The Morality of Food

Angels and Devils

When deciding what to eat day to day do you choose the foods that you love, that give you the most enjoyment and satisfaction? Or do you see your favourite foods yet deprive yourself? Have foods become divided in your mind into go and stop, fake and real, right and wrong?

For many people foods have become just this; firmly placed into separate camps that either welcome and nourish or tempt and erode health. However, as I’ve touched upon in previous posts (see the dangers of dichotomising food) there is absolutely no need to draw these distinctions and place morality and emotions onto our food. So why is this something that we see every day?

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6b. Resource saving housekeeping – Energy, water and all the rest of it

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There are countless ways that we can all make small changes to reduce our environmental impact and live our life more simply and kindly. Now I’m not saying that everyone should go and live up a tree, surviving off foraged mushrooms and spear fishing (although that does sound quite nice if you could find a tropical location…). But I know I feel a personal responsibility to, in my own little way, find new, better ways of living my life to minimise precious resource use. As I’ve highlighted in previous posts (To be perfect…or not to be?) nobody can be perfect and shouldn’t be expected to be but making tiny changes, here and there, can add up to big changes if amplified across the population.

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6a. Resource saving housekeeping – Food & Oh How We Waste It

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*Globally we waste around 1.6 billion tonnes of food every year*

*Global food waste could potentially rise by a third by 2030*

*More than 50% of food waste in the UK comes from households*

*The average household wastes around £470 of food a year*

To me, these are scary figures and indicative of a problem that really doesn’t seem to be getting much better but also doesn’t have an easy solution. This post is going to be looking at what we as individuals can be doing to help prevent and reduce the travesty of beautiful food being thrown away every day.

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5. Minimally Processed Food Preference (we sure about this…?)

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So, this is the one principle of sustainable nutrition that I take the most issue with. Processed foods have received a fair bit of press over recent years and most of it extremely negative. I want to uncover with this post why this might be and present some alternative realities around processed foods.

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The dangers of dichotomising food

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This might seem a tad controversial to some, especially coming from a nutritionist, but I’m going to say it… ALL foods have a place in our diet, that’s right all of them. The World Health Organisation defines health as not just being free of disease but being in a state of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing – this, to me, is a really powerful statement and opens up the argument of what health really means.

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4. Choose Fairtrade products (when and if you can!)

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When Fairtrade first started to creep into my consciousness (mostly from my amazing mum who has been shouting the good cause since we were kids) it was just another picture on a chocolate wrapper to ignore. But as my interest in where food comes from, sustainability and general interest in trying to be a better person grew I wanted to understand more about what it actually means. Hopefully this post will allow me to share some of what I’ve learnt, mostly through being a coffee and chocolate junkie!

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3. Regional and seasonal products

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A handful of big businesses dictate the production, distribution and marketing of most of the food we eat. This current food system allows 1 billion people to go hungry every day, at huge cost to the environment. That just doesn’t make good sense to me, so what can we do to fight back against this?

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2. Organic foods

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The organic movement is believed to have been founded by the Botanist Sir Albert Howard, along with a few others, when he brought back from India methods for ‘natural agriculture’ which he began to implement in the UK. This involved adapting traditional farming methods to develop efficient methods of crop rotation, erosion prevention and use of compost.

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1b. Plant-based food preference – from an environmental perspective

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How often do you consider where the food in your shopping trolley comes from? How it began life? Where and by whom it was nurtured and the journey it then took to end up in a supermarket, corner shop or market place and from there into your belly? This is what I challenge you to try and do more of, to get curious about your food and treat every item you buy with the care and thoughtfulness you’d give to… oh I don’t know, choosing somewhere to live? I have a feeling that if we all took the time to invite more thought into what we buy and how much, our diets would naturally become more ‘sustainable’ and world-friendly.

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1a. Plant-based food preference – from a health perspective

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A plant-based diet can be described as one where at least 2/3 of the diet is composed of foods that either are plants or are made entirely from plants – e.g. whole fruit and vegetables, pasta, seeds, pulses and nut butters. Interest in following plant-based diets has increased in recent years; veganism having grown by 350% in the UK since 2006. The Eatwell Guide (the UK’s healthy eating guideline) is also actually composed of 75% plant-based foods.

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