Chew Slower and Other Ways to Eat Healthy for the Planet

Chew Slower and Other Ways to Eat Healthy for the Planet

There are so many ways to eat healthy that are good for both your body and the planet. It’s nice when they overlap, no?

I know, you’re probably well aware that Big Macs are out and cauliflower is in. But there are even more ways to eat healthy that make a big difference for the planet.

Climate change or global warming – or whatever you want to call it – doesn’t have to be the end of humanity. Dinosaurs got millions of years of roaming. Humans can do better than digging up their sooty remains and polluting ourselves right out of existence in just a few thousand, amiright?

But that means we have to make some changes. And in case you haven’t heard, our current food system is wreaking havoc on the environment. So give these healthy eating tips a try and see if you can’t help make the planet more hospitable for a few more centuries at least.

1. Chew slower: The slower we chew the less we overeat. Why this matters for the planet is because it can help us reduce our food waste by piling less on our plate and overeating.

2. Eat more plants: It may seem counterintuitive to eat more of the stuff that produces oxygen and sucks in carbon dioxide, but yes, you should eat more plants and lots of them, especially when it comes to your protein. Plant-based protein is significantly better for the soil (especially lentils!). The fewer animals you consume, the better too. Methane from cows and other livestock animals contributes more greenhouse gases than cars.

3. Eat local: Speaking of which, cars, trucks, boats, trains and airplanes that transport your food kind of suck, too. Bananas and grapes may taste delicious, but maybe make them an occasional treat instead of morning staples. Local foods reduce the fossil fuels needed in transportation, not to mention they’re fresher, keep money in your community and taste so much better.

4. Buy fewer processed foods: Look, I know frozen pizza is delicious. But trust me, it’s not doing your hips or your home planet any good. Think about it: there’s the ingredients being sourced from who-knows-where, then there’s the production in a factory, the freezing, the shipping, the freezing again, the box, the plastic… it’s enough to make anyone need a breath of fresh air, which we’re limiting with our processed food obsession.

5. Avoid GMOs: There are no mandatory labeling laws in the U.S. yet, so that makes avoiding GMOs sorta kinda difficult. But there are a few simple steps that can help: buy organic, look for Non-GMO Project verified food and avoid the processed foods mentioned above. GMOs are pesticide and herbicide intensive, which is bad for the soil, water and air, not to mention our pollinator friends who are having a really difficult time with all those chemicals.

6. Grow more food: You do your body and the earth a world of good when you have food growing right on your property. Whether it’s just some sprouted nuts, beans and seeds, or you’ve got a flourishing vegetable garden, home-grown food is just about as good as it gets.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Related on EcoSalon

Berkeley Approves Global Warming Warning Labels at Gas Pumps

Is Curbing Global Warming a Patriotic Duty?

New Model Predicts Global Warming Will Leave Your Grandkids In Hot Water

Blueberries image via Shutterstock

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.