We could all be more ethical when it comes to our eating habits, but getting started is easier said than done. From buying local produce to ‘going organic’ (whatever that means), there seems to be more advice out there than answers.
Just to make things trickier, ethically-sourced food is often more expensive than its less-than-reputable counterparts. That’s because the demand for ethically-sourced food is now greater than the amount currently being produced, not to mention the high fees associated with getting certified.
That’s no reason to give up before getting started, however. Let’s take a look at what ethical healthy eating really means, looking beyond buzzwords to provide some practical insight into how you can easily improve your eating habits.
Buying Local Produce
Everyone and their mum seems to be into buying local produce these days, and it turns out that there are actually some real benefits to supporting your local farmers.
In addition to supporting members of your own community, buying local produce boosts your local economy.
Local food is also less likely to have been grown using pesticides and harmful chemicals, which is better for your own health as well as the farmers’. Hundreds of farmers die each year from overexposure to pesticides, and buying locally will support your community’s farmers who avoid those harmful chemicals.
Helping out your community has benefits that reach far beyond your town’s borders. One of the biggest contributors to climate change is pollution from land and air travel. When food is shipped in from hundreds of miles away or more, it pollutes the air, thickening our ozone layer and making the planet irreversibly hotter. It also loses a lot of nutritional value over the course of its long journey, making it far less healthy.
Buying local removes these dangers, so you can rest easy knowing that your meal was ethically sourced.
- Bonus Tip: Cut down on food waste by reducing the amount of food you put in the bin. Use our air-tight pots to keep unfinished meals for leftovers and check whether food past its sell-by date is actually spoiled – most food is still good several days past its sell-by date.
Although we hear it all the time, “organic” is one of those words that’s used so much, its meaning has been lost. Believe it or not, going organic is easier than you think.
According to UK legislation, organic food is the product of farms which avoid using artificial fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and livestock feed additives.
That’s a lot of technical jargon, but simply put, it just means is that the food is grown naturally without added chemicals. Although it doesn’t necessarily have more nutrients than food grown using artificial methods, it’s better for the environment and better for those local farmers who don’t use pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
Pesticides, particularly those with neonicotinoids, are also linked with a declining bee population. Bees are an essential part of nature – cross-fertilising plants and keeping the food chain going. While the evidence isn’t conclusive, the concern is so great that a temporary ban was placed on neonic pesticides.
- Bonus Tip: Some foods retain far higher traces of the harmful chemicals used in conventional farming thank others. Some foods to always buy organic include: root vegetables (e.g. sweet potato, parsnips), tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, flour, cereal bars, soft citrus, pineapples, pears, apples, grapes, strawberries, peaches and nectarines (Source: Pesticide Action Network UK).
Reducing meat consumption
For years, individuals have chosen to go veggie or vegan for a variety of reasons, from animal rights to healthy eating, but now there’s a new reason.
Keeping livestock for meat production is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, with agriculture responsible for an estimated 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.
A significant portion of these emissions come from methane, which is 23 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. In short: cows fart…a lot.
Giving up meat completely is easier said than done for most folks; it’s a major lifestyle change. By preparing meat-free meals two or three nights a week, however, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and save thousands of gallons of water per year.
- Bonus Tip: Beef and other meat products are more expensive than veggies and pasta. Going meat-free for just a few nights a week will not only help the environment – it’ll save you hundreds of pounds a year.
Ethical Healthy Eating on a Budget
There are plenty of ways to eat ethical, healthy foods without wasting time or money. However, there’s one way that’s easier than all the rest.
Balance Box is a diet delivery box that uses only fresh, ethically-sourced ingredients. It’s prepared by our expert chefs and nutritionists to taste absolutely scrumptious while also helping you lose weight.
Embrace ethical healthy eating without breaking your budget – begin your Balance Box journey today.