How Do I Eat Green?
Get the Facts
In an age when you can walk into a cafeteria and ask for the "low-carbon meal" special, eating green is no longer just the dream of hemp-wearing bohos in Northern California. It is a reality. It is mainstream. And the industry around it has gone from blooming to booming in less than 10 years.
With growth, however, comes complication. Now that climate change, water pollution, and other environmental issues are all being addressed, the most eco-responsible choice is not always obvious. The apples at the farmer's stand could be conventionally grown, while the organic Galas at the grocery store are from halfway around the world. That local farmer could be an hour's drive out of your way. Those pesticide-free apples might come in non-recyclable plastic packaging. "It is confusing when these different values are in conflict," says Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food. "It can be a real dilemma when they're equally defensible."
What's an Earth-loving eater to do? First and foremost, keep asking questions. Where does your food come from? How was it grown or raised? What exactly is the advantage of being grass-fed? "It's because we stopped wanting to know these things that we can have a situation as disastrous as cows being fed to cows and causing mad cow disease," says Joan Gussow, professor emerita of nutrition and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ultimately, awareness can only lead to safer and more sustainable practices, in the way that the demand for healthier alternatives, prompted by beef recalls, resulted in regulatory change.
Plus, the more you know, the easier it'll be to make the trickier judgment calls. To help you start sorting things out, here, from leading experts, are the seven best food choices you can make.
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