Buy unprocessed foods
Most of the food on sale today is highly processed, convenience food containing a lot of hidden sugar and salt, and often made with very inferior basic ingredients. This is definitely a health issue, and often an environmental issue.
Processed food: reasons against
- Fresh fruit and vegetables, raw or lightly cooked, usually contain more ‘goodness’ than processed ones – meaning that you can rely on these basic ingredients for the nutrition you need, rather than having to rely on industrially-produced added vitamins.
- Wholegrains are the basis of many low-meat diets. The outer husk of the grain – which is removed to make white bread, white rice, white pasta etc. – contains much of the high-value nutrients, including B vitamins and protein.
- Processed food is often highly packaged, producing quantities of non-recyclable waste per bite!
Processed food: reasons in favour
- If foods such as tinned tomatoes and dried fruits are preserved where they are produced, they can be made widely available – and stored for a longer eating season. Tinned and dried foods do not need rapid or refrigerated transport, and dried food is also much lighter than the fresh equivalent – so foods can be made available with much lower environmental transport costs.
- Baking your own bread is a lovely, homely thing to do, and many people see it as synonymous with the ideal green lifestyle. But heating a full-size domestic oven takes a lot of energy, so it is probably much more energy-efficient to buy your daily bread from the professionals! (Traditionally, on baking day the oven would be filled with extras such as pies and biscuits, and even the last dregs of heat, as the oven cooled down afterwards, would be used for drying and warming other items.)