This article explores how we can reduce climate change, extinction, pollution and waste through our food choices, preparation and cooking. It is written as an action plan for change. This green food and cooking revolution was agreed by macrobiotic teachers at the 2019 International Macrobiotic Conference in Valencia.
Humans are part of nature and nature flows through humans. Therefore, any health choices need to put the well-being of nature first.
The macrobiotic movement encourages eating seasonal, locally grown whole food, farmed using natural agricultural methods to reduce and cease the production of food by industrial monoculture methods. Choose whole foods straight from the farm rather than processed foods from a factory.
Much greater diversity is needed in growing crops due to the fact that now half the worlds’ agricultural land is used to produce only four crops. Soya, wheat, corn and rice. Greater use of millet, oats, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, rye, amaranth, sorghum, vegetables and various beans will help restore greater biodiversity.
Monoculture farming is partly driven to produce food to feed animals in industrialised farming. Eating organic or naturally grown plant based food will reduce crops grown to feed animals and this will free land for other creatures. Eliminating all factory-farmed poultry, eggs, fish, dairy food and meat returns land for greater plant diversity and with less farmed animals reduces climate change.
To bring back insect diversity and stop chemical pollution to farmland, rivers, lakes and waterways buy organic / bio foods whenever possible. If these are not available ask your retailers to stock them.
We can choose biodiversity in response to extinction challenges and include foods that are at risk of disappearing from our local areas. 200,000 plants can be used in our diets but today only about 200 are widely eaten.
Primarily eat locally grown seasonal food that has not been processed; including vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, wild edible plants, herbs and teas. Learn to ferment, pickle and dry them for future consumption and where possible use the whole food including the skins and inedible parts for soup stock.
Buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables whatever their shape, blemishes or colour; so shopkeepers see their popularity and understand that customers want natural foods. Otherwise these foods are wasted at the farms or shops.
To promote social justice for families of farmers and workers in the food industry throughout the world, buy Fair Trade products when possible.
Save water by buying locally. Consider the amount of water taken to grow food, for example 130 litres for the beans for one cup of coffee or nearly 400 litres of water for 1 litre of almond milk. Buying dried food from a local farm reduces creating unsustainable dry areas in other locations.
Instead of plastic shopping bags take sustainable bags made from natural materials. When you see excessive plastic packaging tell the shopkeeper or supermarket manager. It is not necessary for freshness and harms the environment.
Use energy efficient ways to cook food – soak grains, beans or dried foods overnight to greatly reduces the cooking time. Turn off the heat as soon as the water starts to simmer (95c) and leave the lid on to cook further, with its own heat. In winter wrap the pot in an old blanket to stay hot for longer. If you blanch vegetables, use the same water to cook other vegetables/beans etc for a soup. Vegetables can also be steamed above the soup. Consider choosing a renewable energy source for cooking.
The use of refrigerators in our homes, shops and transport contributes further to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. Avoid buying refrigerated food and consider an alternative at home, such as a larder, or use the fridge at minimum temperature.
For full detail and references for Macrobiotics and the Environment you can read the complete read the paper by Simon Brown