Friday, April 13, 2012

Reducing Your Carbon "Foodprint"


In this economy, it's hard to prioritise the quality of your food. Why buy free-range eggs or fair trade coffee when you can get virtually the same product at a hypermarket for half the cost? However, the food we choose to buy and consume not only has a great impact on our bodies, but on our environment, as well. What seems like a trivial matter--what you choose to eat for dinner--ultimately amounts to an overwhelming issue that concerns the very future of our planet. But this doesn't mean it's a lost cause: by educating ourselves and others, we have reduced, and continue to reduce, the energy consumption due to our diets by choosing our foods wisely.

You can try measuring your carbon "foodprint" using online applications such as the Carbon Diet Calculator ( and, but bear in mind that as we are in Malaysia, local fruits fall into the category of "seasonal" and not "tropical".

Here are steps you can take to measure and reduce your carbon foodprint:

1. Take your food list from yesterday and calculate your carbon “foodprint.” Did you eat anything grown within 250km? Choose five items from yesterday that were not produced locally and try swapping them out for items that are produced locally.

2. For this week define your own limits. Will you only buy food grown within 100 km of your home, or food only grown in Malaysia? Will you give up beef or try veganism? If you aren’t consuming packaged products (which create trash), your choices may be easier than you think.

3. There’s no denying it — eating fewer animal products can be the single greenest move you can make. Try going vegetarian once a week, or having meat in just one of your meals each day.

4. Practice “passive cooking” by using leftover boiling water to soften and even lightly cook (or steam) things. Instead of sautéing or braising greens, massage them with some oil and vinegar until soft and wilted. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables instead of processed food. It can be as easy as having fresh fruit for dessert instead of ice cream and jelly.

5. Find ways to use your oven for shorter periods. Put food in during the
preheating stage and turn the oven off early to let the heated air finish
cooking your food.

6. Pack school or office sandwiches and snacks in reusable or washable cloth bags or in lunchboxes. Use glass or stainless steel lunchboxes instead of plastic ones.

7. When eating out, ask for a glass of boiled water instead of a bottle of bottled drinking water. Bring your own drinking water with you whenever possible.

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