THE EASY WAY TO A SUSTAINABLE HEALTHY DIET

Giki’s brand new hero badge has just gone live. It is a quick and easy way to identify the most sustainable, healthy products in a UK supermarket. If you decided to choose a basket of hero products, over a regular shopping basket, you’d be able to cut your environmental impact on food and drink by 20-30%! This is important as 25% of our total environmental impact as individuals comes from what we eat and drink.

What is the environmental impact of food?

Carbon emissions are a major factor. Methane caused by belching cows is one of the key contributors. Methane is 32 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so its impact is significantly higher.

Land use is also a major factor. 70% of deforestation is undertaken to grow agricultural products, and ingredients such as palm oil have huge negative impacts when produced unsustainably. Over half of Sumatra’s rainforests have been lost in the last 20 years and animals such as orangutans are losing their habitat and are critically endangered as a result.

Chemical usage on crops has significant impacts on biodiversity and soil. Pesticide use has led to a major reduction in insect populations – many species are facing extinction and this has worrying effects for animals higher up the food chain, such as birds. Some chemicals, such as glysophate, used commonly as a weedkiller, have also been linked to cancer in humans.

Water usage: Some agricultural processes require significant amounts of water and in areas where water is scarce, this can cause major effects on local communities and the environment. As the population increases and food demand grows, this problem will worsen.

Energy and power used in food production is also a contributor, as is fertiliser usage, which emits carbon dioxide during production and when used.

What is a sustainable, healthy diet?

In the words of American nutritionist, Michael Pollan, ‘Eat real food, mainly plants, not too much.’

We’ve picked out three meals, using hero products to kick off a day of eating heros only!

Kickoff in the morning!

There is lots of choice here among the hero products – some muesli, oats, fruit, cereals, breads, coffees,  spreads. We like Sharpham Park cereals and organic milks, which you can find in most supermarkets, dairy free milks, porridge and honey. There is plenty of choice to kick off the day with a zing. Scan your breakfast on the Giki app for ideas.

Lunchtime break

Home made sandwiches with avocado, salads or eggs give plenty of scope for hero products and lots of breads are heroes. There are also choices in sauces and condiments too, lots in Sainsbury’s So Organic range. We couldn’t find any packaged sandwiches that are hero products, often due the packaging, or to high carbon footprint of the filling. Salads and soups are good options and so is a big bowl of veggie pasta!

Relax at the end of the day!

For dinner, noodles, stir frys, veggie lasagne, or pasta. For the kids, there are lots of fishfingers which win the hero badge and some frozen fish too – all are sustainably caught. Some chicken wins the hero badge too, organic  scores best.

So why not try it out, start with a meal, or a day to see how it feels! Use the UK Giki app to check your cupboards for hero products and to get more ideas for a sustainable, healthy diet!