Today we have different food sources, but we have yet to evolve and turn off the signal that tells us to continue eating (Hungry for Change).
Dr. Alejandro Junger, the author of Clean says “The problem is that we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food like products, that are made to look better and smell better so that people are attracted to them, but they are also made so that they can have a long shelf life, so the objective is not really not give you nutrients, but to give you a product that will last long and be beneficial to the company”. This information further proves that all the food industry cares about is making a profit, not keeping the mass population healthy. Eating sustainably is essentially a freedom. By buying local produce, such as veggies from farmers markets and meat that is not processed, we are not being subjected to the nutrient lacking food that is put on the shelves, which alone is an incentive not to eat overproduced industrial food.
With the ever increasing population, food production continues to grow more and more, which means more carbon-based fuels and nitrogen-based fertilizers for transportation and growth. Transportation, power plants and buildings gain attention from policy makers, our food supply is often not even thought about as a potential energy waster. According to the article More Food, Less Energy by Michael Webber, in the U.S., about 10% of the energy budget goes to producing, distributing, processing, preparing and preserving the plant and animal matter we consume, which is a huge wedge on the energy pie. Webber goes on to say that “examining our food supply through the lens of energy rise reveals opportunities for smart policies, innovative technologies and new dietary choices that can potentially solve food and energy problems together. The same steps would also make our bodies, and our ecosystems, healthier”(More Food, Less Energy).
The energy that we use to produce food is much more than the amount of energy that we actually get out of it. In order to feed the population of the U.S. alone, we need to have about one quadrillion Btu of food energy every year, with that, we use 10 units of fossil energy to produce just one unit of food energy, therefore feeding the population uses 10 quads (10% of the total U.S. energy consumption) of 100 quads. In order to reduce this number, we would need to find a way to reduce the 10:1 ratio output (More Food, Less Energy). Consuming food alone is bad for the environment, unfortunately humans get their energy from food, so its not something we can stop doing. If the masses began to eat healthy sustainable food, they would be less hungry all the time because their bodies would not be searching for the nutrients it is missing, thus we would save much more energy. Also, buying items grown locally would help conserve fossil fuels with less distance the food would have to travel.
In an ideal world, everyone would eat organic, and only enough food so that their nutrient needs were met. In a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that 27% of Americans are now considered obese, considering that was two years ago, the numbers have no doubt increased. The problem is that we eat way to much meat, enough food is produced in the U.S. for every American to ingest 3,800 calories a day, the problem is that on average, we only need about 2,350 for a healthy diet. We manufacture an unnecessary amount of food here in the U.S., and the majority of people consume much more than they should of something that does not even fill a person the healthy way, the worst part is that the junk food is much less expensive then the high quality sustainable organic food that we really should be eating that would fill us up with much less food. In theory, if we only consumed nutritious organic foods, the cost would probably even out to about the same because we would be eating less food but getting the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Occording to the article What’s So Great About Organic Food? by Jefferey Kluger, the non organic food that is consumed is fertilized in up to 10 million tons of chemical fertilizer each year just to cultivate corn which has led to toxic runoffs that is poisoning the Gulf of Mexico. On top of that, industry beef are given antibiotics and growth hormones which leaves chemicals in the meat as well as the milk. A recent study showed that not only has the obesity rate increased, but also girls as young as 7 are beginning puberty which is thought to be due to the increase of hormones in the food. Not to mention the dismal conditions the meat producing animals are raised in, living on a corn based diet solely to fatten them up so they can be slaughtered efficiently. Organic farmers pride themselves in the fact that their animals live in fields and have as happy of a life that any chicken raised for food could. Cattle that eat grass have higher ratios of omega 3 fatty acids to omega-6s, this balance can help reduce cancer, heart disease and even arthritis(What’s So Great About Organic Food?). The fact that the organically raised animals are able to eat grass and food that they are supposed to eat instead of corn to fatten them up, means that the humans that consume them will be consuming the nutrients that the cow also digests as well.
In the end, eating sustainably comes down to eating healthy organic food. If we eat sustainable foods, not only are we reducing the huge carbon foot print that we are leaving behind, but we are also eating better for our bodies. Although organic food does cost more, in the long run we will be saving money by starting off with it. This is because, organic sustainably food holds the nutrients that we need to be healthy so instead of eating huge meals to fill up, we would be eating smaller nutritious meals and wont feel the need for more food. If we are eating healthy, and our bodies are happy, our future hospital bills from heart disease will be non existent, which in the end will save much more money then buying the 13 cent cheaper meal ever would.
I really think it would be grapenuts with cinnamon on top… I don’t know if I feel this way because I’ve only drank a protein drink and ate a bar and its 5:00 and I’m just starving… But I really just think I could live of them. So good. I want to eat more……