By Mia Connor
As the end of January draws closer it is time for many of us to reflect upon whether we have actually stuck to our 2021 resolutions. An increasingly popular January resolution is to go vegan for a month (‘Veganuary’). Despite leading a mostly plant-based diet, I was not sure if I could fully commit to a vegan lifestyle. Instead, my 2021 resolution was to begin to eat and cook more sustainably. My next challenge was to try and figure out what aspects of my lifestyle needed to change to achieve this. I outlined the following goals for my resolution:
- To buy seasonal produce.
- To look at where a food item is grown before buying it.
- To minimise food-waste.
- To minimise kitchen-waste.
- To try to shop at local businesses where I can.
- To minimise the amount of food packaging I throw away.
Admittedly January has nearly finished, and I still have not made that much progress on my resolution. Nevertheless, I have learnt a few things that are worth sharing. Firstly, look at the label to find out where your food has come from. The blueberries that are stocked in supermarkets in the winter are imported from countries such as Peru (a high cost in terms of air miles for one of your five a day). Frozen fruit and vegetables are grown seasonally and have a lower carbon footprint as they produce less waste at a household level. They are also cheaper, so this is a win in terms of saving money and living sustainably.
Secondly, there are a variety of accounts on social media that can help you eat more sustainably. The Instagram account @toogoodtogo.uk posts infographics of food products that are in season each month. Following an account like this is an easy way to start to eat more sustainably. Finally, research what parts of common fruits and vegetables are edible.
If you are roasting a butternut squash you do not need to peel it. The skin of the squash is edible, and this change can minimise your food-waste while saving you time and effort. You can also roast the seeds of the squash as a snack or to add as a garnish to your meal. Cauliflower leaves are also edible. Before I would throw my leaves away but this month I decided to use them the next day in a stir-fry.
I still have a long way to go before I achieve my 2021 resolution. It is often easier to favour convenience over sustainability especially when you are busy working or studying. Nonetheless, by thinking about how I could eat more sustainably, I have started to make small changes towards achieving my goals. I hope this article has inspired some of you to think about the small changes that you could make and the impact these could have.
Featured image via Unsplash