Sustainable nutrition – what exactly does that mean? Sustainable nutrition can mean environmentally friendly food or a healthy diet with lasting positive effects for body and mind – or both!
In the best case scenario, sustainable nutrition contributes to one’s own health and also protects the planet and its resources, so that future generations have sufficient food. The idea of doing something good for yourself and the environment through conscious and sustainable nutrition seems quite complex at first. In fact, you can achieve a lot with small changes in your own behavior and thus contribute to a positive future.
This is how nutrition affects the environment
A varied and conscious diet is important for our health and well-being. Nutrition is really sustainable if one thinks not only of one’s own health, but also of the health of the planet and our environment.
Clearing and other farming practices that harm our environment are an integral part of food production. They change the environment and cause greenhouse gases. As early as 2012, the WWF (World Wide Fund of Nature) examined the effects of nutrition on the climate. The result even then: Food production causes up to a third of greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for more than two thirds of global water consumption.
What is Sustainable Diet?
If you want to eat sustainably, you should try to take the needs of your own body and the effects on the climate into account in your own nutrition plan. The first step is to waste less food. Because even more harmful than food with a poor CO₂ balance is a discarded food with a poor CO₂ balance. In the next step, your usual diet should be checked: How does my favorite dish affect the climate? What is the eco-balance of the food in my shopping basket? Which nutrients does my body need and which foods meet my needs? Creating awareness for this is the beginning of sustainable nutrition
Which diet is the most sustainable?
A sustainable diet should be healthy for people and gentle on the environment and resources. Vegan and vegetarian diets have the greatest potential to reduce land use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. They also contribute significantly to better animal welfare.
Meatless and plant-based diets were not an issue for middle society for a long time. When you went to a restaurant you could only find something to eat at the salad bar if you wanted to forego meat, eggs and milk. Fortunately, that has changed in the past few years. More and more people are eating without meat and animal products. The reasons are mostly of a moral and health nature. Scandal reports about meat production and pictures of factory farms spoil the appetite, as do photos of the burning Amazon rainforest.
There are now more and more offers for vegetarians and vegans in restaurants and on supermarket shelves. That in turn encourages more and more people to try alternatives to meat, milk and eggs. The number of so-called flexitarians is growing and with it the sensitivity for sustainable and climate-friendly nutrition. Because even if a complete change in diet is difficult, there is no need to give up. Any meal that does not contain animal products is better for the climate than the alternative snack with meat.
What is part of a healthy diet?
Contrary to many prejudices, deficiency symptoms of essential nutrients are not just a problem for vegetarians and vegans. Some nutrients and vitamins can only be absorbed with difficulty from other foods if you do not eat fish, meat and animal products. However, deficiency symptoms of this kind, for example of vitamin D and vitamin B12, also occur in people who eat animal products.
In any case, it is advisable to have your family doctor check you regularly for deficiency symptoms. These can usually be easily compensated for with the help of high-quality dietary supplements. It is important not to take the first product available from the supermarket, as these are often hardly usable for the body. It is better to pay attention to quality and dosage. In addition to pharmacies, reputable online shops such as Vitaminversand 24 offer a large selection of high-quality vitamins that can be ordered quickly and easily.
With or without meat, plant-based or with animal products in organic quality: a healthy diet is always based on the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and pulses. However, refined grains, added sugars, red meats, and processed foods should be the exception.
In addition to a few basic rules, such as avoiding flavor enhancers and additives, healthy eating is designed individually. Different living conditions, intolerances or allergies, disposition and illnesses, age and other factors influence the body and its needs. Nutritional advice that takes these individual factors into account helps create awareness of healthy foods.
What do flexitarians eat?
To put it simply, flexitarians eat everything. However, meat rarely ends up on the plate of flexitarians. “Flexitarianism is a food culture that allows meat consumption, but does not make it the focus. Flexitarians rarely eat, only selected or only a little meat. ”This is how Wikipedia defines the flexitarian form of nutrition.
Since there are more and more substitute products for meat, egg and dairy products in supermarkets, it is easier to do without food of animal origin. In addition, some try out curiosity to see how the substitute product tastes and stick with it.
Eating healthy and sustainable: regional differences
Regional and seasonal are two important aspects when it comes to sustainable nutrition. Because whoever chooses local fruit and vegetables instead of the imported mango is setting an example with this purchase decision for short transport routes and saves CO₂ for their own ecological footprint. Food should also be bought and eaten seasonally. The year-round availability of fruit and vegetables is in most cases only possible through cultivation in greenhouses or imports from distant countries. Both of these pollute the environment. Buying from organic farmers directly or in an organic market gives you the certainty that the food will find its way to us in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
However, the regional differences in climate and soil composition make it difficult in some places to pay attention to regionality, seasonality and, at the same time, a balanced diet. If you are afraid that the diet might be too one-sided due to regional circumstances, it is best to ask a doctor. If there is a risk of deficiency symptoms, these can be balanced with dietary supplements after consultation with a doctor.
Conclusion: this is how sustainable nutrition works
A holistically sustainable diet takes into account both health and environmental aspects. The production of animal food in particular has a negative impact on the climate and, in most cases, causes severe animal suffering. That is why more and more people are giving up animal foods and consuming substitute products when they find it difficult to make a radical change. Your own physical health should also be a priority for every type of diet. However, it is often individual which foods the body needs. Competent nutritional advice and regular check-ups with your family doctor help you find a balanced and sustainable diet.